Sydney Speaks! Average at best

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney provides his assessment of Green Bay's coaching, offense and defense in the wake of the Packers' embarrassing 48-17 exhibition loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Two weeks ago against the San Diego Chargers the Green Bay Packers looked like they didn't belong in the National Football League because they couldn't do anything right, so they made some adjustments and came out against the Atlanta Falcons and looked like world beaters. Unfortunately that was short-lived and here's why!!!!!!

In Green Bay's 48-17 loss to Cincinnati Monday night, there didn't seem to be any method to the madness. The offense seemed to have no direction at all. It never seemed that anything was being set up. Mike McCarthy, the play caller, was running play-action before he ran the ball, especially early in the game. I also felt that early in the game he really didn't commit to the run as much as he gave me the impression he would.

I know that there were some early false start penalties by Chad Clifton, which might of forced the decision to pass more, but after Brett Favre returned to his old self by allowing the ball to slip out his hand and give the Bengals seven points I wanted to see the head coach pull in the reins and be different than the coaches of the past because that's the one thing this offense can't do - turn the ball over and put this team in a hole.

Also, another thing that made me take notice was the way Mike McCarthy likes to gamble instead of looking at the things he needs to see during the pre-season. For example, instead of going for it on fourth and long I would have loved to see Dave Rayner attempt a long field goal, just to see whether he can hit one or not because to me I haven't seen him do it under game-like conditions. He is still an unproven commodity.

McCarthy will have to convince Brett that he can't force the ball anymore, gunslinger or not, and if he does he must throw catchable balls. No one cares how hard he throws the ball anymore. It's time to show the maturity of a veteran quarterback and allow his receivers to catch the ball, because it's his responsibility to put it where they can run after the catch.

It's up to Brett Favre to understand what Mike McCarthy is trying to do and not put this team in a bad position because it isn't good enough to overcome his mistakes – period, end of story. I don't care whether it's humid or not, the ball can't slip out of his hand. It didn't slip out of Carson Palmer's hand, did it? Favre has to start playing on a consistent basis. He was lucky to only have one interception against the Bengals, which is still one too many. Trust me, he can't do it by himself, he needs some help.

The offensive line seemed to play well against Atlanta, but then again I believe Atlanta didn't blitz and were in the same front most of the game. The Chargers and the Bengals changed up their looks, which caused some confusion with pass protection but that can't happen, especially when Brett is jumpy by nature.

I saw one play when the Bengals only rushed three and there was a twist, and Brett still got hit. It wasn't the young guys making mistakes, it was Clifton and Tauscher as well. And as for the running game there still isn't enough toughness from Jason Spitz or Tony Moll. They are getting knocked into the backfield. Part of the zone-blocking scheme is based on Moll, Wells and Spitz not allowing penetration and creating a new line of scrimmage. That isn't happening enough for any running game to be established, especially with the backs that are on this roster at this time. Trust me it was nice to see Ahman Green back on the field, but he's no Superman. Even he needs a hole to run through, or at least he must be allowed to get his shoulders squared so he can avoid a defender in the backfield. And in my opinion everyone else at halfback position are just guys. Najeh Davenport might just make this team by process of elimination if and only if he can stay healthy. Fullback Vonta Leach isn't busting a grape, he's playing softer than Nick Luchey ever played which is scary to me. Hopefully William Henderson has a fast recovery.

As for the receivers, Donald Driver is playing like he has something to prove and Greg Jennings just makes plays whether he's a punt return or receiver. Robert Ferguson is simply a no show. So as you can see this offense, at this point, in reality is a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Charles Woodson is a heck of a cover corner, but he has to decide to tackle instead of always trying to go for the ball trying to cause a fumble. The rule of thumb is that the first guy tackles the man and the second tackles the ball, but someone must have forgotten to tell him. I guess it's because he tackled like crap!

I will say this: I believe Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had one of the best games of his career against the run. I believe he handled the point of attack very well. I also thought that Colin Cole and Ryan Pickett didn't do a good job plugging up the middle. Also it was nice to see Mike Hawkins out on the field, and even though he got beat on a long touchdown, I like his upside. I know the linebackers made their share of tackles, Barnett and Hawk led the way along with Aaron Kampman who proved he's a hard worker, which is what he brings to the table - work ethic.

With all this being said, as I look at this team after their third pre-season game and I look at the the players, the only thing I can say is that they are AVERAGE AT BEST AND THAT'S BEING NICE!!!!!!!!!!!< p>
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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