Sydney Speaks! It's time to start the season!

The start of training camp is a week away for the Green Bay Packers, and for Harry Sydney, it can't come soon enough. The former Packers fullback and assistant coach reflects on the Packers' long off-season in his column today.

Talk about a long off-season. It seems like it's been years since the Green Bay Packers were on the football field playing a real game. This off-season was a never-ending soap opera that I am happy to put behind, but let's take a trip back down memory lane just to see all the things that have happened!!!!!

As we take this trip this isn't to bring up bad things, but just to help all of us as fans hopefully appreciate where this team is right now. This team is finally in excellent shape from the top down, which brings us to the first off-season move: The firing of Mike Sherman and the hiring of Mike McCarthy has signified a changing of philosophy. Not only that but many, including myself, thought Jim Bates was certainly going to get the job. The hiring of McCarthy, in my mind, told me that Ted Thompson was building for the future but at the same time he got someone that understands the new generation of the National Football League because Mike McCarthy has to be about the win-now philosophy.

Also, I believe Mike McCarthy did some clever hiring of his assistants. For example, this team has been weak in the special teams area, so what does he do? He goes and gets a hard-nosed veteran special teams coach in Mike Stock, who will bring toughness to these units. Stock understands that special teams aren't about tricks, it's about going down and knocking the crap out of people and creating return lanes so the returner has a place to run.

Then if you look at another position on offense that has young guys that need to step up besides the offensive line, it's at the wide receiver position. Hiring a real veteran coach like Jimmy Robinson was a stroke of genius. I've respected Jimmy for over 20 years and if these guys listen to him they will be so much better than they have been in a long time.

So, the first stop on the trip was getting the coaches in place and then dealing with the departure of the ones that left. Then the next stop was what was Brett Favre going to do? We all, whether we want to admit it or not, got caught up with it. Either we said he had the right to take his time because he earned that right, or we said he was holding the team hostage and that lasted for almost five months, but it ended with good results. Then as that was going on or ending then comes the Javon Walker bush league move. He demands to be traded and says he doesn't ever want to play in Green Bay again, so the Packers ship him off to Denver and get some draft picks in a round-about way, which I believe will help the team in the long run.

As you can see there was a bunch of stuff happening and let's not forget about the free agency period. I, for one, like everyone was very impatient wanting them to make a splash and finally they did by signing Ryan Pickett and Charles Woodson. Hopefully they will be impact players. Besides signing them they re-signed some of their own players, like Ahman Green, Aaron Kampman and William Henderson. These guys are true veterans and have excellent work ethic, which are valuable assets for a new coaching staff because as they buy into the change everyone else will as well.

Then there was the draft and half of the fans wanted the Packers to take Vernon Davis the home-run threat at tight end, and the other half wanted A.J. Hawk with the fifth pick of the first round. The Packers finally Hawk, which after looking at the direction of the team, is a great pick. With all of this going on it's time for mini-camp, and Mike McCarthy changes up everything by not having a mini-camp for the veterans prior to the draft. He decides to have everyone learn everything at the same time.

Now with a week before training camp, if this off-season wasn't long enough, now you have Al Harris talking about a possibility of holding out, which is ridiculous because Green Bay gave him an opportunity to be an every-down player. He wasn't anything but a nickel or dime cover guy when he was at Philly. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

As you can see there has been a whole bunch of unnecessary nonsense going on this off-season. Aren't you glad that IT'S TIME TO START THE SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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