Sydney Speaks! Time to figure things out's Harry Sydney lists his likes and dislikes thus far with the Green Bay Packers' offense and defense, along with his reasons why the Packers have stumbled to a 1-4 start.

This is the time of the year when the players get a break and get the opportunity to get away from football for a while, or that's at least what people think. Though they may not think about it, watch it, go to games, and get away from it, that is who they are – football players. But for the coaches, it's a different thing, isn't it?

This is the time when the coaches evaluate everything, and trust me there is no stone unturned because with being 1-4 they have no choice but to look at everything and everyone. The first thing they have to look at is what are they teaching, and is it working? Mike McCarthy has to ask himself why are they 1-4? Like I've mentioned in my article earlier this week, there are no moral victories. He has to ask himself are they buying what he is selling?

So far we have seen some positive improvement in many areas such as the offensive line as the running game has slowly been more productive. Noah Herron reached the century mark last week, getting over 100 yards. I also like the way Mike McCarthy is trying to call the game, for the most part, and keep the chains moving. I also like the fact that he is giving the young linemen an opportunity to learn on the job, which will only make them better in the long run. Colledge, Moll and Spitz are getting on-the-field training while at the same time only giving up seven sacks to this point, which is pretty darn good. We can't leave out center Scott Wells, either. He is doing an outstanding job controlling the protections as you can see him direct the offensive linemen with the blocking scheme during the game. I also like how Brett Favre has been allowed to do some of the things that he does well, like throw slants. As for other players, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver have turned into a pretty good one-two punch at receiver.

On the defensive side of the ball I like what I have seen in A.J. Hawk, and that's an understatement. I am hoping that Al Harris and Charles Woodson have turned the corner and might become the shutdown corners that I really believe they can be. But with being 1-4 you have to know there are more things that I don't like than like and here they come!!!!!!!!

First I have to start on the defense. As a defensive coordinator I don't think that Bob Sanders is getting it done. I know it's not all his fault because he doesn't play, but it's his responsibility to get the guys to play, or at least get the right number on the field to play.

I don't like the fact that they haven't figured out that they need to put more pressure on the quarterback. And that they can't do it with just Kabeer and Kampman and Corey Williams on occasion. I also don't like the fact that they haven't in my opinion used the linebacker to the best of their ability. This was a strength in training camp and once the season started. Except for A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett, at times, they haven't made the impact I believe they could if allowed. If I'm not mistaken every time A.J. Hawk has blitzed he has caused havoc.

Now to the secondary it was about time that they realized what Ahmad Carroll was. I just wish they would of have realized it sooner, but better late than never. I also don't like the fact that the defense was so complicated that it had to wear wristbands to communicate, and is still messed up. Another thing that has bothered me has been the lack of aggressiveness on the whole defense, and that's coaching.

This defense needs to turn it loose and lock Harris and Woodson up man-to-man and bring the heat. It seems they are coaching in a timid fashion, and that's how the players are playing. You can't coach or play scared, and that's a fact!!!!!

That was the defense now to the offense. I know Mike McCarthy wants to control the tempo of the game and create situations that would allow for 15-play, 80-yard drives, but the problem is this team isn't good enough to do it consistently. Not only that, but he has to know Brett Favre and his nature and that is to be a gunslinger. Sometimes I wonder if Brett doesn't feel like a caged animal. As I see it, he will dump it, dump it, then on 3rd and short go for a big play at the wrong time. Just like his down-the-field throws, for every good one that he connects on there are three that are uncatchable, or let's just say hard to catch. And their have been more than too many drops which hurts drives and makes it hard to count on that long drive they are trying to pull off.

The other thing that I don't like is the fact that they have gone away from true play-actions, which is a major mistake. And I understand the problem - the way they are running now with the zone-blocking scheme is totally different from how the play-action looks. As a result, the play fake wouldn't hold the linebackers, which makes it worthless unless they fake the run and bootleg the other way. Sadly, though, that takes away one of the best things Brett Favre does, and that's how he uses play-action to hit the tight ends downfield, allowing them to catch the ball on the run, instead of with their numbers to the quarterback. When that happens they catch the ball, but get nothing after the catch.

Back to coaching. After looking at the statistics up to this point there is something that is happening that I couldn't believe until I did a little more investigating. A sign that a coach is on top of his craft is his ability to make adjustments, and that isn't happening. An indicator of that is points. Not only that, but points by quarter. Let me further explain. The opponents have scored 28 in the 1st, 37 in the 2nd, 36 in the 3rd and 37 in the 4th which means many adjustments have not been made, but then again that's Bob Sanders, and even though I like him as a position coach, I'm not sure of him as a coordinator. What bothers me more is on the offensive side of the ball they come out of the gate hard which might be contributed to having a scripted first 15 plays by scoring 37 points, but after that look at what has happened in the first 5 games? They have scored only 15 points in the second quarter. Even more scary is at the start of the second half, when halftime adjustments are supposed to be made, they have only scored 7 points in the 3rd quarter in 5 games. Then in the 4th quarter they have scored 28 points because they are playing catch up. All of this means they are only averaging 17 points a game, and that's a lot of pressure on the defense.

As much as we think the problems are about the defense, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. During this bye week, I think there's A NEED TO FIGURE THINGS OUT!!!!!!!

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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