Sydney Speaks! Time to relax

Lull before the draft storm for team's coaching staff and scouts

If there ever was a calm before a storm it's right now in the world of professional football. Not only for the football fan, but for a football coach as well. The coaches have roughly ten days to chill out before the NFL draft consumes their lives on a regular basis.

Lately the coaches and scouts have been working on the draft by watching film. They will watch a series of game films, then they will grade that certain player based on what they know about the scheme. I remember when I was scouting William Henderson and some of the things I recorded as I graded him.

What made me pay attention regarding William's play was the fact that he never stopped when he blocked someone in college. It was like he was always looking through the target and hit linebackers like he didn't care. I called it the no blink syndrome because when he hit people he didn't blink, which was exactly the fullback that the team needed at the time.

Besides this, the coaches are putting their list together ranking players by position based on what round they should be drafted in. Each coach will grade their position and the coordinators will rank their side of the ball. So as you see it's crazy, but not so crazy. It's workable. If they aren't watching film and grading players, coaches might have to go to a player's workout. A while ago I talked about what happens at the combine and I talked about many of the players holding private workouts, and that's exactly what's been going on, but that will be slowing down as the draft comes close.

So as you can see there is so much that goes into coaching, and time management is one of those things, especially if you want to take time to breathe, see your kids and maybe even pick up a golf club. But this just might be that time because soon they will locked in the draft room for anywhere from 7 to 10 days watching film after film of anyone that might be a first rounder.

Will this year be different? I sure think so because at this point does anyone really know who they might select 30th overall? If you look at some of the mock drafts they have the Packers picking either a cornerback, linebacker, tight end or offensive lineman. For that matter they even have a quarterback being picked. This will be the first post-Brett Favre era draft, so they really have to get this one right, don't they? When the season was over many thought this team was an interception from going to the Super Bowl, but if you listen to some you hear that the cornerbacks are old, and they need to be replaced. I'm not in that camp, especially with the price tag being a first rounder, even in the late first round. And that's not to mention how it would affect the mindset of Al Harris and Charles Woodson. The fact is Lionel Washington has to do his homework. All the position coaches have to do exactly what Lionel is doing and that's preparing themselves to watch film, and I mean a bunch of film.

The coaches are doing all the traveling and vacationing they can right now because once they lock down for the draft, it's all about watching film. I remember how we would watch every time a running back touched the ball in a season, especially if we thought we might draft him in the first or second rounds. I mean every game. It didn't matter if it was his team or a bowl game. Then we would play his interview from the combine and anyone that had a report on him would share their information before we would rate that player on the board. That sounds like a lot, but it's nothing compared to the film we had to watch when it came to a quarterback or wide receiver. That's why this is the time for the coaches to try to relax for a while - everyone but the weight and conditioning coaches - because this is when they earn their keep.

When the players left for the off-season they left their contact information with Rock Gullickson, the strength and conditioning coach. This information will be about target weights, workout schedules and workout dates and what the Packers expect of each player. While the other coaches are getting a break this is the time of year when the groundwork is getting done to prepare this team for the long haul. So fans, coaches and players: JUST BREATHE.

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

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