Sydney Speaks! Who is accountable?'s Harry Sydney makes an attempt to get down to the bottom of the Packers' problems this season, especially on defense. Is it the players or the coaching? Sydney, a former fullback and Packers assistant coach, offers his assessment.

Everyone is all excited because of the well-deserved release of Ahmad Carroll. Even though I thought that he did show some sign of improvement during training camp, it didn't matter because when the lights came on and the games were real all he did was hurt the team. What happened against the Eagles wasn't a surprise. It wasn't an accident. He has done this since he has been in the league, so the question that is eating at me is what did this staff expect from this guy?

As I look at the secondary and all the mistakes that it has made my question is, what is the real problem? Is it the players or is it the coaching? As I look at Al Harris and I see him struggling and I am trying to go back in time and, as I do, I can't remember him playing this bad. I'm not going to give him any excuses. I know he wants more money, but so what? The only way he's going to get more is to play better because as of right now, he's hurting more than helping which is costing him some cash.

Charles Woodson is playing better, so I really have no complaint with what he is doing.

Marquand Manuel he does a good job tackling at the line of scrimmage and that's it. His coverage skills are a joke, and his ability to tackle in the open field make me want Mark Roman back, and how sad is that? He looks totally lost in the secondary, so I ask myself why is he here? Then it comes to me that this was Ted Thompson's prize move, the one that was designed to take this secondary to the next level. As it stands right now they are the worst in the NFC, so I'm wondering just where does the fault belong. Then I look at Bob Sanders and Kurt Schottenheimer - aren't they responsible for getting all these guys on the same page. So as I look back at the first four games and the progression, or lack of it, I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly is the problem aren't you?

I think about when Mike McCarthy was hired and what he said about Bob Sanders and wanting to keep the transition minimal because he liked where the defense was going. At that time it made a lot of sense. So, my first question would be what happened to the secondary? With the personnel on the roster, this unit should be better than it has shown. Has this defense gotten so complicated that the secondary has to wear wristbands to play defense?

I know things have changed since I have stopped coaching, but either the secondary plays zone or man - it's really that simple. In man I have that guy and in zone I have that area. Sure, they have to make some adjustments, but then again what did they spend their time doing during all those minicamps and all those OTA's. What was Bob Sanders coaching? What was Kurt Schottenheimer doing during all this time? I say this because Bob is overlooking everything on the defensive side of the ball so as a coordinator he has to trust that the position coaches are handling their business. So as much as fingers rightfully so were pointed at Ahmad Carroll, isn't Schottenheimer responsible for a lot of this mess?

It blows my mind that Al Harris, Charles Woodson, Nick Collins and Marquand Manuel - guys with great football sense have to wear bracelets in order to play a game that they have played all their lives. I wonder how did Al Harris survive at Philly under Johnson, the mastermind of coordinators without defenses written on his arm? Johnson throws the kitchen sink at offenses. How did Charles Woodson get to the Pro Bowl? And if I'm not mistaken, Nick Collins had a pretty good rookie year. So, I hope the powers that be don't stop pointing fingers yet because there are more targets out there.

Now I've touched briefly on Ted Thompson, Bob Sanders, Kurt Schottenheimer and now it's Mike McCarthy's turn. I like Mike McCarthy as a man and as an assistant coach, but unfortunately I'm starting to question his philosophy as a head coach. How can he keep talking about his commitment to the run and throw it I believe 16 times in the first quarter? How can he have the ball first-and-goal on the six and not try to run it? Why would he have Brett Favre in the game just to hand off when the game was over? Also, how is Aaron Rodgers going to get experience if he never is allowed to play? Another question that I have is how can they sit William Henderson down because they think Brandon Miree is an upgrade, but at the same time not play Koren Robinson over Robert Ferguson? Isn't he an upgrade?

It's at times like these that everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to take a look at what is really going on and fix what is broken. Everything doesn't fall on the feet of Ahmad Carroll because he's only a convenient scapegoat, but WHO ELSE IS ACCOUNTABLE?

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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