Sydney Speaks! Sense of urgency is there

Harry Sydney has digested Green Bay's 38-10 preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons and offers his thoughts on the play of the offense and defense. For the most part, the former Packers fullback and assistant coach is encouraged by the way the Packers performed against the Falcons.

It was a nice thing to see on Saturday, whether it was preseason or not, with the Green Bay Packers. The game against Atlanta showed that Mike McCarthy's message is getting through. What was that message, you might ask? I think that message was that football is a violent game and it must be played that way and if you can't you will have a seat on the bench. If you don't believe me, ask Daryn Colledge. This team doesn't have room for dead weight, or you will get cut like B.J. Sander.

I like the way this team is starting to realize that message. The shuffle move that McCarthy and his staff pulled off last week had everyone second-guessing their knowledge, but it just might have started a fire with this offensive line. Do they have a long way to go? Yes, they do because they looked with the naked eye like they were providing Brett Favre with more protection, and they were, but for different reason. The Falcons only rushed four defenders the majority of the time which allowed the Packers' offensive line to always out-number the Falcons. Scott Wells became the wild card because he was able to help both of the guards out when necessary. If you watched the game closely he was a busy man, but the protection was so much better and so was their attitude because it was always five on four. This offensive line played the game in an attacking mode they went after Atlanta where the week before they were standing around watching the Chargers play. There was a sense of purpose about this team on Saturday on both sides of the ball let me further explain!!!!!

Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers got the players in and out of the huddle to set the tempo. You could tell that they wanted to have as much time at the line of scrimmage as possible just in case the Falcons were going to blitz because I believe they got caught off guard last week with all the blitzes. Not only that, but it also gave them both the time to audible which Brett did several times, especially to Donald Driver on several slant plays. He even threw to Donald on a what they call a ‘quick hitch' where Brett just gets the ball and throws it quickly to the wide receiver, giving the receiver the chance to make a move for a big play on the corner who is playing soft. These are the things that I believe Brett wasn't allowed to do the last several years.

Also, most of Brett's throws are the ones that he usually executes very well where he doesn't have to hold onto the ball very long. Those are slants, stick routes and any throw after play-action because he is a master of these kind of passes. As far it looks, this staff is trying to put him in position to be successful.

So far on offense this coaching staff has opened up things that will make their future opponents have to spend time working on different things such as reverses and middle screens which are all going to make this team unpredictable. Trust me, they will use any edge they can. I also liked the way they moved Driver around to take advantages of the mismatches by using him in the third receiver spot, which put him on their third corner. Donald will win that battle every time.

The offensive line with youngsters Tony Moll and Jason Spitz faired pretty well and the running game did have more yardage, but a 19-yard run by Donald Driver on a reverse and a long run by Arliss Beach helped the average. However, play-by-play the backs as a group are below average. I know I've been hard on Najeh Davenport but when they as the coaches are trying to feature him and he has 10 carries for 30 yards and he only gets what the line blocks for him it's time to understand he isn't the answer.

Just like Davenport isn't the answer at running back, Greg Jennings is the answer at receiver. He plays like a seasoned veteran. What's really awesome is that I believe Favre and Rodgers have all the confidence in him because you can see the both of them looking his way. Also, he showed me some toughness when he held onto the ball on the slant play when he got his boat rocked. He didn't have alligator arms like I've seen out of other receivers.

Boy, did I like what I saw! When was the last time we saw this defense have three interceptions in the same game? I don't remember, pre-season or regular season. I know it will hurt with the loss of Marviel Underwood, but Tyrone Culver has played his butt off up to this point, even though I believe he had a mental breakdown on the touchdown in the first quarter. But he has stepped up his game. And for that matter, so has the defensive line, which played a very physical game and got after it.

Unfortunately, Kabeer showed again his weakness against the run when T.J. Duckett got around his end for a big run. And as for the linebacker group A.J. Hawk showed why he is worthy of being selected with the fifth pick of the 2006 draft. The one play where he went to his right and avoided a block and met the running back at the corner and tried to knock his head off gave me goose bumps. That's what we all as Packer fans have been missing for a long time - someone who will deliver a blow not because he has to, but because he likes to. And as for the secondary, Al Harris and Charles Woodson have already made this team better. They caused a coverage sack which allowed Corey Williams to get a sack. Can you imagine what they might be able to do when the bullets are real?

Trust me, I'm not going to go out and say that this team will make the playoffs or nothing like that, but I will say I LIKE THEIR SENSE OF URGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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