Sydney Speaks! Don't believe the hype

The Packers in the playoffs? Are you nuts? Don't even think about it, says's Harry Sydney. The former Packers fullback and assistant coach explains why:

Two straight wins and everyone is letting their imagination go wild. The Packer world is starting to talk about the possibility of playoffs with some crazy idea that because this team is still in the hunt mathematically it will, or might, get there. My thoughts are simply: Is everyone losing their mind? And here's why I ask that!!!!!!

In the past two weeks the Packers have beaten the San Francisco 49ers with ease and Sunday they played a SORRY Lions team that had only one offensive weapon in Roy Williams, who never was a factor. The Lions are a team that full of backups and the defense had a field day.

If I am not mistaken, everyone on the defensive line had a sack or was close to getting one. In the last two games Cullen Jenkins might of had the best games of any defensive linemen that I could remember since Reggie White played the game. Before half Jenkins had three sacks and he recovered a fumble when the Lions tried to go for it on fourth and short when Jon Kitna fumbled.

Then we saw Charles Woodson deliver a big blow when on third and short he stopped the running back from getting a first down. I was so surprised to see Woodson drop his shoulder and attack Arlen Harris as he caught the ball out the backfield. Last week I wrote in an article about Woodson being just a shutdown corner, but I owe him an apology because after that hit he earned more of my respect. He isn't just a cover corner anymore.

Since I am on cover corners, hat's off to Al Harris. He put a blanket all over Roy Williams and shut him down, except for a catch that didn't affect anything in the game. Not only that, but he got another interception. He seems to be doing something he didn't do last year and that's find the ball and get the pick.

But then again it's easy to cover receivers all over the field when there is no threat of any form of running game, and the leading rusher is the quarterback. No wonder the defense played so good. This was one of those stat games where everyone is playing to get some of their incentives met. All of the linebackers played very well. Brady Poppinga made an excellent play down the field, knocking the ball away from the tight end. Nick Barnett showed his speed as he made some nice tackles as the Lions tried to attack the linebackers on crossing routes with running backs or tight ends.

Also, it was great to see what appeared to be no mental breakdowns in the defensive secondary. Defensively this team looks to have improved, or at least we think this way, because of the two victories and the way the defense has played against offenses that are awful. That's saying it nicely. But between you and me, they have some bright spots and they are improving, but please remember they beat the Detroit Lions who are fighting for the worst team in the league this year with the Oakland Raiders. Not a bunch of bragging rights as I see it. Since I'm talking about bragging rights, let's go to the other side of the ball.

On a whole the offense really sucked for the most part. To be 1 for 5 in the red zone against the Lions is flat out ridiculous and embarrassing. But yet some of you think this team might get to the playoffs, right? Also, hat's off to Brett Favre for setting the all-time completion record while getting this ugly win and I will get to Brett more a little later in the column.

Like always we have to start with the offensive line that looked like rookies half the time. I know they had to make some adjustments when Chad Clifton had a "stinger" by moving Daryn Colledge to tackle and putting Junius Coston in the game. But in the end, Clifton returned and the offensive line allowed Vernand Morency and Ahman Green to take advantage of their different running styles. Vernand, who is more of a cutback runner, showed his ability to read blocks as he scored on two rushing touchdowns while Ahman showed he could still run with amazing power as he kept is legs moving getting more yards after contact by the defenders.

Then you had Donald Driver making nice runs after the catch.

But with all good there is enough bad to go around and that starts with the tight ends. I don't know what has happened to their ability to consistently catch the ball and that's for all of them. It's like they take turns dropping the ball each game. One week it's Bubba Franks, and against the Lions it was Donald Lee and David Martin. Martin dropped a sure touchdown. He had to knock it down not to catch it.

BRETT FAVRE Trust me there were way too many drops, but as I say that I also saw a quarterback that was throwing fastballs when he didn't need to, like the ball that he threw to Ahman Green that got intercepted by Dre' Bly. But we can't stop there. Brett threw another bad ball when linebacker Paris Lenon intercepted a very bad throw in the red zone. But Brett wasn't finished because I can't forget the one that Ahman Green tried to knock down when the ball was over his head.

Favre threw three interceptions against the Detroit Lions when actually he should have had more. The Lions' only hope of winning would have been if the Packers gave them gifts, and Brett Favre did his best to play Santa Claus. I know we can't read faces, but when Brett Favre threw the interception in the red zone and came to the sideline, Mike McCarthy looked like he was fit to be tied. After that all Brett threw were slants or deep ins, throws with low interception rates. I believe McCarthy took the ball out of Favre's hands and I don't blame him because it's obvious that Brett Favre, as great is he is, hasn't figured out he can't keep hurting this team and expect them to win, even though they won in spite of how much he hurt their chance of winning the game.

And let's not fool ourselves, the win over the Lions at home doesn't establish anything in the way of sending any messages to anyone that they have that home field swagger back. I know a win is a win and you take them any way you can, but let's please not celebrate anything other than this team has two more wins than last year. Let's not talk playoffs. Save that emotion because even with this win, let's NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE.

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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