Sydney Speaks! The clock is ticking

Is Mike McCarthy getting a fair shake from the Packers?'s Harry Sydney explains why he feels that the coach has been placed under unusual pressure by the organization to win now.

So far we have spent a lot of time talking about the draft and what the Packers, led by Ted Thompson, should or shouldn't have done as it relates to the free agency period and the draft. I know he has his reasons. Thompson feels he is doing what is best for the Green Bay Packers for the long run. I have my opinion, and many of you share my feelings. I say this because of the letters I have received.

With that being said, I must acknowledge that I have received a few letters suggesting that Ted Thompson made the right moves, but there were only a few. With all that has happened in the last couple of years the guy that just might be pulling his hair out is Mike McCarthy. Here's why!!!!!

Mike McCarthy I believe is a good young coach that was so excited about the possibility of becoming a head coach in the NFL that he allowed himself to be put in a time crunch. Most coaches that sign contracts to become head coaches in the NFL usually get five-year deals because it usually takes that long to turn things around and put things in place just the way you want them, but Mike doesn't have that luxury.

When Mike McCarthy was hired I thought it was unusual for him to only get a three-year deal. The way I see it if Mike McCarthy was Ted Thompson's guy why wouldn't he have given him a five-year deal and eliminate what could become a problem if Ted's plan doesn't work?

What usually happens in a five-year time span is in the first year the coach looks at who his players are and evaluates everything to see if it's the system or the players, then make the necessary adjustments. In the second year they change things like workout routines, minicamps, and put their stamp on the operation. At the same time, they get rid of the players that don't fit into their plans. If you have noticed, Mike McCarthy did most of the things that you usually do the second year in the first year. Do you think he might feel some of the pressure?

Also, during this time most organizations don't expect a lot of wins, but they are happy if they get them. Then in the third year wins are expected because by then they should start to have everything in place. By the fourth year expectations are usually playoffs, and as the fifth year starts, most believe that's the year when they talk about getting to the Super Bowl. That's why you often hear organizations talk about the five-year plan. Most coaches base their contract on getting time to build, but not in this case. I'm not sure why.

Let's take a look at what Mike McCarthy has faced and will face in such a short time. He inherited a team from Mike Sherman that didn't do a good job with the draft so the foundation was built on quicksand. Not only that but he is an offensive-minded head coach that his general manager Ted Thompson has helped. It's like Mike McCarthy has been his own worst enemy because he believes so strongly in his ability to turn water in to wine that it's as if Ted has said, ‘OK, then do it.' Not only has he said do it but he appears to have said do it with out any real help.

It seems as if Ted is expecting Mike McCarthy to be a miracle worker and help Brett Favre do something he has never done, and that's play mistake-free because that's what he is going to have to do if this offense is going to put any points on the board. As of this time the Packers have no running game. I don't care how well the offensive line blocked last year, the Packers have no legit running back and only one wide receiver, and a bunch of questions at tight end. They are going to have to score by committee. So the defense is being built, but for who? Mike McCarthy has his back to the wall.

Remember that one year is already gone from McCarthy's three-year deal. Last year the team finished with a four-game winning streak which probably did more damage than good because I believe Ted Thompson thought this team is better than it really is.

Now, as we look at this year's schedule, how many games or losses before the questions start coming? The Packers face the Eagles, Giants, Chargers, Vikings, Bears, Redskins, Broncos and Chiefs in their first eight games and how many can Mike McCarthy afford to lose? And if he does get behind the eight ball with this offense with the lack of weapons, how will he get out from behind it? How long will Mike McCarthy be able to talk the coach talk when his general manager isn't bringing in the people to help him be what he wants to be, and that's an offensive guru.

I know Ted Thompson is building for the future, but if Mike McCarthy doesn't get it done next year I'm wondering if he is going to be part of the future. At what point does Mike McCarthy, if the season doesn't go well, become a lame duck coach not sure of his future. As I see it, unfortunately for Mike McCarthy, the CLOCK IS TICKING.

Harry Sydney

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

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