Sydney Speaks! Who has the edge

The New England Patriots are in town. The World Champions have arrived and many Packers fans want to use this preseason game as a measuring stick on how the Packers will or won't do this season. The game is a measure stick, but for a different reason. It will mean more than any other preseason game because the coaches have to make some tough choices on who will be Green Bay Packers this season.

Coaches want to make roster moves based on who can help the team best, but Ted Thompson also will be checking players' salaries as well as potential. Let's look at some of the close battles!

J.T. O'Sullivan or Craig Nall?
Who has the edge? Up to this point Nall has had more playing time in the preseason, but hasn't done anything with it. He has more command of the offense because he's been here longer. Nall has had more game experience and if something were to happen to Brett Favre, he'd be the guy. Maybe. What has Nall done to beat out J.T. O'Sullivan? He's looked very inconsistent all training camp. I believe J.T. is a better athlete and falls more into the Favre mode. TOUGH CALL!

Nick Luchey or Vonta Leach?
Nick is being paid a bunch of money to be a backup. Leach is a better special teams player and five years younger and real hungry. Luchey hasn't played like that "knock them on their backs" fullback that he was supposed to be when he was signed two years ago.

I believe it's time to make the change. Leach wants to block and Luchey only tries to, which makes a difference. With Leach you get a young man that is very coachable and willing to do whatever it takes. He's a coach's dream. Luchey has had trouble with his weight and being in shape. So, how TOUGH IS THIS CALL?

Walt Williams or Najeh Davenport?
Let me say I'm a Williams fan. I like what he brings to the field. He's an all-around solid player and a solid backup. Besides Ahman Green, he's the only back that really can make people miss in the open field. He can catch screens and take them to the house, and he can get outside with ease.

Najeh runs too high and takes a lot of unnecessary hits. He can't stay healthy. With Najeh in the game, I believe the Packers are limited on what they can call. Walt is the type of back that can be a standout special teams player as well without the ball in his hand. This guy's a keeper. I would find a place for him. Players like Davenport are a dime a dozen. NOT A TOUGH CALL!

Hannibal Navies or Roy Manning?
Manning may be that missing link that we all have been looking for - a guy with a physical presence. Manning is a player that wants and desires to hit someone in the mouth and enjoys it. He's five years younger than Navies. Under Bates the sky's the limit. Remember, the Packers released Navies earlier in the off-season.

With Manning you have another solid special teams player who could become the leader of the special teams. I like his nastiness and the way he is always around the ball, which is something you can't teach. Under the right scheme he might be solid starter. Yes, he is young and will make mistakes but the mistakes would be at 100 miles an hour. As a coach you can live with that type of effort. EASY CALL!

Andrae Thurman or Antonio Chatman?
I guess this depends on what the coaches want. Even though Thurman has a broken thumb he has shown an ability to run with the ball as a receiver and a kickoff returner. This would give Robert Ferguson a break and might stop his flurry of injuries. I know Favre likes Chatman, but given the opportunity he might like Thurman as well.

Remember this is about who gives this team the best opportunity to win. Yes, Chatman is a reliable punt returner. I know Mike Sherman likes to be very cautious and not take risks, but sometimes if there is no risk, there is no reward. The way I see it, this receiving group with the likes of Javon Walker, Donald Driver, Ferguson, Terrence Murphy and Thurman could be the best the Packers have ever had. When Chatman, because of an injury to others, becomes your third receiver this team is in trouble. NOT A TOUGH CALL!

Remember football is a business and the Packers are in business to win football games. Qualifying for the playoffs and winning the division is nice, but you play and coach football to win Super Bowls in the NFL. The job of the coaches are to put the best players on the field that give the team the best chance to WIN THE SUPER BOWL. Anything less isn't good enough. That's why THE BEST DECISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE.

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at

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