Sydney Speaks! A sigh of relief

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney analyzes the good and not so good from Green Bay's first victory of the season Sunday over the Detroit Lions. Sydney breaks down coaching, offense and defense.

It didn't matter that the Packers beat the sorry Detroit Lions. A win is a win and a conference win makes it so much better. After losing the first two games, this team needed to go into Detroit and walk away with a victory. They did and that's the most important thing. This win goes a long way toward having the players and the coaches start to believing in themselves. Is there more work to do? No doubt about it, but Mike McCarthy got the monkey off his back by getting his first win as a NFL head coach and it wasn't easy. Here's why:

I thought Mike McCarthy did an excellent job of making adjustments against the Lions. I know he wanted to run more, but unfortunately the offensive line wasn't opening the holes and it's that simple. So instead of beating their heads against the wall they called more screens and involved the tight ends more in the game plan, and used checkdowns.

All off-season everyone was wondering whether Brett Favre would buy into what McCarthy was trying to get him to do, which is to play under control and take what the defense is giving them and not force the ball. I also like how they kept the Lions defense off-balance by calling plays that didn't require Brett to hold onto the ball too long. The use of the tight end over the middle was smart play-calling.

I thought the game plan on the offensive side of the ball was executed with precision, and every time they needed to the got it done they did. Well, that is until Ahman Green fumbled at the end of the game. He never should have been put in that position. The Lions had no timeouts at that time, so I don't understand the unnecessary risk. Why not just take a knee? If they have to punt with 10 seconds left do so, but don't give the Lions a chance to steal the game away. I guess Mike McCarthy didn't understand the ghosts that exist when the Packers and Lions get together in Detroit.

Now to the defensive side of the ball. This just might be too much for Bob Sanders because he seems to be slowed when it comes to making adjustments. The first adjustments he needs to do is find out what is happening in the secondary by asking Kurt Schottenheimer what he is teaching when it comes to coverage skills. There seems to be mass confusion in the secondary. I am so tired of seeing after every throw in the Packer secondary the defensive backs looking at each other like they are lost.

Also it was good to see Ben Taylor in some pass situations instead of Brady Poppinga, which means they are paying attention. And for the last comment about coaching I thought the kickoff return unit looked better than they have all year. The wedge looked very good, so I'm assuming Mike Stock is getting his message across. So for the most part good win, coaches!!!!!!!!

We all worried how Brett Favre would handle Mike McCarthy's philosophy and he seems to be playing better than he has in years. He is playing under control, not forcing the ball and just moving the chains by taking what the defense gives him. He is moving the ball around letting the defense dictate where he is going to throw the ball which means everyone needs to stay alert which they are. This also means the defense can't be right and that's the beauty of this version of WEST COAST OFFENSE which we saw against the Lions.

But remember coaches coach and players play, and the players played well. So let's start up front. Favre played outstanding, getting everyone involved in the game. He never forced the ball or thought he had to win it by himself. His supporting cast was outstanding which started up front with the offensive line. They gave him all day to throw. Tony Moll, Scott Wells, Daryn Colledge, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher gave Brett all day to throw they struggled opening up running lanes for Green on a regular bases which was their only negative for the game.

Bubba Franks and Donald Lee surely contributed with the biggest play that Bubba made was being aware on the Ahman fumble because I believed he stopped a sure touchdown. What can you say about Greg Jennings? He is playing like a veteran of many years. He does nothing but make plays. Now back to Green. He can't keep putting the ball on the ground, especially in that situation at the end of the game. This offense is going to have to score a lot of points for this team to win, but against the Lions they got the job done. KEEP IT UP. YOU WILL NEED TO!!!!!!!! and here's WHY!!!!

A.J. Hawk is the real deal. He is playing the most consistent of any of the players on defense. He isn't missing any tackles. Once he gets his hands on them they are down and he brings pop with the hit. Aaron Kampman and Kabeer need to show up more on a consistent basis; they can't take plays or games off. They can't have three sacks one game and not sniff the quarterback the next game. With that said it was nice to see the effort by Corey Williams up front. He never stopped working. We all know Brady Poppinga is a physical talent but again he showed his liability against the pass.

Nick Barnett made me believe more than ever that he should be an outside linebacker because of his pass coverage skills. He doesn't bring a pop with any tackle and if these coaches are going to put the best linebacker group on the field and in the best position - if Brady can't cover - then Abdul Hodge should be in the middle and move Nick to the outside.

The secondary is the biggest joke of the defense. I say that because if the highlight of the secondary play is Ahmad Carroll making a great play causing an interception, allowing for a Manuel touchdown, this defense is in trouble. Marquand Manuel gets burned easier than toast and Al Harris is losing money because he's not going to get the big contract playing like he is now.

With all that said this was a very needed win. Because it could be worse they could be the Detroit Lions this morning what a "SIGH OF RELIEF!!!!!!!!!!< 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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