Sydney Speaks! Right place at the right time

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney offers his take on why the Green Bay Packers are in good hands with Mike McCarthy.

Everything in life is timing. My son always says success comes when opportunity meets preparation, and this might just be what the Green Bay Packers will benefit from with Mike McCarthy. He has been preparing for this moment ever since he decided he wanted to be an NFL head coach and now he has that opportunity.

As I look at the Packers roster, even though this team might not be as talented as other teams in the NFL, the difference could be the coaching staff and how it is approaching the season. First thing you might notice about what has happened, even before mini-camp which is different under this regime, is that the coaches seem to have a plan. Understand that just because they have a plan doesn't guarantee victories, and I wish it did. Part of that plan as I see it is to start building a solid foundation and fortunately they have players that they can build around.

First thing as Packer fans we must do is stop worrying about what they don't have, but let's look at what they do have. Let's start at the top: Ted Thompson has proven that he knows what he is doing as a general manager. He's gotten rid of dead weight and given Mike McCarthy players that he can work with.McCarthy is a young energetic head coach who has a vision and he started implementing his plan the moment he got hired. He then went out and hired two qualified coordinators in Jeff Jagodzinski and Bob Sanders that share the same vision. They became part of hiring the other assistants which is a good move because that creates a positive working relationship. I know neither on of these guys have been coordinators before, but I believe they will do a good job. Trust me these coaches will spend more time with each other than they will with their families because these coaches become each other's family. So in my opinion the first step was completed.

The second step is blending veteran players and young players, the Packers have solid veterans in key roles with enough experience to be part of the building process as the young guys come along and hopefully contribute. Look at the veterans on the offensive line. Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher the bookends at tackles have seven years of experience each and it's hard to find another team with two solid tackles as young as these guys are. Then if you look at tight end Bubba Franks another seven-year guy that I believe will have a great year because of the change in the offensive philosophy. Hopefully he will get back to his Pro Bowl ways. Donald Driver is a legitimate big-time receiver and he has answered the bell ever since he has been here. In his eight years he often has been overlooked but never out-played and I'm glad he has been rewarded with a contract extension. He deserved it. What can be said about Brett Favre except 16 years of amazing football and he still gives the Packers the best chance to win. Like him, love him, hate him, enjoy him, he is what he is and that's still one of the best quarterbacks in the game when he plays the game like he was a Three-time MVP.

As you can see there is a lot that this offense can build around. Throw in William Henderson, Ahman Green and other veterans, and the young players can learn how to play the game better by watching. Think Samkon Gado and Vonta Leach can learn something from watching these Pro Bowlers perform? I think so.

As we switch over to the defense there isn't as much leadership as on offense but there are still many solid players. On the defensive line Aaron Kampman has only been around five years, but his work ethic can't be challenged. Another veteran is Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Even though he mainly is a pass rusher the youth movement can watch how he prepares to play the game. Ryan Pickett is the unknown factor. Unfortunately in the linebacker position there is nothing but youth except for Ben Taylor who was signed away from Cleveland. Some would think Nick Barnett is the veteran of the group, but he's in only his fourth year. This is where the youth movement might have the most impact by players such as A.J. Hawk, Roy Manning, Brady Poppinga and Abdul Hodge. With the signing of Charles Woodson, I believe Al Harris will pick up his game, making the cornerbacks a serious combo for opponents to face this year.

So the way I see it is if Mike McCarthy can coach the way I believe he can and build a solid foundation and have the veterans play the way I know they can he might just be IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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