In Tuesday's column I talked about the offensive line and what I hope they will get from Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Scott Wells as well as how I hope Brett Favre will perform under this new regime but there are other players that need to produce to turn this thing around on the offensive side of the ball. Let's go to the receivers and understand what must happen for these guys to make the Green Bay Packers better. First thing that must happen is that they must relish in the competition and not run away from it. They each bring different things to the table. For example, Donald Driver brings experience and leadership. Marc Boerigter brings size and the knowledge of the McCarthy style of the West Coast offense, but he must stay healthy. Leo Bookman brings size and speed and athletic ability and a hunger to make it in the National Football League. Rod Gardner brings a first-round draft pick tag to the table which has everyone wondering what's wrong because he has size, speed and the unknown. That unknown is why he has been cut twice. People want to know what happened in Carolina and Washington and is it going to happen in Green Bay?
And of course you have Robert Ferguson which means absolutely nothing because that's what he's done - zero. Then there is the rookie Greg Jennings who I believe is the real deal. He reminds me of an old teammate, John Taylor, from the 49ers because he has no wasted movement. His biggest asset just might be what he does with the ball after he catches it. Then last but not least is Cory Rodgers who just might be the punt returner who just might have the biggest impact of all the receivers especially on special teams. If he is the guy all he has to do is catch and run and he will have more of an impact than Antonio Chatman but then again that, in my opinion, isn't saying much is it?
The running game is what it is. It's the Ahman Green show. Hopefully he can remain healthy being led by Vonta Leach or William Henderson. I know they are looking for that third down back and maybe Gado or Noah Herron might fill that role but someone has to.
If these guys come through and play up to their expectations the offense has already gotten better. So I ask myself: How many wins is all this worth? Maybe 5 or 6 total wins just by the offense.
Last year the defense was hurt by the inability to cause turnovers and the lack of any consistent pass rush, so I looked at what has changed. I looked closely and saw not much changed, but the little changes just might determine the direction of this defense. I now see toughness in all levels. I see Ryan Pickett if he plays up to his and the coaches' expectations you have a younger, healthier version of a Gilbert Brown, which to me is saying something. I also like what I see in Mike Montgomery and if he can match Aaron Kampman's willingness to make every play. Kabeer can rest and really be that pass rush specialist that could make a difference because then he won't get worn out.
At linebacker I see nothing but youth and toughness starting with A.J. Hawk. This guy can be everything that the world says he is. If he is, he will only make everyone around him better. Then you have the steal of the draft and that's Abdul Hodge. Add him with Brady Poppinga, Nick Barnett, Roy Manning and Ben Taylor and this group should do nothing, and I mean nothing, but knock people around. The Packers haven't had real toughness at this position since the late Wayne Simmons so it's about time. Well, at least it's my dream and I can make it as big as I want to, RIGHT?
In the secondary, Marquand Manuel came over from Seattle and has to be better than Mark Roman. I know even a hurt Charles Woodson is better than a healthy Ahmad Carroll, so as I see it with Charles and Al at the corners it frees up Nick Collins to patrol the middle of the field to help against the run or even cover for a corner in blitz situations. Or be ready to knock the crap out of any receiver that tries to catch a ball over the middle. As I see it, all this should compute to a couple more wins. I'm sure you would think so, wouldn't you?
When I go through all this and I think about records I see no reason why this team can't be 8-8 at least, maybe even 9-7 with a couple of breaks. This is WHY THEY WILL HAVE A BETTER RECORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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 it will be forwarded to him.