Sydney Speaks! Rome was not built in a day

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney offers his opinion on the progress that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have made with the Packers this off-season.

How do you like what Ted Thompson is doing now? Brett Favre is coming back for a least one more year and the Packers signed Charles Woodson to a nice contract. I've said all along that I wanted him to sign somebody that will make this team better and I guess he did!!!

This team is in the rebuilding process and everyone that knows football understands this, so part of this process starts with a strong foundation and I believe Ted Thompson is slowly trying to accomplish this. It starts with having a quality coach that relates well with his assistant coaches and his players and thus far Mike McCarthy is a breath of fresh air. The way he has related to the community and the people that he has come across has been nothing but top notch. He's a football guy and when you talk to him you walk away with a sense of this guy can and will get it done. He hasn't had a full team meeting with all the players but those that have dealt with him respect him without hesitation which means they can communicate the knowledge he possesses. As a player you want to believe in what the coach is asking you to do because it makes sense and gives the players the best chance to be successful. The days of just doing what any coach tells you to do is over if it doesn't make sense. The price of winning is just too high!!!!

Before I continue about Mike McCarthy I have to go back to Ted Thompson. Some of you have been trying to throw him under the bus for several reasons. One, because he hadn't done enough in free agency to make us happy and I say ‘us' because I wanted more, but when he signed Woodson he showed me what I needed to see thus far. Sure I had wished he would have done more during the Brett Favre saga but then again what could he have done different except put a dead line on when Brett had to say, ‘I'm retiring or not.' Then again the dates of the upcoming mini-camps served that purpose didn't it?

If you look at his other moves he's done a decent job of cleaning up Mike Sherman's mess. He has gotten rid of dead weight such as Cletidus Hunt, Joey Thomas, Nail Diggs - guy's that really weren't producing. He realized that this team needed more than what Chatman was giving us as a returner. He also worked things out with Ahman Green and signed Aaron Kampman. The Woodson signing, in my opinion, was very big because not only does it help the defense because now Ahmad Carroll can take the bench, except for nickel or dime situations. But it showed the Packer Nation that he sees the same things we do and that's that Carroll is not a starter.

Also, he had the wisdom to sign Ryan Pickett and not Grady Jackson. The other thing I liked about Ted Thompson is that he didn't PANIC with the Brett Favre situation even though he might have wanted to, he didn't, which shows the rest of the team they have a leader that isn't going to let the circumstances control him. He will control what he can and not worry about what he can't that's true strength as a leader. So he has earned the right to get from under the bus and do the driving!!!!!!!

Now back to Mike McCarthy. He's systematically changing the face of the Green Bay Packers. He's putting his stamp on this team in so many ways, just by making a few changes such as changing the weight program. Think he doesn't have a vision on how physical he wants this team to play. Sounds to me like there's some smash-mouth football coming our way as they change to a zone blocking scheme, so the new weight lifting program fits right into the plan. He wants power. The finesse is over.

The other change that I think is so important is that they moved the first mini-camp to after the draft so everyone will be learning at the same time, which means no one has any edge. True, Mike McCarthy and his staff have watched film of the old players, but with being a new coach and coming from a 4-12 season there are only a few real starters. Everyone else is fighting for a spot. The competition will be awesome because everyone will be fighting for their football lives. Because of how he has things set up with camps in May and June he will be able to give the players a heavy dose of football without lengthy interruptions. Again, GREAT MOVE!!!!!

Last year they started the rebuilding process by getting Nick Collins and Brady Poppinga. With the draft this weekend they will continue that process by hopefully drafting an impact player because, like I've said, ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

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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