Sydney Speaks! Packers at crossroads

The Green Bay Packers are 2-8 and all but eliminated from the playoffs this season. General manager Ted Thompson faces some critical decisions as this season comes to a merciful end, and in the off-season. Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney gives his opinion on coaching and management:

This is an organization that has come to a crossroads and needs to make tough decisions, but doesn't know what to do or how to do it. The Packers are standing in a place they haven't been in for so long - on the bottom looking up. They are 2-8 and, instead of talking about home field advantage and putting a run together to gain momentum, the fans are talking about having an early first round draft pick. How sad is that! Some of you Packers fans won't like what I have to say, but it won't be the first or last time you read this, so as Dr. Phil says, ‘It's get real time!'

This is where the team is still paying for Mike Sherman's mistakes. In Sherman's defense, what coach would say, ‘I'm not qualified to be a GM. I don't want ultimate power to do what I like, when I like, and pay who I want.' Sherman wasn't ready at the time to be a GM, but if we really understand football we already know that, so there's no need to beat a dead horse. It is what it is.

Ted Thompson is here and has done some great things such as getting rid of dead weight like Cletidus Hunt, and drafting Nick Collins. What a great find. Also finding Brady Poppinga was a brilliant move. And I can't blame him for not signing Mike Wahle or Marco Rivera because the money was too steep. However, I do blame him for allowing the coaching staff to minimize the effect of their loss and selling the public that it would be "NO BIG DEAL." Here we are 2-8 and going nowhere with a head coach that has had a great record up to this point winning a lot of games that didn't in the big picture mean anything. Sherman has a lot or regular season wins, but in the playoffs he has gotten out-coached and his teams have been out-played.

Let's say time management and game adjustments haven't been his strong suit. Just think how many wins the Packers would have if Sherman would have been better in the playoffs. I can still remember the fourth-and-one at Philly.

Thompson must be at a crossroads because Sherman has done a lot of good stuff but has he really done enough? Only the GM can answer that question. Ted has to ask himself if he likes THE DIRECTION THIS TEAM IS GOING. And he has to wonder, when does the future for this franchise start? Is Brett Favre part of it, or not? He must find this out from Brett himself. That's his job. Because if Favre is part of the future, why did he draft Aaron Rodgers No. 1? Trust me I have nothing but respect for Brett Favre and what he has brought to the game. But when does an organization say it isn't about the present, it's about the future, especially when the record is 2-8? Brett even understands it's time to let Aaron Rodgers get some playing time. It's Thompson's job to see that happens for the FUTURE!

When the record is 2-8, it's obvious that the coach's way isn't working. It's true the players are playing their butts off and no one has quit, but why? They are playing for PRIDE and auditioning for their jobs. Everyone except for Brett. Sherman has stated that he won't sit Brett at anytime and that's a problem. Mike Sherman has to understand that there are enough cheerleaders out there and that his loyalty is to the organization, not to Brett Favre. Moving on is part of the game and everyone is replaceable. Joe Montana, Bart Starr, and John Elway have been replaced. It's part of the game.

Just like the players are auditioning in the final six games, so are the coaches - all of them. They all have to earn their keep - from the special teams coach or coaches to Larry Beightol. It's not about friendship anymore, it's about what have you done for me lately? It's not only about players not making plays, but why aren't they making them? We all know that against the Vikings late in the game there was missed communication between Jason Horton and Nick Collins, but my question is how and why? How could at that critical moment in the game that mistake be made? Again remember Philly 4th and 26? And how can a player think that they can draw something in the dirt and think it's all right, such as Brett's fake kill-the-clock against the Bengals? As bad as the Minnesota Vikings have been all year with all the off-field problems and losing Moss and Culpepper, still they have beaten the Packers the last three games. Think about it! Mike Sherman has gotten out coached by MIKE TICE. Are you kidding me?!

The Packers are at a crossroads because there are decisions that will be made that will affect the direction this team will be heading. It's not about the past because they can't change it. They live in the present. Their record is 2-8, and the future is under Ted Thompson's watch. We all want to know which way the Packers are GOING!

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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