Sydney Speaks! Are expectations too high?

If the preseason game against the world champion New England Patriots was supposed to be a measuring stick for how well the Green Bay Packers will do this season, what conclusions must we come to? The first thing that must be done is stop making excuses and tolerating bad play from anyone, and stop expecting miracles from this team. This is what I mean!

Brett Favre
Favre was once a great quarterback, but everyone wants to live in the past and always talk about how he was three-time MVP, which he was in his prime. Favre was one of the best, but was in 1997, about eight seasons ago. Favre has to stop getting the "free passes" from everyone because of what he used to do, or all of his records and consecutive starts. What does that really mean now? He can't go out there and play the way he did against the Pats and expect this team to win this year.

If Favre is the leader of this team he can't let it down by making throws that you might see Aaron Rodgers attempt. We expect that from Rodgers, not from Favre. Over the last several years we, as fans, have jumped on Mike Sherman for the playoff blunders. But how many mistakes has Brett Favre made? Mr. Untouchable has been responsible for many of them.

I understand that everyone feels Favre is responsible for putting the Packers back on the NFL map. Heck, it even seems that the coaching staff wants to look the other way as much as some of the reporters in the area. The headlines in the paper may say "Outclassed, or Overrun." Another might say "Can Green Carry the Load?" But what's up with Brett throwing two interceptions that changed the game around? Favre actually threw three, but the Packers got a break because of a penalty.

I cherish watching Favre and enjoy seeing him display the fire that he shows in each game, but is that alone good enough anymore? Is he the guy that can will a win just by his presence? Can he carry this team on his back on a consistent basis? I know he's a gunslinger and fans love to see that, but can he afford to be that for this team? Are the risks outweighing the rewards? HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

Jim Bates
Bates is not the second coming of the man upstairs. He can't walk on water or turn water into wine. He's a football coach and a damn good one. He has a philosophy that has gotten him measurable success. Look what he did in Miami. He's highly respected and he should have been a head coach by now instead of just in a handful of games.

Trust me, I'm not going to make any excuses for him, but let's be real: LOOK WHAT HE'S WORKING WITH. Should we as fans be really expecting him to take the likes of Hunt, Jackson, Kabeer, and Kampman and a bunch of young lions that don't seem to understand the opportunity they have in front of them and really be a force up front? PLEASE, who are we kidding? The sad thing about that is that this defensive scheme will only work if the D-Line does their job, which is win their individual battles and, at the same time, protect the linebackers so they can be free to run and make plays. The line also has to put pressure on the quarterback to help out the secondary because they can't cover anyone all day long. HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

Offensive line
I don't want mention Wahle or Rivera, but for the Packers coaching staff to think these guys would be easily replaced is ridiculous. They were the heart and soul of the O-Line. There is a reason there isn't a lot of running room. As Mike Sherman has said, the passing game is ahead of the running game. Why? They are trying to replace Rivera, a Pro Bowler, with a rookie in Will Whitticker, and Wahle with either Adrian Klemm or Scott Wells.

There seems to be a question about whether Green can produce and still be one of the top backs in the NFL. I believe he can if he has the opportunity. The difference is that maybe getting 1,200 yards this year may be more realistic because in the past he has had holes to run through, but if things continue he will have only cracks to sliver through. HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

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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