Sydney Speaks! What are they thinking?

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney offers his thoughts on what Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, head coach Mike McCarthy and players on offense might be thinking as the 2006 training camp nears.

With training camp right around the corner I am wondering what everyone might be thinking, and I mean everyone. I can imagine what's going through the heads of everyone involved from the general manager, coaches, and players. I'm going to try and get inside the heads of many based on my experience as a player and coach. I can't speak for them, so I'm going to tell you what they might be thinking!!!!!

Let's start with the general manager Ted Thompson he just might be saying to himself, ‘OK, Mike McCarthy, you sold me on this plan of yours and so far I've liked what I've seen, but everything you've done up to now doesn't count because this game is about the wins and losses. It's all about the scoreboard and so far the Packers haven't played a game.'

He also might be saying to himself ‘Please! Please! Please! Charles Woodson be the player we played against when I was at Seattle.' He might also be saying about Charles, ‘I will forgive you for not showing up to OTA's if you come into camp healthy, in shape and ready to make this team better because I paid you a boatload of money.'

He could also be saying, ‘Come on, Kabeer, earn all that money. Don't just be a pass rusher.'

He also might be saying, ‘Ryan Pickett, make me forget about Cletidus Hunt and Grady Jackson.'

Then he could be saying to himself, if McCarthy can deliver he would look like a genius and more importantly the Packers would be moving in the right direction.

Now let's get inside Mike McCarthy's head for a second. He might just be saying, ‘I've been waiting for this moment all his life, my first training camp as a head coach.'

Then he might just realize all eyes are on him. Everything that he does will be second-guessed and written about and there is no place to hide. In his mind he is going over different scenarios because even if he doesn't know something he will have to fake it and act like he does because everyone is following his lead the players, the coaches, and basically us, the fans, as well. He has to be prepared to have knowledge of the defense while running the offense and at the same time be accountable for what will happen on special teams. Everything that happens on the football field starts and stops with him. He is preparing himself to have to make the tough decisions such as deciding a player's future, deciding how he wants practice to be held. Everyone knows the times and when practice will be held but he must decide how far to go with the hitting. He will have to learn how to gage this team and himself. He must understand when to push and when to relax. I for one want him to succeed because not only is he a personal friend, but I like what he stands for. If he can make the best of this opportunity he opens the door for other young coaches that want the same chance but keep getting overlooked because to the good ol' boy network they are unproven.

The players
As for the players there are so many who are thinking different things depending on status, years and or ability. For example, Brett Favre might just be thinking, ‘Another training camp? Are you kidding me? Although this one is different because of the little changes in McCarthy's version of the West Coast offense, so he will have to pay more attention.

Then you have Aaron Rodgers that will be preparing himself as if he is going to be the starter but unfortunately he knows he will never see the field unless the Brett Favre of last year shows up.

Then you have Ahman Green who has so much to prove and has been working his butt off all off-season. He probably is thinking, ‘I can't wait,' but knows he has to and can't rush things.

I hope Samkon Gado isn't thinking that every time he touches the ball he has to take it to the house because Ahman and Najeh are supposedly back. That would be the biggest mistake he could make.

Bubba Franks is hopefully thinking that the coaching staff will remember that he is a Pro Bowl tight end and design and call plays that will allow him to stretch the field.

Then I start to think about the battles that will take place in the offensive line. I wonder what Daryn Colledge is thinking because soon he is going to realize this isn't Boise State and he's not on scholarship anymore, and that all those drills he did in mini-camps or OTA's didn't really mean a thing. Yes, he might have looked good and did some good technique work, but he will realize that the rules of the game changes when the pads are on and that everyone is fighting for a job. The same will be for Jason Spitz. I hope he's thinking that nice guys finish last and decides to bring the heat because he's going to need to.

Then you have this new group of receivers fighting for a spot and I hope they understand that's exactly what they are doing because they have only one proven starting receiver - Donald Driver. I wonder who's going to step up? Is it going to be Rod Gardner, Marc Boerigter, Greg Jennings, or is it going to be someone like Leo Bookman? Or is Robert Ferguson finally going to stay healthy? Do you think he's at home trying to convince himself that he can be the man and seize the opportunity this time around?

In my next column I will continue with the other side of the ball. With camp right around the corner, I'm wondering JUST WHAT MIGHT BE ON THEIR MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!

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 it will be forwarded to him.

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