Sydney Speaks! A bad taste

All the hype, all the ceremonies, a weekend of acknowledging the past from the 1996 Super Bowl team, to all the alumni that walked through the tunnels and just what happened? The Chicago Bears acted as if it was their home opener. The Bears looked ready to play and the Packers looked like the game was too big for them in every way possible, and this is what I saw in the different areas!!!!

First, let me say I understand what Mike McCarthy wants to accomplish and is trying to do, but I don't think the players are ready for it yet. These players are too young to have as much freedom as he is allowing them during the week, especially on Friday and Saturday. If you don't know what I am talking about let me explain. What he is doing is practicing early on Fridays and not really walking through things on Saturday with hardly any meetings on Saturday nights, which I believe is the wrong approach for a team this young because it allows them to lose focus, which this team did on Sunday against the Bears.

This team wasn't ready to play and wasn't prepared, especially on defense, as the Bears opened their playbook and used the passing game to keep the Packers off guard. As coaches they need to expect the unexpected and prepare their team for that and they weren't. The coaches on defense really made no adjustments when Brady Poppinga was in coverage on Desmond Clark and the Bears took advantage of the mismatch, making Clark look like an all pro. And how could they not be prepared for the Bears coming out and throwing the ball? To me that's another sign of not having this team ready.

The special teams' play was just plain sad!!!!I The Packers had three guys on kickoff returns that looked like they wanted no part of returning the ball. Noah Herron and Robert Ferguson looked like they were looking for a place to fall. At least Samkon Gado tried to hit it running full speed, but then again it's time for the return unit to give these guys a lane to run in and that isn't happening. In my opinion, that's coaching. Then there was the decision right before the half to try a long field goal instead of better clock management to get closer, which I don't understand especially since Dave Rayner hadn't even attempted a long one in a game all preseason.

I am a Mike McCarthy fan but I expected better and I think they got out-coached by Lovie Smith and his staff. But that was a nice fake punt call. I will give Mike Stock credit for that one, but then again it's sad that it's the only highlight of coaching against the Bears.

Everything starts up front with the offensive line and, believe it or not, it didn't do too bad. The line didn't do great, but it didn't stink up the place, either. It played against one of the best defensive lines in the league. Even though Brett was sacked three times it could have been worse. Moll, Wells and Spitz battled for youngsters, but the veteran Chad Clifton struggled at different times, even though on one of the sacks he was supposed to get help from the tight end and they got in each other's way so it wasn't all his fault. Trust me, I'm not giving him an excuse but it's fact.

It was nice to see Ahman Green run as hard as he did as he had 20 carries for 110 yards. He did look like he was back but let's not get overly excited because a lot of those yards were when the Bears were guarding against the big play and were willing to give up 10-yard draw plays because they knew it wouldn't hurt them in the long run. Then you had Donald Driver that is picking up right where he left off. He looked incredible in preseason and he carried it right into the first game, catching 7 balls for 96 yards. And as for Brett Favre, I know he threw two interceptions but we all know when he is put in a situation like he was on Sunday he will throw a couple because he is trying to make something happen. We just have to understand he isn't the Bear killer anymore because in his last three games he has thrown 138 passes with no touchdowns and 8 interceptions. I just might think they have his number. The only thing else I will say about the offense was where was Greg Jennings and Bubba Franks????

On this side of the ball I'm not sure that they held the Bears to only 26 points, or the Bears, when they got 26 points, went into the ‘Let's not hurt ourselves because the Packers can't score on us mindset.' Again, things have to start up front and, to be honest, I thought Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila played better against the run this game then I thought he would. But where was Ryan Pickett? Fixing his roller skates or something? I saw him too many times behind the linebackers on running plays and that can't be happening. And it's not that Kabeer didn't get overpowered because he did. It just didn't happen as much, I guess, which is what I'm saying. I like Brady Poppinga and A.J. Hawk's aggressiveness against the run, but Brady showed is weakness which was his pass coverage skills, and like I said earlier, Rex Grossman did throw the ball better than anyone on the Packers believed he could. Speaking of throwing, Muhsin Muhammad made Al Harris and Charles Woodson look like they were boys playing with men. They were no match for his size and strength and if that's the best that Marquand Manuel can do, all I can say is at least Mark Roman could cover somebody!!!

So, as I see it the first home game was a bust. It was the first time the Packers have been shut out since Brett Favre has taken the helm. Talk about leaving a BAD TASTE IN YOUR MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!

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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