Thursday, January 13, 2005

For some reason, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee J-S wants Mike Sherman out as GM, maybe even as coach too. Silverstein had an article posted on on 1/12/05 about the Packers alleged pursuit of Seattle's VP of football operations Ted Thompson for GM. Hopefully, Packers' President Bob Harlan doesn't take Silverstein's advise.

Thompson has Packer roots, working under former GM Ron Wolf from 1992 to 1999. Silverstein said "since joining the Seahawks in January 2000, Thompson has run the draft and advised Holmgren on personnel matters." That is probably overstating Thompson's importance. Holmgren didn't give up GM duties in Seattle until Seattle hired Bob Ferguson as their GM in February 2003 ( Silverstein gave Thompson credit for drafting "running back Shaun Alexander, guard Steve Hutchinson, receiver Darrell Jackson, cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Marcus Trufant and safeties Ken Hamlin and Michael Boulware." If he really wanted to pump up Thompson, he should have mentioned how Thompson fooled Wolf into trading QB Matt Hasselbeck and the pick that became Hutchinson for the pick used on useless DE Jamal Reynolds. Of course, Silverstein didn't mention any of the inept decisions Thompson was involved with, such as drafting TE Jerramy Stevens, or signing injury prone DE Grant Wistrom for big bucks (more than twice what useless ex-Packer bust DE Joe Johnson was paid), or allowing Seattle to come into this offseason with their 3 big offensive stars (T Walter Jones, Hasselbeck and Alexander) all unsigned for 2005. He also failed to mention how Thompson completely failed to improve a very talented 2003 Seattle and allowed them to regress in 2004.

Silverstein appears to think Sherman is useless as a GM. Silverstein does praise Sherman for drafting WR Javon Walker and C Scott Wells (Scott Wells?) but is quick to mention the "numerous mistakes in free agency (Joe Johnson, Hardy Nickerson, Tim Couch, Mark Roman, Cletidus Hunt)" Johnson was bad, Hunt has been disappointing (but somewhat underpaid considering what teams now pay for defensive tackles like Cornelius Griffin or Rod Coleman), and Nickerson, Couch and Roman all haven't worked out, but cost the Packers little. "Of his six picks in 2004, the only one who showed promise was seventh-round center Scott Wells," says Silverstein, while ignoring the fact that rookies rarely perform well in their rookie season. If Silverstein wants an example, take a peek at QB Brett Favre's stats his rookie season. How about LB Nick Barnett Tom? Or the 2nd round pick that brought in CB Al Harris?

Sherman has been in charge of 3 drafts since Wolf retired (2002-2004. Ignoring 2004 (rookie seasons don't define players), 2002 and 2003 have brought in Walker, RB Najeh Davenport, DE Aaron Kampman, QB Craig Nall, Barnett, and Harris (traded for 2nd round pick). How did Thompson do in 2002 and 2003? The only noticeable starters are the disappointing Stevens (by the way, Seattle was total suckerpunched in this draft when they tried to trade down and still pick New England TE Daniel Graham, but New England traded up to take Graham and left Seattle stuck with Stevens), CB Marcus Trufant, and S Ken Hamlin. TE Ryan Hannam got some playing time late in the 2004 season too. Maybe QB Seneca Wallace is primed to be the next QB Jeff Blake, otherwise the Packers have drafted better in those two seasons than Seattle.

My point is that Sherman is a competant GM and coach. You can compare Sherman favorable to nearly every other coach or GM in the league over the last three seasons, except Bill Belichek (probably one or two other teams too). Sherman has not done well in free agency, but teams aren't built through free agency (see Washington). He does need someone to replace the late Mark Hatley, but he doesn't need to go looking for a new job. The best thing for a team in the NFL is stability, at least through the last couple seasons for Favre. Changing GM and coach will not put this team any closer to a Super Bowl in the next two seasons (although a change of defensive coordinator and secondary coach remains a must this offseason).

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