Sydney Speaks! What does it all mean?'s Harry Sydney assesses the Packers and where they are at as a team as they enter their final regular season game Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

This has been a very interesting season to say the least. We have seen improvements in some areas of the team. Then again, we have seen some things remain the same. We have seen the Packers go from a 4-12 team last year to a 7-8 team at the moment, but aren't there still some unanswered questions? Here are some of the things I have been wondering:

Before I go to the players or coaches I have to start of with Ted Thompson. I hope because the Packers have an outside chance of making the playoffs he doesn't think this team is better than it really is. I say this because, unfortunately, I have to refer back to Mike Sherman because one of the mistakes that I thought he made was that he over-valued his players because they made it to the playoffs and had good regular season records. He didn't look at the competition and who the wins were against.

Just like right now. The Packers are 7-8 with a chance of getting in the playoff dance, but are they really that good, or are the teams they have played that bad? Up to this point they haven't beaten anyone with a winning record, so I don't want him to be fooled into thinking they aren't that far away because they are, and I don't want winning to hide that fact. Their seven wins came over the Lions twice, the Vikings twice, and the 49ers, Cardinals and Dolphins. Those victories don't do anything but point out just how bad the other teams have been this season.

I hope Ted realizes that there are some necessary upgrades that need to happen on this team before it can compete with anyone but the bottom feeders of the NFL. As the off-season arrives, I will get more into what those needs might be. But the Packers' record is better than what it was last year, so that points to improvement RIGHT?????

Now to the coaching. Mike McCarthy brought in Jags to run the zone blocking scheme but now he is leaving for an opportunity to be the head coach at Boston College, which is great for him but is it for the Packers? What is going to happen? If you have read my articles you know I'm not a fan of the blocking scheme because it hurts other aspects of the offense, like the true play-action passing game, which is a quarterback of the West Coast Offense's best friend.

With the zone blocking you have linebackers going side to side, and on true play-action they need to be going front to back. They need to be biting hard, trying to meet the fullback in the hole and, unfortunately, that has hurt them big time in the red zone where the tight end used to be a major factor. So, it's a major problem in short yardage, goal line and red zone.

Not only that but Mike McCarthy must decide on the defensive side of the ball if Bob Sanders is the answer. Is he the guy that he wants to run the defense? Have these wins against the Vikings and Lions been enough to erase all the other blunders that have happened on the defense all year? I know he has been spending more time in the defensive meetings, but as a head coach either you trust or you don't. As a head coach, if you have to change what you were doing to make sure everyone feels your presence in defensive meetings, then something is wrong with that picture. Then there is the element of who you played when the defense showed all the improvement. If I'm not mistaken, it was against the 49ers, whose quarterback Alex Smith was horrible. Then it was the Lions, who had no running game, which was obvious, because John Kitna was their leading rusher, and then the Vikings, who started a rookie quarterback. So we saw the defense get better, but the offense take a hit in the last two games - they were 1-8 in the red zone. I guess McCarthy can't be everywhere.

How can we talk about the players without talking about the Brett Favre saga as it is about to unfold? It's like some reality television show or something, but the problem is it affects people's lives - you the fan, and the Packers organization. As I watched the game last Thursday, every time they came back from some commercial it was "IS THIS BRETT'S LAST GAME AT LAMBEAU?" Trust me, I'm not a violent man anymore, but I wanted to shoot the TV! Enough already! The fact is the soap opera has to end sometime, and hopefully real soon.

As I look at it Brett is so close to Dan Marino's touchdown record that he would be a fool not to come back and get it. If you don't think he thinks about it, you don't understand an athlete and their egos. I'm not saying that's bad because who wouldn't want to hold a record that says you did something that no one else did or may never do again. If I was him I would come back get the record, but the only problem is how will that affect the Packers because even though many don't want to admit it he has seen his better days. Everyone wants to believe that he can do it forever, but the reality is he can't and hasn't for the last two years. Yes, he cut down on the interceptions, but is that because of him or are the defenders dropping them, or is it because like in the last two games Mike McCarthy has taken the ball out of his hands. At this time, Brett has 17 INTs and 17 TDs. Also, I ask myself is he really coachable after what I saw in the Lions game when, after an interception, he blew McCarthy off while walking to the sideline? I'm wondering what is in the best interest for the Packers for their future?

With all that said, the Packers are sniffing the playoffs. They have beaten some terrible teams. They have a better record than last year. They have been playing better defense against bad offenses, and they can't score in the red zone. Their rookies have played well and are getting a lot of experience. They lost the offensive coordinator after only one year. Their head coach gets disrespected by their Hall of Fame quarterback that won't listen, but the team's future is bright. Next year they will be seriously under the salary cap, but ask yourself like I'm asking myself WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?????

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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