Sydney Speaks! Change the perception

Which starters should the Green Bay Packers rest on offense and defense Sunday against the Detroit Lions?'s Harry Sydney offers his opinion.

This is the last game of the season with not much at stake except momentum for the Packers. Sometimes people overlook this very element when it comes to winning and losing. Often we think it's just good coaching and great players making great plays, but there are times when the ball just seems to be bouncing the right way.

Mike McCarthy is probably hoping that he isn't faced with the decision of when to sit down players, especially if for some crazy reason the Lions come to play. Mike McCarthy hopes that it's a blowout, so he can sit some of his players down right away. Let's see who should sit:

Once things are decided, of course, Brett should sit down. For that matter, I don't understand why Brett wasn't taken out when the score was 35-7 last week because there wasn't any miracle comebacks happening in that game.

Besides Favre, the only other one that has earned the right to have time off is Donald Driver.

Hopefully Mike McCarthy will go into the game with the mindset to work on certain aspects of the game such as the screen pass because this once powerful weapon has turned into a wasted play. They can use this game as a tune-up just like a preseason game and work on a series of things, especially in the first half. Not only can they work on the screen, but the draw as well because that's another part of the arsenal that has disappeared, and that's a play that Vernand Morency runs very well.

The other players that I would only consider resting would be the two tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

The list might even be smaller because they haven't lived up to nearly any expectation that I had for them, or for themselves. Don't get me wrong, they have played good in spots, but none of those spots have been lately. Sure there has been some good efforts, like the effort of Aaron Kampman, but effort doesn't just get it done alone, does it?

On this side of the ball I don't think anyone deserves to sit down, but then again the decision to sit down partly will be based on injury. Beside that McCarthy might sit Charles Woodson based on how he's feeling because we all should realize that as bad as the defense has played he could use the rest. I'm not adding Ryan Pickett to that list because he has already been hurt so I wouldn't expect to see him on the field, except in street clothes.

After these players I don't think anyone should take time off because they haven't earned it. Trust me, there were others that I thought about resting, well, until last week when the Bears punched them in the face and they didn't respond.

I thought that A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett perhaps had earned the right to sit, but that was until I saw the Bears shove the run down their throats, If you noticed, the linebackers had trouble getting off blocks, so they could use the extra work. Of course, that will depend on what the Lions' game plan will be. If the Lions come in just trying to get the season over with then take them out because it then it would only take a quarter for them to get their fits when it comes to filling the holes on run defense, which is the work they need.

At one time I even thought of resting Al Harris, but then after he got schooled the last two weeks it appears even though he was elected to the Pro Bowl he has a lot of work to do because the other teams don't seem to fear him.

Like the offense, the defense could us this time to work on things as well, such as putting a different blitz package together because it might need that if they have to face the Seahawks in the first playoff game. I believe they need to really work on that because they will need help with the pass rush. To advance in the playoffs, they are going to have to put pressure on the quarterback and be sure tacklers behind the blitz. The more the practice the better they become. Again, this game could be perfect for this because of how the Lions want to throw the ball.

Another thing that really could be worked on would be to have the Packers endure the weather better because the world saw this team not want to play in the cold, which is a dangerous thing for the Packers because that was the edge they had. The football world used to think that the Packers thrived in bad weather games and that in January no one wanted to come play in Green Bay, so the Packers had an edge going into the game and that sometimes was worth 3 to 7 points, but now it seems that they were exposed.

Mike McCarthy might just use this game to come out and attack and play smash-mouth football because after last week and how his team played in the cold he has to do everything to CHANGE THE PERCEPTION of this team!!!!!!

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

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