Sydney Speaks! What to expect from McCarthy

The Green Bay Packers begin the first of their off-season mini-camps today in Green Bay. For Mike McCarthy, it's a big day as the new head coach officially takes the field with his team and sets the level of expectations.'s Harry Sydney explains:

I know everyone is excited that the first mini-camp under Mike McCarthy gets under way today. This really begins his tenure as the new head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He is following in the footsteps of other coaches that have done some amazing things in the name of the green and gold. Mike Holmgren put the Packers on top of the mountain. Ray Rhodes took them to the edge and Mike Sherman systematically tried to destroy the team by making terrible business decisions over and over again. Now it's McCarthy's turn and what will be the cornerstone of his legacy!!!!!!

This is the real start to his legacy as a head coach in the National Football League and all eyes will be on him as he takes the field. Up to this point he has been making off-the-field moves such a changing the structure of the weight room, looking at films of the old players, looking at the films of the players that they have drafted, or signed as undrafted free agents. He has been dealing with free agency as well as the different issues that have taken the Packer nation by storm all off-season, such as the Brett Favre retirement saga. Then there was the Javon Walker soap opera that on draft day was taken care of with him being traded to the Denver Broncos for a second round pick.

Also, before the draft there was the unknown scenario of ‘Who do they draft? A.J. Hawk or Vernon Davis?' because that did fall a lot on McCarthy's shoulders because he had to convince Ted Thompson one way or the other because part of the general manager's job is to get the coach the players he needs and wants to be successful. A major part of McCarthy's off-season has been educating the coaches on what he expects from them because everyone has to be on the same page with their teaching techniques. This staff on both sides of the ball must be sharp in its philosophies and be ready to communicate at different levels because these players come from different schools of thought. In order for the players to follow them they must believe in what they are hearing and seeing.

That's why today is a crucial day for so many reasons. Mike McCarthy must convince the players that he knows his stuff. He will set his standards today he will begin the process of commanding their respect and that's done by him teaching them the new ways of the Green Bay Packers. He will take the field as the man in charge and their must be no question about that from anyone, and I mean anyone.

Trust me, everyone on the outside looking in will be looking at the big things, like how will Favre look at practice. The media will be doing things like looking at who's making plays during seven on seven. They will see a good catch, a great defensive play someone knocking the ball down, a defensive end showing a speed rush and everyone will get excited, well, at least everyone but the coaches. The coaches understand that everyone looks good in underwear. Everyone at this level can run and most are physical specimens, except sloppy offensive and defensive linemen, but then again Grady Jackson isn't here anymore. Mike McCarthy and his staff are looking at different things. They are looking for who is paying attention in meetings and out on the field. They are looking to see how the players are responding to teaching. Every position coach is looking to see who is getting it and who is not. They are looking to see who are the players they can count on, or not. McCarthy is also making himself aware of who is practicing smart. He's taking a mental note of who he can count on. He's also looking at what roles different players are trying to take. He's looking to see who's going to emerge as potential leaders because leaders are anointed not appointed.

Today is the day that all the hard work that the coaches and scouts have put in start to come together because football is a game that's played in between the white lines. This is what Mike McCarthy and his staff love to do and that's coach football. He understands that this is the first of many mini-camps and many practices so he will set the tempo of how fast he wants it to run or how slow. He will dictate how mistakes will be corrected so that everyone gets on the same page. He will establish that he's in complete control - him and nobody else. That's WHAT WE SHOULD EXPECT that and nothing else because if there is, it's a bonus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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