Sydney Speaks! Thompson critics are quiet's Harry Sydney evaluates the progress the Green Bay Packers have made under Ted Thompson. The former Packers fullback and assistant coach has been impressed with the general manager's moves since he re-joined the team and is wondering where Thompson's critics have been lately.

For the last two years Ted Thompson has been raked over the coals by many of the Green Bay faithful. Their voices were load and clear. So many thought that he wasn't qualified and had no clue of what he was doing, but lately it's been real quite. Why is that I wonder?

When he gave Mike Sherman a two-year contract extension last August, at first I said to myself what in the blank is he doing? Then I realized that he did that because he didn't want to have a lame duck coach as a distraction in his first year as general manager. Did he give Sherman perhaps too much money? Probably so, but then again they paid him like they pay players from college. They get paid big contracts for what they have done in the past. Love him or not Mike Sherman had a nice resume, including division titles and a winning percentage that takes a back seat to no one. So I understand that move by Ted Thompson. Just like I understand the firing of Sherman. He didn't like what was happening on the football field as well as what was going on with the relationships behind the scenes. Let's just say there were issues that don't really need to be discussed because what good does it do now?

Then some of us didn't like the hiring of Mike McCarthy because a lot of us said, ‘Who and why?' I know my original thought wasn't who, but why because I wanted Jim Bates to be the head coach because of what I saw him do with the defense. I thought he had earned the right to have the opportunity to coach the Green Bay Packers. Then after a couple of days I warmed up to the idea because I started to remember what McCarthy was all about as I reflected about the time we coached together in 1999 under Ray Rhodes. Then I realized why Ted hired him and that was because McCarthy and him have so many things in common. They are both football guys 24 hours a day. They live it, sleep it and love it. They have no other distractions in their lives and, trust me, that's what it takes nowadays to be successful as a coach in the NFL.

Then after spending time with McCarthy again and watching how he relates to the players and seeing the assembling of a solid plan by himself and Ted Thompson, I had to take deeper looks to make sure of what I was seeing. And what I see I really like. I looked at the two drafts under Ted and what I see is a bright future he is building. A solid future. Please understand nobody's perfect. He did miss on Adrian Klemm and Matt O'Dwyer. They just didn't get it done, a lesson well learned. Also there is no guarantee that any of the draft picks will hit it big, but I like the chances.

Let's look at what he has done in the draft and in free agency in the past two years and ask yourself: Isn't this what you want from a general manager? Let's look and some of the players from last year and how bright their future looks. Marviel Underwood - how good can he be? Samkon Gado - look at what he did last year? How good could this guy be with some experience he just might be the kick returner this team has been looking for because he has the speed the size and the running style to be a weapon if he can't get on the field in the regular offense. What about Nick Collins from Bethune-Cookman? I know everyone said, ‘Who? What, a small college guy? How can this guy compete?' I know I did, and I was wrong. Ted Thompson and his staff did their homework. Look at Aaron Rodgers and how he has progressed. He, I believe, will be ready to step in when Brett Favre retires understanding there will be growing pains, but how could there not be - he's following a living legend. However, McCarthy is a quarterback guru, and another good move by Thompson as I see it. Another guy is Mike Hawkins. I think this guy will be a valuable player for the Green Bay Packers before it's all said and done. Now look at Brady Poppinga, Roy Manning, Michael Montgomery, Colin Cole and last year's starter William Whitticker - talk about a solid foundation for the future that will only get better with game experience.

Now look at what Ted Thompson did this year in the draft and who he signed as free agents. The signing of Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Ben Taylor, Marquand Manuel, Marc Boerigter and the re-signing of Aaron Kampman as well as the contract extension of Donald Driver and the giving the boot to Javon Walker shows he's on top of his game and willing to make the right moves and pull the trigger. Look who he added this year - A.J. Hawk the future of the franchise. I like what I've seen in Leo Bookman. Ingle Martin is a project, but that's all he needs to be at this time. Abdul Hodge just might be the steal of the draft. Daryn Colledge might just be the starter for years at guard, and Greg Jennings might fill that need at receiver.

As I see it Ted Thompson has done a great job as general manager, and for all those whose voice was so loud, my question to you is WHERE ARE YOU NOW? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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