Sydney Speaks! What does it mean?

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney provides his observations of what he has seen during Packers practices this off-season. Sydney provides his thoughts on various positions and where each stands at this point.

There has been a bunch of things that have happened with the Green Bay Packers this off-season. A new head coach, and in my opinion a very good draft on paper as well as some of the walking wounded seem to be getting very healthy. But what does that mean?

As I watched practice recently I saw Ahman Green at running back take a hand off and show some patience as he cut back taking advantage of the new zone blocking scheme. Don't get me wrong he wasn't running no where near full speed, but it was nice to see him practicing and working to get himself back to hopefully tip-top form - what ever that is at this point in his career. But I do believe that what they are trying to accomplish with the zone blocking will only help his cause.

Then I looked over and observed William Henderson talking with Vonta Leach about something that he noticed, and you could see William teaching because you could see him pointing and using hand gestures and Vonta nodding his head as if to say, 'I understand what you are saying.' Much more it was a look of 'Thank you, I appreciate you taking time even though I'm trying to take your job.'

Then I saw Donald Driver holding court because some of the young and hungry receivers had noticed how he ran a particular route, and they came over to asked him something. These guys were Leo Bookman and Greg Jennings, and I was impressed with how they communicated together because to me it showed how everyone wanted to be on the same page. And Donald, being the elder statesmen of the receivers, was willing to share his knowledge to help them get better because these guys are the future of this franchise at this position, but what does it mean? Then as I looked over to see the quarterback drills I saw something pretty awesome. I saw Brett Favre allowing himself to be coachable and working the techniques that the quarterback coach and Mike McCarthy were teaching. As you can tell I've been paying close attention to what's been happening on the edges. The important things, in my opinion, because without pads on you can only find out so much.

Then I looked over to see the technique work the offensive line was going through because all it can do is work with each other with things, like the guards and tackles working together on their steps. For example, Mark Tauscher and Junius Coston will work together on double teaming a defensive tackle, then sliding up to a linebacker. This takes a certain amount of communication and feel between the two and this is what this camp is all about. Just as Scott Wells is working on controlling the offensive line and trying to be the leader because the center is so vital for this unit. He has to know what everyone is doing. His responsibility is endless. He helps calling the pass protection as well as he helps make different calls when it comes to the run-blocking adjustments, but then again what does it all mean? There are a lot of questions with the offensive line because things haven't really changed. This staff is hoping that these young guys can come through. Talk about pressure on the middle of the line. Look at the youth that they have to count on: Wells, Daryn Colledge, Coston and Jason Spitz. This is the future because it doesn't look like Will Whitticker can get it done in this scheme. But again what does it mean?

On the other side of the ball my big interest has been more in how Bob Sanders will use his personnel this year. As I see it, the defense has the opportunity to be something special depending on how the players are used. I'm wondering if Sanders will stay conservative or turn this defense loose, because the signing of Charles Woodson changes things. As I see it the Packers have two shutdown corners with him and Al Harris, so now they can bring the safety down in the box to help on the run. Not only that, but I can see them blitzing more to put real pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Then I look at the youth and speed at linebacker and I'm wondering how will they be played and how will Sanders get them all on the field. He has A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Ben Taylor, Brady Poppinga, Abdul Hodge and Roy Manning. Talk about a solid foundation at the linebacker position.

Also I look at Mike Montgomery, who just might have the biggest role on the defense because if he can play on run downs and spare Kabeer and send him back to a pass rush specialist, there just might not be a weakness on the defense.

As you can see I have a lot of hope and I want this year to be outstanding. I've paid attention to what's happening and I like the draft picks as well as what they are trying to accomplish at camp. I like how the veterans are working with the rookies and young players, as well as how the coaches are coaching, but then again WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN????????

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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