Sydney Speaks! It's not just the scheme!

Green Bay's defense should be among the best in the NFL and special teams should be improved this season, but the offense is still missing a key ingredient, says's Harry Sydney.

In three preseason games we have seen the directions and growth of this team, especially in certain areas which are directly impacted by Ted Thompson's plan. I do like much of what he has done on the defensive side of the ball because if you read my stuff you know what I think about the defense and its play-makers.

This defense could and should be one of the best defenses in the National Football League, not just the NFC. I say that because there really isn't a weak area. I know that they still have some work to do, but I believe they have the personnel to get it done, of course, providing there are no key injuries (knock on wood).

The Packers have proven players on defense, they have players that for the most part have played in the league, and the expectations are real. They have been tested and you know what they can do. There isn't a lot wondering or questioning, trying to determine if they might be able to do this or that with coaching, and in the right scheme. You can trust that Aaron Kampman, A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Al Harris, Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett and even Cullen Jenkins, because he is trying to make me a believer, would be players in any scheme. You have enough of these guys on defense to carry the load and help this team win, or at least I hope so, but the defense can't do it alone. Special teams and offense has to do their share to win, but can they?

I think special teams will be better, but then again it's not just the return guys that make the difference, it's the guys blocking and they have to be better. Up to this point Will Blackmon should be the returner and since kickers are counted as the special teams I don't think that the Packers can go wrong with either Mason Crosby or Dave Rayner. Again, the Packers appear to have two kickers that can get it done because they are just good enough. Some gimmick isn't going to make them better they stand on their ability to kick. If you know me or listen to my radio show in Green Bay you would really understand how I feel about kickers.

Also, the special teams is where you find out about who has the desire. This is where you learn who is willing to run into that wall and take no prisoner stuff. Trust me, that doesn't take long. This is where it's more about heart than talent, but a good scheme doesn't hurt. I'm looking for better production from this unit because it appears to have the athletes and they can't be as bad as last year, I hope.

The defense and special teams will be better because they have the talent to be, but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Let me explain:

On offense the Packers have Brett Favre who will do everything possible to help this team win, but he can't carry this team on his back anymore. Those days are over. He's not great anymore, but he's still pretty good. He will be throwing to a group of receivers that so far in training camp have held their own. Donald Driver is what he is, and that's an outstanding playmaker that hopefully won't be sidelined by his injury too long. James Jones seems to be the real deal, thus far, and has been impressive because of his route running ability. So far he seems to have the ability to make the big play. Who knows, he might even take the number two job from Greg Jennings. As for the offensive line we all know they are a bunch of better than average athletes who are hoping the scheme will make them better. I understand what they are trying to do with their running game, but unfortunately, they forgot on important element. Any guesses?????

Ted Thompson forgot the most important thing in the running game and that's a running back. This back by committee only works when you have good backs. Brandon Jackson is an average back at best and Vernand Morency is the same guy. We keep hearing that because this is the second year of the zone blocking scheme the running game should improve, and I say why?

Brandon Jackson is in over his head and there appears to be no help on the way. It blows my mind that no one sees it. OK, I will give Ted Thompson the benefit of the doubt and believe he has his eyes on another running back. He has to make it happen because I want to hope he hasn't fallen and become another victim because please understand IT'S NOT JUST THE SCHEME!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

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

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