Sydney Speaks! This is no moral victory

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney assesses the coaching, offense and defense from Green Bay's 23-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Sydney explains why coming close to victory still isn't good enough in the NFL.

I'm tired of hearing how close this Green Bay Packers team is to winning another game. Player after player keeps saying the same things: ‘We are improving.' And in many ways the Packers are, but so what? As I go to my son's high school football games the students have a cheer that keeps coming to me and it's very simple. It's called "SCOREBOARD" because that tells it all. Either you win or you lose. It doesn't matter how you win or lose, but in the NFL that's how you are measured, and against the Rams the Packers lost, and here's why!!!!!

Before I get to the different pieces of the puzzle, I first must say that I don't want to hear about youth. I don't want any excuses about how even though they are 1-4 they have played against teams with winning records. They should have beaten the Saints and the Rams and should be sitting at 3-2 at the bye. Please, make no mistake about it. OK, now I can move on.

COACHING
Is Mike McCarthy and his coordinators in over their head? I don't really have an answer for that because of the fact that I do see improvement with this team. With Mike McCarthy you have a guy that knows what he wants to do, but I'm not sure he has communicated that to the rest of his assistants and players.

Mike McCarthy had a communicated plan going into the game Sunday, but didn't make what I saw were obvious adjustments, such as in the running game. He became so left handed the first half that in the third quarter, on a third and short, he went to the well once to often and Brandon Miree got stuffed into the backfield at an important point in the game. Then on the touchdown run by Noah Herron, William Henderson did an excellent job leading him into the end zone.

Also, as well as Noah Herron was running and after the Vernand Morency fumble, why wouldn't Noah start the second half at running back? As a player, I would think that would be confusing because I wouldn't really know my role. I believe that's the coach's responsibility.

Offensively, I would have wanted to convey to Brett that on third and short try and get the first down and move the chains because too many times on third and short he threw it trying to get the big play, which wasn't needed at that time. Also, I thought that they could have used some more play-action passes especially since the running game was working the best it has all year. That in itsself may be a big problem because the way they run the ball using the zone blocking scheme doesn't resemble the pass protection scheme, which might just tip off when a play-action is coming.

On the defensive side of ball there are still communication breakdowns when it comes to having too many men on the field, or not enough, which is simply ridiculous. Besides this, the coaching didn't cost them the game against the Rams!!!!!!

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
First off we have to say to Morency that it was fun while it lasted, but if this team is going to rally around someone that fumbles they might as well wait for Ahman Green. And for all I have heard from the offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski about upgrading the fullback position by using Brandon Miree, I hope he is rethinking that process because he can't get it done.

Greg Jennings even though he had a drop at a crucial time in the game had a great game. And that drop didn't affect the game because they were in position to win or tie the game at the end on the same drive.

Herron and an excellent game running the ball. He showed power and quickness and very good vision. Hat's off to Donald Driver by showing his toughness by just stepping onto the field and playing with pain. And as for the offensive line I thought it did an excellent job. It opened holes in the running game, especially on the left side. Someone that really caught my eye was Daryn Colledge. He showed me something I have been looking for, which was a hint of nastiness. I saw him blocking a man 10 yards down field on a Herron long run trying to knock the guy off of the ball carrier. Besides that I thought the pass protection was pretty solid most of the game up until the last play of the game.

Everyone knows Mark Tauscher got beat around the corner but that wasn't what caused the fumble – only something to do with it. What caused the fumble was Brett Favre's carelessness with the ball. It wasn't like Leonard Little came from his blind side, and Brett didn't see him coming. Since we are on to Brett he did throw some great balls, especially that strike he threw to Jennings for the 46-yard touchdown, but then again he was very erratic on his deep throws. Some of his decision-making was very questionable. He seems to be getting locked on receivers again and not reading his progression, for example when he tried to force the ball to David Martin for a touchdown that should have been picked off for an interception by Will Witherspoon. On that same play, Bubba Franks was so wide open he would have been able to walk in for touchdown. So there is enough blame to go around!!!!!!!

DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
The reason that players play defense is because they can't catch. Al Harris, A.J. Hawk, and Charles Woodson had their opportunities to change the game around, but they didn't and that contributed to the loss against the Rams. Still, they gave this team chances to win the game. Even though Harris got beat for a touchdown early in the game and had some penalties, I thought he and Woodson played their best game against two of the best receivers in the game - Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. I thought the secondary played their best game all year which means that the coaching has improved because they had fewer mental mistakes.

Hawk just continues to play solid football in all phases. His tackling as been outstanding as well as his pass coverage skills, and I believe his play has ignited the play of Nick Barnett. I know the defensive line accounted for two sacks, but I'm going to give those sacks to the secondary because Marc Bulger had nowhere to throw.

The weakness of this team continues to be the lack of a consistent pass rush. Kabeer and Aaron Kampman just can't get it done without a blitzer to help them or outstanding coverage in the secondary.

Then again the Packers almost won the game. They were close. Everyone seems to be excited because of the improvement. Are you kidding me? This is the National Football League and there is NO SUCH THING AS A MORAL VICTORY.


Harry Sydney

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


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