Sydney Speaks! The rules of engagement

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney explains in his column today how Koren Robinson's suspension from the NFL will limit the Green Bay Packers' offense more than you might think.

It is very unfortunate the way things have happened for Koren Robinson because, like so many athletes, they make bad decisions and waste their talent. Over the four games Robinson played, we got a glimpse of all kinds of potential, but sports is more than what happens on the field. It's also about living up to standards and being accountable for your actions off the field.

The National Football League has rules that have been in place for a long time. Every year players have meetings and are told the rules and they sign off on them, stating that they understand what they can or can't do, and the consequences of failing to play by the rules. We all have codes of conduct. I like Koren Robinson and his ability, but didn't everyone really expect this to happen? I know I did, and so did Brett Favre.

I like the stand Brett took on this issue because he did make some very valid points. Sometimes he has said things and I have wondered, ‘Why did he open his mouth?' But I think that his concerns are things that the players union should look at and ask themselves, ‘What are they really accomplishing?' I agree with Favre. There has to be another way to get the message across without putting any player out on an island by himself. It is hard for anyone to survive when the things that they love are taken away from them, but I thought he should have addressed the fact that Koren Robinson knew what would happen to his life if he got in trouble. This wasn't his first rodeo.

I believe everyone deserves a second chance, and even a third, at times, but there has to be consequences for every action. The National Football League is all about integrity. Did they really have any choice but to do what they did and suspend him for one year? My hope is that the Packers and Koren Robinson have put measures in place if they want him to be part of this team in the future. They should have seen this coming and put other options in place so that he isn't all alone and is getting the help he needs. If they really want him to be part of the organization next year they hopefully have him working with someone on this issue and all the others that are causing him to risk everything for nothing.

There are still some questions on whether the Packers should have made this move in the first place. I originally said no because this move, at the time, was just a band-aid. Now, like I have said in a previous article, this is a crucial stretch of games for this team and they have only two proven receivers, with one of them being Greg Jennings, a rookie that if he keeps playing this way could be in the running for rookie offensive player of the year. Though, most rookies hit that ‘rookie wall' at some time and the Packers can't afford for this to happen, especially since this teams needs more weapons and play-makers. But then again haven't they always needed more weapons? Hasn't this been the story over the last couple of years? As I see it the coaching staff says they were preparing for this scenario and I'm saying how? I hope they aren't thinking that they could put a tight end out as the third receiver in the slot and put fear into any coordinator, or line up William Henderson there.

The suspension of Koren Robinson has hurt this team because it has made the Packers very vanilla. Added to this the fact is that Robert Ferguson is hurt and maybe out for the season. I know that when Mike McCarthy and Jeff Jagodzinski were hired they said they wanted to get the tight end more involved with the offense. Well, I guess they have their wish, but, unfortunately, I expect this offense to struggle greatly. Defenses will now put an extra guy in the box to stop the run, and the secondary will be moving closer to the line of scrimmage. I wouldn't be surprised if the offense faced more bump and run, trying to destroy the timing because it won't have any fear of the deep ball.

As I see it, I now wonder if the Koren Robinson move is worth all of this. How many times can a team, which is 1-4, change its identity. Early this season they wanted to run, but they actually threw more because they were unsettled at running back as well as the offensive linemen couldn't create any running lanes. And now when they might need to run they might not be able to because there might be too many defenders in the box because there is no deep threat or no legit third receiver. I worry now that teams will make Brett Favre have to win the game and, at this point in his career, that's not what the coaches want to have to happen. I'm not saying he can't, but he doesn't need all that pressure. Brett has struggled when he has tried to do too much with questionable talent, and I fear that history might repeat itself.

As I see it, just like Koren Robinson knew the rules of the game and gambled thinking they didn't or wouldn't apply to him, so did the Packers organization when it signed him. Instead of one person being hurt, now the fans will suffer because everyone is accountable and must know the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT.

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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