Sydney Speaks! Thompson dropped the ball

Mike McCarthy has plenty of NFL coaching experience, but he has never been with a winner or coached in a big game. Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney brings this up in his column, and many other questions about the Packers' new head coach.

First let me say I coached with Mike McCarthy in 1999 when he coached quarterbacks. I got to observe him as he worked with Brett Favre and the rest of the coaches, and I have nothing against him. I think he will make a fine head coach some day, but NOW?

Every one of us understands it's a business and I think up to this point I believe Ted Thompson has done an outstanding job as a GM. When he fired Mike Sherman I agreed with him because this team did need to go in a different direction, but I'm not sure this is the direction. When you think about change you change for the better, and I'm not sure that is happening.

I like Mike but what winning program did he come from what coach did he learn from? Where was his success at as an assistant or a coordinator? I understand his background. He has worked with many quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, but how much do you really think he had to coach perhaps the greatest of all time. When I look at leadership I look at where you learned how to win at and, unfortunately, I don't see it in his bio. We knocked Mike Sherman for not being able to win the big one, but has McCarthy ever been in a big one?

If I sound disappointed, I am because I feel that Thompson dropped the ball on this one. I wanted to see Jim Bates get an opportunity to show what he could do if he had control of the offense, defense and special teams. I believe he was qualified and earned the right to be the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers and that didn't happen, so now what? If Bates doesn't stay, the defense will go through another defensive coordinator which will make it four in four years because it would take a strong man to accept being passed over then work for the organization that passed him over. Could Bates do that? I don't know. I would imagine even though he realizes business is business he has feelings and emotions and they have been hurt. Imagine how you would feel if you have done everything you promised to do and resurrected a defense from the dead with average players and still get passed by?

All year we praised Mike Sherman for keeping the team playing hard but was it him or the Jim Bates' effect? If it wasn't for this defense bending and not breaking there would have been many blowouts. He had his players playing with fire with confidence, he had them believing in themselves and it showed on the field.

Winning in football is contagious and you must have been around winning to teach winning because it's not an accident. Mike Holmgren was about winning because he came from winning organization; he tasted success while coaching at the 49ers. Even Sherman was about winning because he learned how to win from watching Holmgren be a leader, so he tried to duplicate what he saw happening. Even though he fell short at times, at least he had a foundation to build off of that was successful. That's why this hire by Thompson has me baffled because what is he basing McCarthy's success on? Is it because he interviews well, or was it because Ron Wolf liked him? Or was this hire about the relationship between Favre and McCarthy because when they were together in 1999 it didn't work out too well. Brett had his third worst season of his career with 23 interceptions and 22 touchdown passes. Or is Brett out the picture and Mike's here to work with Aaron Rodgers? The problem is as the head coach how much time would he be able to just spend time with the quarterback?

Like I said, I really don't have anything against McCarthy. We had a very good working relationship when we coached together, and I am happy that he got an opportunity to fulfill his dream to be a head coach in the NFL. He's sharp and has a great football mind as well as a strong work ethic. He is committed to being the best he can be. I know that for sure. He will work long hours and demand the same from the rest of his staff and players. I really don't have a problem with him accepting the job because what is he supposed to say? ‘Thank' Ted Thompson, but no thanks I'm happy with being a coordinator in San Francisco.' Not on his life.

This is Thompson's moment. It's his decision. Whether it works or not, it's on him. I hope it works for him and the Packers because he now really has his stamp on the Green Bay Packers. He is now in complete control of what will happen and it will be on his hands. In his press conference he talked about not going into any interview with any preconceived ideas of what he was looking for in a coach. He said he will know it when he sees it. We all must just TRUST HIM!!!!!!!!!

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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