Sydney Speaks! On the same page

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have combined to form a Packers team that has turned into one of the best in the NFL. Packer Report's Harry Sydney explains the importance of chemistry between the general manager, coach and assistant coaches.

It was great seeing Ted Thompson get the George Young NFL executive of the year award, but what does that really mean, and did he really do it by himself? Don't get me wrong because even though he hasn't done some things that I believe would have made this team better, he still has done an outstanding job.

Ted Thompson as shown that he is loyal to his philosophy, regardless of whether or not the outside world approves or not, which was evident during that Randy Moss ordeal. Fortunately the only thing that matters is that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy continue to communicate the way they have been and here's what I mean:

As much as it is about Ted, it's about Mike as well. Ted might go get the guys, but he has to know what type of guys Mike wants and needs. I remember when I was the running backs coach and I had to explain to him exactly what I was looking for in a player. I watched film after film as I searched for William Henderson, and even before I found him, Ron Wolf and Ted had to understand my thought process and the role I needed to fill with the running backs. They had to understand what I needed, otherwise they would have filled it with someone that tested well on scores or on a test, but couldn't knock the linebacker out the hole.

I also remember conversation after conversation at the receiver position because Mike Holmgren knew exactly what type of receivers fit the West Coast Offense. He had to run very good routes, which meant he had to have great body control and be able to read and understand coverage because so many of the pass patterns required the receiver to understand what the quarterback was seeing.

Trust me, it was easier said than done because Ron and Ted were from the school of how could you not like a receiver that could run a 4.2 in the 40. One of the greatest things about coaching with the Packers during the beginning stages was the education that took place between Mike Holmgren and the coaching staff, and Ron Wolf and his scouts. Together everyone got on the same page and made it about winning.

As I look at what's happening now I see a similar situation because all the awards that Mike McCarthy or Ted Thompson get belong to each other. Their success is because they understand each other and they have to if they plan to stay successful. When Ted Thompson goes and gets that guy - whoever it is - Mike McCarthy has to know why because it's up to him to have a place for him or if he can picture a place for him. Otherwise it's a waste and that guy becomes a bust.

Ted received a well-deserved award earlier this week as NFL executive of the year and was that because of the players he drafted, signed or rewarded? Or was it because of how Mike McCarthy got them to play? As I look at it what the Packers have in Green Bay is very special and it happened very quickly. In Ted Thompson they have a general manager and director of football operations that has a purpose and his purpose is to give Mike McCarthy the tools necessary to compete at the highest level and he has done that. In Mike McCarthy he has taken what Ted has given him and gone from an 8-8 team to a 13-3 team.

Things like that are not an accident. Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have formed a relationship that just might rival the Holmgren and Wolf combination, especially if they can win a Super Bowl during their time together. Mike McCarthy's coaching style and philosophy, if you ask the players, defines what someone might call a ‘players' coach' and that's someone that respects his players enough to put them in position to be successful and win. Ted Thompson's style seems to be that of trusting that his scouts know exactly what the coaches need and his job is to go get what they need, and he has.

Under Ted, the Packers have built a strong team through the draft and free agency, and they have re-signed their own people like Aaron Kampman, Donald Driver, Nick Barnett and Al Harris, and they still have plenty of money and draft picks to improve the team that much more.

This team's future is in such good hands. This team just lost one of the greatest players to ever play the game in Brett Favre and I really don't expect this team to have any dropoff whatsoever because Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are ON THE SAME PAGE.

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

Packer Report Top Stories