Sydney Speaks! Reality check

PackerReport.com's Harry Sydney offers his analysis of Green Bay's offense, defense and special teams after the Packers' loss to the Chicago Bears.

Sunday night football and the world was watching as the Green Bay Packers faced the Chicago Bears. Both organizations seemed to be going in the opposite directions, and what happened? The world witnessed a team that wants to be on top of the division, not handle the pressure of getting on top. The Packers hopefully realized when you have a team on the ropes and they have one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel you take them out. You don't let them come back and bite you in the butt. The Packers lacked killer instinct and when they came face to face with their destiny they couldn't handle it. As always I will explain!!!!!

OFFENSIVELY
I liked the way they came out trying to establish the run, and boy did they ever. They had more success running the first quarter than they had at any time this season. DeShawn Wynn showed that he can run between the tackles and is a north-south runner with just enough wiggle to make people miss. The problem is I don't know if the coaches can count on him yet because, as an observer, I don't. I was wondering where he disappeared to then I saw him on the exercise bike and they reported he had cramps and needed an IV. I thought to myself that he doesn't know how to seize the moment. Then I realized that neither did a lot of his teammates because during the whole game the offense was letting the Bears hang around and that included the coaches as well.

Not many teams win the game when they lose the turnover battle, and that was the contributing factor in the loss. Think about not only the points it cost the Packers but because the Packers didn't score it allowed the Bears to stick with their game plan and that was not to put Griese in bad situations and just run the ball.

At the beginning of the season it was supposed to be about the defense but because of Brett's success it has been about the offense. While the offense has been winning games, against the Bears, they lost it, especially when they were out of rhythm. I know it sounds crazy, but I think the success they had early in the running game hurt Mike McCarthy's play-calling ability as the game progressed, especially after Brett threw that interception because at that moment he didn't seem to trust anything they were doing on offense, therefore, he seemed to call a very conservative game and the offense lost all momentum.

I think he was shocked when the old Brett made a guest appearance and it took him a while to regroup, which unfortunately you can't blink when you are playing against a team whose back is against the wall and I'm willing to bet the Bears sensed that the Packers started to have doubt in themselves and that's when things changed.

On this side of the ball there were some good efforts individually. Except for the crucial interception Brett had a very respectable game 40/29 for 322 yards isn't anything to sneeze at, but the interception is what defined that night. Just like as good as James Jones has been playing the two fumbles tell the story.

It was nice to see Vernand Morency make a contribution because when it is all said and done he is their best running back, especially in the single-back sets. At the beginning of the season we talked about this season being about the defense and the keys to victory being the offense not hurting the team. Against the Bears, the offense put the defense in way to many holes!!

DEFENSIVELY
This side of the ball played a very physical game and except for a few mental breakdowns held its own and battled in spite of the offense. I think the defensive line held the point of attack for the most part, especially considering how many mistakes they had to overcome. Al Harris and Charles Woodson can't afford to keep making stupid penalties. They are too good and they don't need to keep hurting the team, just like that penalty by Nick Barnett for grabbing the facemask was ridiculous. He has to be better than that.

As I see it there hasn't been many blown coverages which is a big improvement from last year, but it did happen at a crucial time allowing for Peterson to have a 30-yard reception.

The defensive line seems to have been playing better of late. I think Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and Kabeer are starting to get in stride but Cullen Jenkins hasn't really shown up yet. I thought that A.J. Hawk played better and showed that physical side that we have been waiting to see, but I think Brady Poppinga seems to be becoming a liability and seems to lose the ball just like on Benson's touchdown he ran right by Poppinga as he lost the ball.

Even though a loss is a loss I believe Atari Bigby is playing at a very high level. Even on the touchdown grab by Greg Olsen, Bigby had excellent coverage it was just an outstanding catch on his part.

The biggest problem I have with the defensive staff is that they have played way too conservatively, and they seem to not want to believe in their own players. Yet they trusted that the defense would hold up or only give up a field goal because they kept kicking short kickoffs, putting the defense in a bind. Talk about sending mixed messages.

SPECIAL TEAMS
How many times did Devin Hester touch the ball and not hurt the Packers? Talk about playing with fire.

This team is 4-1 still sitting in its own driver's seat. The Packers know they still haven't even come close to playing their best football on either side of the ball. It's not time to panic by any means, but it is time to take a real good look at what works and what doesn't and at whom the playmakers are and, as coaches, let them make plays. Because the other effect of the Bears loss is that now it's time for the Green Bay Packers to have a REALITY CHECK.

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


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