Sydney Speaks! Let's be careful

Harry Sydney was on Mike Holmgren's staff when he was with the Packers in the mid-1990s. Sydney offers unique insight on how Holmgren and the Seahawks might approach Saturday's playoff game, and the keys to success for the Packers.

Finally, the pairings are set and the Packers are facing their mirror image in the Seattle Seahawks. I'm not sure that's a good thing but then again it is what it is.

At first I thought this was a good matchup because with Seattle there is not one guy you have to stop. This team is different than teams like Dallas or the New York Giants because with them you can say you have to watch out for Tony Romo or Terrell Owens, or be careful of the New York Giants pass rush. They each have something that make them special and, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying what's happening in Seattle isn't special, but all year they have flown under the radar. Now here they are coming into Lambeau again. Hopefully the results will be the same as the last time they met when Matt Hasselbeck put his foot in his mouth and Al Harris became the hero in overtime when he picked off the pass to end the game.

This is a new year and a new time. Hopefully the players will understand it and seize the moment, but let's not for any reason think it's going to be easy because it's not going to be at all easy. As a matter of fact, it's going to take everything the Packers players and coaches have, so let me explain because it's all about the matchups, so let's start with coaches!!!

Everything that McCarthy is Mike Holmgren has been and still is. Where Mike McCarthy is trying to take this team Mike Holmgren has been and helped write the book. Mike McCarthy is very good at game-time adjustments, but when Mike Holmgren is in a groove he is the best, and his staff is pretty good as well.

The other problem with the coaching matchup is that Mike Holmgren isn't scared to put the ball in the air all game long. If he senses that the Packers are having trouble putting pressure on Hasselbeck he will pick the defense apart, and we could see the WEST COAST OFFENSE at its best. Trust me, nobody wants to see that. Especially Mike McCarthy because if he does he has to make sure that Brett Favre stays within the offense because he is a competitor and nobody wants to be outdone by their understudy and that stuff happens.

Mike McCarthy probably is feeling a little more pressure because he is facing the coach that put the Packers back on the map. Regardless of his success, all McCarthy has to do his get in is car and drive around the corner and stare at Holmgren Way, the street named after Mike Holmgren following the Super Bowls to understand just how good of a coach he will face, and he is that good.

I know this game will be about the players, but I will be very interested to see how Mike McCarthy handles his biggest test up to date because he will have to be on his toes all game long and, for that matter, all week long. Not only will his players have to be at their best, but this could be the biggest game of his short head coaching career.

For the players, this game to me is a little different because normally it's about controlling the line of scrimmage, but not this one. I don't see any threats on either side. Don't get me wrong, Aaron Kampman will play hard, just like Patrick Kerney will play hard for the Seahawks, but they will be neutralized by formations and different blocking schemes, so neither one, I believe, will affect the out come of the game. This game will be about which playmaker is going to make a play, or who is going to make the most plays.

Who will it be? Will it be the "Fab Five" as they like to call themselves - Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin and Koren Robinson - that take over the game? Or will it be D.J. Hackett, Deion Branch, Bobby Engram or Marcus Pollard that take advantage of Hasselbeck's ability to run the West Coast Offense to perfection? Then again, will it be the secondary of Seattle Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Deon Grant or Brian Russell that change the game? Or will either Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Atari Bigby or Al Harris save the day?

I'm not sure at this time who will win this game because it is too close to call, but I do know this: The Packers can't be too caught up in looking for a rematch with Dallas because the Seahawks might just be good enough to come into Lambeau Field and steal this one, so LET'S BE CAREFUL.

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

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