Sydney Speaks! Any coach is on the hot seat

In the NFL, no job is safe for players, and coaches as well.'s Harry Sydney assesses the Green Bay Packers assistant coaches and speculates on who might get the boot by Mike McCarthy.

With the football season over and all of the football fans taking a breath after being so close to doing something that not many thought would happen, which was making the playoffs. With that phase over, it's time to look at the strengths and weaknesses and decide what the Packers really need to get better, or get over the hump.

Let's take a look what might be next:

With "JAGS," the offensive coordinator, leaving for Boston College, Mike McCarthy must decide what direction he is going to go when it comes to hiring his replacement, and he faces a interesting decision. First, he must decide what type of guy he wants in that role. Does he want someone to challenge him, or someone just happy to be a coordinator? Does he hire from within? My problem with that is who on the staff has the knowledge to understand the passing game as well as the zone blocking scheme? Unfortunately, I don't see that guy on the staff.

I know the word is that Joe Philbin has the inside track, but won't his hands be full replacing Jags as the zone blocking GURU? I know that even though Mike runs the offense, especially the passing game, he will need someone he can trust to oversee everything else because that's what offensive coordinators do. So it will be very interesting to see who gets that title because it will say a lot about what he thinks the needs of the offense will be.

On the defensive side of the ball is where things are going to get interesting. One of the burning questions that will be answered is: Has Bob Sanders done enough to keep his job? I understand that the season is very long and sometimes it's not a sprint, it's a marathon, and it's not how you start, but how you finish. I know I was calling for Sanders' head at the beginning and middle of the season because I didn't feel he was using his players correctly. I felt that he underestimated the ability of Al Harris and Charles Woodson as cover corners and didn't make the necessary adjustments when it came to a consistent pass rush.

Early in the year he put all the pressure on the front four to get the pass rush on the opposing quarterbacks. Even though Aaron Kampman had an excellent year, he was the only guy making it happen on a regular basis because Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila disappeared. It wasn't happening and the defense suffered. Just like he didn't understand how to use the corners he didn't seem to understand the ability of the linebackers to make things happen. A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga had an uncanny feel of how to get to the quarterback and they weren't used nearly enough on the blitz.

The other thing that I would like to know is whose idea was it to move Cullen Jenkins as the run-stopping end and take Kabeer out? The coach that figured that out should be the defensive coordinator because that's knowing the ability of the players and having a feel of the game.

The only other issue I have with the coaching personnel is what are they going to do with Kurt Schottenheimer and the problems that they had for most of the year? Anyway you want to dice it, slice it, or cut it up, the lack of communication in this area was pitiful. It was embarrassing and something needs to be done about it. It was obvious for all of us that watched the play of the secondary that the safety position was awful and hurt the team drastically. They had to wear arm bands to figure out who to cover and they still couldn't get it right most of the time. Does that fall on Kurt Schottenheimer or Bob Sanders, or both?

I know that Mike McCarthy is in a tough spot because of the defense getting better especially at the end of the season. How can he justify firing Bob Sanders because of the improvement of the defense? You really don't want another coordinator here to change things up again. That would be five defensive coordinators in five years. No one wants that, especially the players. They just want to be used to the best of their ability. Which brings me back to Kurt Schottenheimer. I believe he must go because it's apparent that under his guidance things didn't get done the way they should have. It's all about being accountable. The players have to be and so do the coaches.

Since I am talking about all coaches, it's time to talk about the special teams as well. For the most part, the return teams didn't help this team at all. I like Mike Stock personally, but that has nothing to do with what I see on the field, and that is basically nothing.

I don't know or care about numbers, I care about results and they stunk!!!!!!! So many times I saw the returners going east and west instead of north and south, which drove me crazy. And if I wasn't seeing that I was watching them try to hold up the opposing gunners with only one guy, which doesn't work anymore if you want a good return. The kickoff return teams were average at best.

When you are dealing with defensive or offensive coordinators, a change hurts the team, but a special teams coach can be replaced without a lot of drama.

In upcoming articles on, I will talk about the players and who should go or stay, and why. Of course, we will have the Brett Favre updates and my thoughts on that as well. Or what I think Ted Thompson should be doing or not, but right now let's deal with ANY COACH ON THE HOTSEAT.

Harry Sydney

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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