Sydney Speaks! New direction

Thompson takes a difficult, but necessary step to improve Packers

For many, Mike Sherman's firing might come as a shock because of the belief that three division titles and a winning record should be enough, but for Sherman, unfortunately it wasn't. I have been saying this for years: The NFL is a "What-have-you done for me lately league" and on Black Monday we all saw what the price is.

Mike Sherman without a doubt is a good man and he always has done nothing but the best he could do. In all my columns it's never been personal because I do respect him as a man and a coach, but I never thought he has been that guy that's going to make a difference, which a Head Coach needs to be - the Difference Maker.

From coaching with him and sitting in meetings with him when he first started his NFL coaching career I understand his dedication to his craft. His attention to detail was uncanny, but unfortunately, he was not accustomed to the art of making adjustments. Everything for him had to fit into some slot. It was either "yes" or "no." There never was room for the maybe's and I believe that's what might have cost him in the end. In the NFL, life is an adjustment and the people involved have to be flexible to see it. As I watched the Ted Thompson press conference the most amazing thing to me was when a reporter asked Ted if Mike was surprised and he said he was. That in some ways is good because that means you have tunnel vision and you aren't aware of what's going on around you, but then again if you are not aware as a head football coach of what's going on around you how can you make adjustments if you don't know that adjustments need to be made? I believe this had a lot to do with the firing of Sherman because the other interesting thing Thompson said was that Mike being let go wasn't solely based on this year, which means Ted paid attention to the past history of the Green Bay Packers. This means he has taken in account the Packers regular seasons losses and wins as well as the post-season record. This also means that every decision that Mike Sherman made was being evaluated all the good ones as well as the bad ones.

There has been a history of poor clock management, and the lack of game-time adjustments that go way back. But I really feel the the straw that broke the camel's back was last week against the Bears when he went for an onside kick with 1 minute, 53 seconds to go in the game while having three timeouts left. I believe at that moment Ted decided it was time to move on.

Trust me, with this new direction comes a price for everyone involved. The assistant coaches are part of the firing process as well. Even though some of them might have two-year deals they now have to start scrambling to find other employment with other teams in case the new head coach doesn't want them. Hopefully Jim Bates will get an opportunity to interview for the head coaching job as well as Edgar Bennett for the running back job because they have done outstanding jobs considering the obstacles they have faced and overcome.

I take my hat of to Thompson for having the foresight and the stones to make the moves he feels is necessary for this organization. Some people want to blame Ted for a lot that has gone wrong with the Packers this year, but not I. If I had to give him a grade it would be an B+ because he has done the dirty work necessary to stop this franchise from falling back into the Dark Ages. He knows his work isn't done yet, but so far I believe he taken the right first step.

Trust me, it's never easy telling someone that they did a good job, but it still wasn't good enough. Like Thompson said, it's his responsibility. That's why Bob Harlan brought him to Green Bay and that's to make the football decisions. Whether we like it or not, Ted pulled the trigger and now the Packers move on. I'm sure Ted has a plan for the Packers' future and on Black Monday and I call it that because most teams do their firing on the Monday after the last regular season game which effects so many lives. As I said this was his first step in I believe a series of many that will make the Green Bay Packers Ted's Team as he charts the course on under his DIRECTION.

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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