Sydney Speaks! A long way to go

The Green Bay Packers entered this off-season with holes to fill in their roster, but have they adequately filled them?'s Harry Sydney provides his assessment of the situation.

As I sat down and reflected as to what my expectations are for this team after last year's 8-8 finish, I wondered to myself if they have done the things they should have to get to the next level. I really do believe I have a handle on how Ted Thompson thinks. I don't know whether it's good or bad, but I guess that depends on how you are looking at it.

Here lies the problem: I do understand the need for an organization or team to build a solid foundation because as much as everyone wants to win now it's Ted's responsibility to not allow this team to become what San Francisco or Dallas became years back. He has done a great job with the assistance of Andrew Brandt in making sure that financially the Green Bay Packers aren't behind the eight ball and have dollars to spend on talent that would help this team get to the next level for now and the future. Of course, whether Ted decides to spend it or not is another story.

After last season as I looked at this team and its needs. I believe back then I didn't think they were that far away, but then again things happened, didn't they? There aren't that many teams that get better by subtraction without addition. They can't lose quality, proven players on offense like an Ahman Green or a William Henderson and replace them with young, unproven players and actually expect this team to win or be a better team.

Yes, the Packers can compete but the National Football League isn't about moral victories, it's about winning and losing and it takes good players to win. If you don't have them, winning becomes very hard.

So as of now, the things that the Packers needed to really improve hasn't happened.

Let's look at what they needed and what has happened to fill those needs:

They needed another receiver to go along with Donald Driver besides Greg Jennings and a bunch of potential. They filled that void by drafting two reaches in David Clowney and James Jones that aren't any better than the receivers currently on the roster. So no improvement there.

Another area of concern was the tight end position. Again, nothing happened there except they lost David Martin, who believe it or not, probably was their most athletic tight end.

Then there is the safety position. Everyone knows that Marquand Manuel needs to be replaced so they drafted another project in Aaron Rouse who is big, strong and is supposed to be a hitter and he better. But his coverage skills are more suspect than the guy he's trying to replace.

Now to the position that, because of the departure of Ahman Green, just might have been the most important of the draft picks for the future for the Packers, and they went out and got Brandon Jackson from Nebraska. For the next couple of years it will be so important to have a running back that they can count on. Brett eventually will retire and no one can expect his replacement to do what he did because in his prime he was something very special. It has been stated over and over that Ted is building a defensive-minded team which means a strong defense, but a solid running game to help this team survive the ‘After Brett Years,' so I do understand this pick. I just don't like the guy they picked. He didn't even start at Nebraska and he' not better than the guy there now. I'm really not a Vernand Morency fan, either, but he's better than Jackson, which makes it worse.

How can you draft a second round pick just so he's part of the running backs by committee? Please, someone tell me they don't get it either!

So after last season we know that the Packers needed to fill some voids at different positions, so let's see how they did. They needed a safety and they drafted a big project. They needed a receiver and they got a guy with no speed, and a guy that struggles catching the ball. They needed a tight end that could stretch the field and lost their most athletic one, and they needed a legit running back and drafted a backup. As I say this I know that Mike McCarthy believes in his ability to coach and he is a very good coach, but, unfortunately, this team has A LONG WAY TO GO.

Harry Sydney

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

Packer Report Top Stories