Sydney Speaks! Not everyone gets bye week off

It's the bye week and a well deserved and welcomed one for the Green Bay Packers. The players are getting some rest and relaxation and the coaches are preparing for the storm that is coming. The question isn't how tough is the schedule, but how will they handle it. Hopefully they will learn from the self-scouting they are doing right now. As a former coach let me take you through what the coaches have done, or will do, by the time the players return next week.

The entire offensive staff has gotten together this week and reviewed so much film that their eyes are probably crossed by now. During this time, they go over every offensive play run this year. They look at every play and decide if it was good, bad, and why. Each coach will defend their player based on notes of the games. They will have the film broken down by runs and passes as well as down and distances. For example, first-, second- and third-down runs as well as goal-line runs.

The coaches break passes down as well, but with much more volume considering how much they have passed the ball this year. Breaking down the passing game will be similar to the run breakdown, but with more categories such as nickel passes red zone passes and goal line passes. There are so many other things they review, like how many times they ran to the right out of an I-formation, and number of play-action passes.

As a staff they take a hard look at their tendencies when running and throwing. They look at how many times Brett has thrown to Donald Driver and where on the field that happens. For example, if Brett has a high percentage throwing deep balls to the right or the left, the film review will help them see a pattern, hopefully. These are the things that the computer wizards or offensive quality control coaches do to prepare the other coaches for these meetings.

The coaches then get together and start the film. After every play they all individually grade the play and grade their player's performance. Then Mike Sherman will ask each coach about the execution of the play and if it worked, why it did, and if not, why not. Sometimes this gets heated because everyone is supposed to speak their mind. And this time if your an insecure coach and aren't sure about your coaching style and what you are teaching this could become a nightmare. For example Larry Beightol the offensive line coach might question Edgar Bennett on why Najeh Davenport bounces it outside when the ball should have been run inside, or Mike Sherman might question James Franklin, the receivers coach, about what he is teaching Robert Ferguson on slants after seeing him run five slants a different way.

During this time the coaches will also trim the fat. They will look at how much practice time they have used on certain plays. If the reward isn't worth the time, they do away with it. They evaluate their time management. This is what the offensive staff will do as well as put the majority of the game plan together for Minnesota. Yes, they will have some time off, maybe a long weekend which for them is time well deserved.

The same thing will happen on this side of the ball for the coaching staff. The only difference might be that on this side of the ball, even though it's about learning the scheme it's more about who's making plays. The defensive coaches are looking at point of attack and what's happening. They are looking at who's making mental mistakes and who's not, or what type of technique has been successful on pass rush and who is successful.

Jim Bates, I'm sure, is looking for who's being the most consistent against the run as well as who's playing the most physical. The staff will also have a tape of sacks and near sacks to see what better technique's can be used. The coaches also will determine the advantages of moving Kabeer from the right side to the left side, if any. They will also try to create different defensive packages to put different people on the field at a certain time.

Hopefully they will do the same thing that the offense and defense is doing, and that's do enough self scouting to realize that the blocking schemes on the return units isn't working. Sometimes when it's broke you must fix it. They need to understand Antonio Chatman isn't the guy, and the scheme hasn't produced anything but fair catches or average returns. This team needs more from its special teams.

Also, by watching the tape they might realize that Brady Poppinga is getting it done.

Yes, this is a bye week and the players are off for almost five days. They are taking trips, getting rest and enjoying some of that big money. But the guys that are putting it all together are working their butts off. GUESS WHO'S MINDING THE STORE?

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, and he will forward it to him.

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