I'm not going to sound positive when I see things that I believe aren't about winning football. You must understand that I am a FOOTBALL HOMER, not necessarily a PACKER HOMER, so I'm never, and I mean never, going to say things look great when they don't. I'm not going to make any excuses for a player, or a coach. That's not my style. A mistake is a mistake; bad play is bad play. As I've said before my opinions are based on years of experience as a player and a coach.
My years at San Francisco under Bill Walsh and George Seifert taught me about winning football and what it took to get to Super Bowls. I learned how to be a student of the game which is different than just being a player. I learned how to see the big picture, not just focus on my job but everyone's job. That's what a student does because that makes him a better player. Then when Mike Holmgren was hired in 1992 he brought the same philosophy to Green Bay that he had learned in San Francisco. The standards began to change. I also was part of that transformation and the benefits of those changes were two more Super Bowl trips, winning one. I have been very lucky to be part of four Super Bowls being one of only 11 men in the history of the NFL to have played and coached in a Super Bowl and won. Let the truth be known if the Packers would have won the game against the Denver Broncos I would have been the only individual in the history of the NFL to have won four back to back Super Bowl games two as a player and a coach. I'm not saying that to blow my own horn, but to let you know when I say something it's because of my love of the game and my knowledge of it. Nothing is based on emotions, and trust me, nothing is personal!!!!
My change of attitude with the Packers is because of the fact that thus far I like what I've seen. I didn't like what I saw under Mike Sherman and his regime. I didn't like his decision-making process, play calling and the way he handled the different situations during his tenure. Mike Sherman is gone now and Mike McCarthy is here. I have coached with both of them. Trust me, they are different people. The best way I can explain the difference is telling you a story about each. When Sherman and I were coaching together we had a home game and it was roughly 11:40, 20 minutes before the game. We were just getting ready to walk through the tunnel and he stopped me in a panic and he said to me, ‘Harry, what happens if they use this defense because we didn't practice against it?' I said to him, ‘Listen, Mike, they only used this defense 5% of the time and we couldn't practice against everything, so if they do use it the players and us as coaches will have to adjust.' That really confused him, so I further explained. I said, ‘We teach them how to handle black and white but they get paid to handle gray; that's why they are professional athletes.' Needless to say he spent a lot of the game expecting something that never happened. So if you have read my articles lately, or if you live in the Green Bay area, and have heard me on the radio on Monday or Tuesday, you might have noticed a little change in my tone.
Now it's only fair that I tell you one of my McCarthy stories. I can't remember the game, but I remember the event. We were playing a team that liked to blitz a lot and during the game they hadn't, but McCarthy was waiting to see the look and he was always in Brett's hear telling him regardless of what play we have called that when you see that look change the play and go for the juggler. Finally, we got the look and Brett saw it. He changed the play, touchdown, it was that simple. I saw a coach prepare his player to execute, but much more I saw McCarthy give Brett Favre permission to use his knowledge and experience to be successful, but at the same time not see a ghost.
Let's make no mistake about it, I'm still going to tell it like it is. I do like Mike McCarthy and respect him but that doesn't really matter because you need someone to tell you what you might not want to hear but need to hear, whether you like it or not. I don't bleed green and gold, but I DO LIKE WHAT I SEE!!!!!
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 PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will forward it to him.