Sydney Speaks! Enough blame to go around's Harry Sydney provides his usual straight-forward analysis of the Packers' coaching, offense, defense and special teams in the wake of their NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants. If you're looking for sugar, there isn't any in this column!

First, let me say that the Packers got further than anyone would have expected and after the pain of what we saw wears off, we all will realized just what this team accomplished and be proud of the Packers. But that's after we deal with what happened against the New York Giants. The Giants walked into the "Frozen Tundra" as the underdogs and walked away taking the heart of the Packers with them. The Packers blew it and it wasn't just the players, this was a team loss, so let me explain!!!!

How in the *#*^ do you only run the ball six times in the second half when you are in a close game? This game so reminded me of the Super Bowl loss to Denver when Holmgren stopped running the ball.

Last week I wrote about the trust that McCarthy showed with his players when he stuck with Ryan Grant after the two fumbles, and this week I am asking myself what happened to that trust? Grant ran for 201 yards, setting a playoff record but against the Giants he was an afterthought, even though Brett wasn't sharp for most of the game and Mike McCarthy didn't seem to realize it.

All year I have given Mike McCarthy serious credit for making game day adjustments, but in this big game he didn't show up. Remember, I am talking about this game, the NFC Championship Game. The Packers were supposed to win it and they didn't. This team was supposed to be talking about making Super Bowl plans. Instead, it is packing to go home.

The Giants coaching staff decided to take Ryan Grant out of the game and make Brett Favre beat them and he couldn't. They held the Packers to 1 of 10 on third down conversions, which is absolutely ridiculous. I thought Mike McCarthy got a little too cute with his play calling.

On the defensive side of the ball I think the staff put the players in position to make plays but they just didn't make them. They sent the linebackers and secondary, but they just didn't get home.

The sad thing is the Packers had opportunity after opportunity and just let it slip through their fingers. To me that has a lot to do with bad coaching. Then again, the players needed to respond and they didn't.

I thought the offensive line did an outstanding job with pass protection. I think they gave Brett all day to throw and I think they blocked pretty good on run downs. I felt that Ryan Grant ran very timid. I felt like he was running like he didn't want to fumble. He never exploded through tacklers nor delivered any blows compared to what we saw from Brandon Jacobs of the Giants.

Except for the 90-yard touchdown catch and run by Donald Driver, the offense I felt did nothing and that started with Brett Favre. The old Brett came back at the worst time. Everyone was happy that Mark Tauscher recovered the fumble by R.W. McQuarters after his interception on a stupid throw by Brett. But that interception was a bad throw rolling to his left throwing back across his body, and he knows better than that.

This offense clicked all year when Brett was patient and let other players make plays, and in the biggest game of the year he wasn't patient. Not only that but this receiver corp, led the league in yards after the catch. Against the Giants, however, they didn't break any tackles. The Giants made them work for everything they got on offense and couldn't do anything on their own.

The offense had too many three and outs. I guess they read too much that the Giants' secondary was weak and they weren't ready for what they had to encounter. Then after all of that they still had an opportunity in overtime, and what happened? Brett Favre did what everyone expected Eli Manning to do, and that was make the bad throw and cost the team the victory, which it did!!!!

I never thought that I would see Al Harris get abused the way he did by Plaxico Burress. What I saw was a defensive back that usually bullies people get punked by someone that didn't back down. Burress had the game of his career against Al Harris and Al couldn't do a thing about it.

This defense allowed Eli Manning to arrive, and he picked the Packers apart. When they blitzed they didn't get home, and even though it has been a problem all year it really showed up in this game. This defense is filled with playmakers, but on the next-to-biggest stage in the NFL, none of the playmakers showed up. Neither Charles Woodson, Al Harris, Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett or A.J. Hawk showed up, and, unfortunately, tomorrow is next year if they are that lucky.

I believe special teams helped more than hurt the Packers. But there were mistakes made there as well, like when Jarrett Bush had the opportunity to be a hero, but turned into a goat trying to make the great play instead of just making the play by just falling on the ball.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is a team game and the whole team lost, so when it comes to blame there IS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND!!!!!!

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

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