Sydney Speaks! Things to be thankful for

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney lists the individuals and areas of the Green Bay Packers that fans should be thankful for thus far this season:

I hope everyone of you had a Happy Thanksgiving and took time to sit back and count all of your blessings. As I look at this season there have been many highs and actually not as many lows as one might expect with a first-year coach and two unproven coordinators.

At this time of the year we must look at where this team is at, but at the same time we must see where it has come from as well as where it is going, so let's see:

We must be thankful for the fact that this team has gotten better because of the direction it is going, and that does relate to leadership. Whether you are on board with Mike McCarthy or not, you do have to admit that Brett Favre has played better under his guidance. Brett has done something under Mike McCarthy that hasn't been done since he was under the watchful eye of Andy Reid. Brett has managed the games better under this staff then he ever did under Mike Sherman, and it's not a knock on Sherman, it's just a fact.

After throwing 29 interceptions last year, to see him playing the way he has for the most part this year has made many of us hoping that this won't be the last year we see Brett running through the tunnel at Lambeau Field. I don't know whether it is or isn't, but I will say that this change in Brett's play has to be attributed to the fact that Mike McCarthy is at the helm. So I'd have to say that's something to be thankful for.

As I think about other things to be thankful for I realize that this team has a solid foundation for the future with this young interior offensive line with Scott Wells, Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge and Tony Moll being building blocks that are getting on-the-job training. They are getting the best teaching, which is game experience, and that will allow them to grow together. I hope the Packer nation understands how rare it is to have this much youth getting playing time and doing a better-than-average job in the process.

Understand they are still a work in progress and that the upside to them his huge. If they can stay together and remain healthy this will be the building block that whoever is the quarterback of the future will have the opportunity to be productive.

Also, another thing to be thankful is the fact that Ahmad Carroll is no longer part of the Green Bay Packers, thank goodness. He was nothing but a project that looked good because he could run, and that's all. We all should be glad that Mike McCarthy or Ted Thompson had the stones to cut the ties with this individual that cared about nothing but himself. He wasn't willing to do the things necessary to make himself better which would have helped this team.

But one of the biggest things to be thankful about was the fact that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson stuck to their guns and didn't draft what everyone thought was a sure thing - Vernon Davis, the tight end that went to the 49ers because he was the as they say, ‘a sexy pick.' Instead they went and drafted the future in A.J. Hawk. This guy has surpassed any goal that anyone could have set for him in this, his rookie year. A.J. Hawk doesn't leave the field and has improved every game. He has excelled as a tackler and once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier he's going down. Early in the year he was a liability in pass coverage, but I can't say that anymore. And when it comes to blitzing he just has a feel of just how to get to the quarterback.

Usually the Pro Bowl is reserved for guys that have been in the league for several years, but if I had a vote, because he is that special, he'd be in Hawaii representing the National Football Conference and the Green Bay Packers.

There are other things to be thankful about as well even though they might be on a smaller scale, such as the fact that the move to go get Charles Woodson thus far hasn't blown up in the Packers' face because he hasn't missed a game yet this year. Maybe that clause in his contract that says every time he starts he gets around a $37,000 bonus might have something to do with it. Who knows? I don't, but I do know that so far he's been on the field and when he's on the field he seems to get the job done for the most part.

Also, we should be thankful that Aaron Kampman has pride in his game and the level of play. He won't lower his standards just because he got paid. So many times we see that professional athlete bust his butt to get the big payoff then once he gets it he disappears and just backs into the window to get his check, but not Aaron Kampman. His work ethic hasn't changed nor has his effort which isn't the case for many that have signed the big payday with the Green Bay Packers. All of you know that all I have to say is remember Cletidus Hunt or Joe Johnson. Talk about bringing back bad memories!

So as we sit back after a day of turkey and stuffing ourselves with our favorite Thanksgiving feast, if we are Packer fans we must realize there just might be THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR.

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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