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Dissidents note: Harlan sums it up nicely

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by net, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. net

    net Cheesehead

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    From Monday's 10/17/05 Press-Gazette:
    ----------------------------

    Q&A with Packers President Bob Harlan
    When Packers President Bob Harlan takes angry calls from fans, he reminds them of the team’s success during the last 13 seasons.


    By Mike Vandermause
    PackersNews.com

    When the Green Bay Packers opened the season with four consecutive losses, team President Bob Harlan heard about it.

    During his time leading the Packers organization, Harlan has made a point of staying connected with fans, even if it means fielding angry phone calls.

    In an interview on Thursday, Harlan talked about his response to fans unhappy with the Packers’ 1-4 record. He also assessed the performance of General Manager Ted Thompson and the job security of coach Mike Sherman, and reflected on the Packers’ decision not to re-sign guard Mike Wahle in the offseason.

    Did you get a lot of phone calls after the 0-4 start and what was the general sentiment?

    Bob Harlan: I did, I did. I got a call one day, ‘Fire Sherman and hire Favre to be the coach.’ I thought, ‘Gee, Brett doesn’t even like going to the quarterback meeting, so how’s he going to handle that?’ But I did, and I said to a lot of the people who I talked to, ‘Hey remember, since ’92 this has been the best record in the National Football League. There’s 13 straight seasons of above .500 football. This has been pretty good football.

    One guy called me last week and he says, ‘I’ve been disturbed for years about this.’ I said, ‘Now wait a minute, the last four years we were 12-4, 12-4, 10-6 and 10-6.’ I said, ‘It sounds to me like you’re tough to satisfy.’ ‘Well, maybe I am.’ It’s lean now, and it’s the same thing I told people last year. When we were 1-4 last year, I said to people, you know we’re not going to do anything rash. When the season’s over we’ll take a look at it. If we think we should do something, we will. And they were fine with that. That seemed to satisfy them in the early stages of the season.

    Well, when we lost to the Vikings (in the playoffs), I thought, boy it’s going to get noisy again, losing in the playoffs and it’s to Minnesota and everything. Five days later, we hired Ted Thompson, took one job away from Mike, again it was quiet. I find that if you tell the people, ‘Listen, we’re as upset as you are, but we’re not going to do anything that we’re going to look back later and regret. Let’s take some time and look at it. And then I do remind them of the past success. Everything isn’t bleak, it’s been pretty darn good here.


    Is there any complaint that bothers you?

    Harlan: It bothers me when, and I tell fans this, they’ll act like instead of 13 great seasons that we’ve had 13 miserable seasons. I’ll say, now wait a minute, you’re letting five weeks, or four weeks, tarnish everything that’s gone on in the past. Let’s look at this from a reasonable standpoint. And we talk about it. And I think we’re doing better when we hang up than when we started.


    Has Ted Thompson been everything you thought he would be as general manager?

    Harlan: He’s very solid. He’s got a lot of Ron Wolf in him. He takes that same approach. He’s very careful about how he wants to build the club but knows how he wants to build it. Very solid in the way he approaches the game. I’m delighted. He’s exactly what we needed. And I’m more convinced than ever that you need two good people to do those jobs. I’ll tell you what, one of the things that concerned me was Mike’s health a year ago. And now I look in the paper at people like Ray Rhodes and Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz, and the list is growing of coaches who are fighting health problems. I told Mike at the time I took the job away, I said, ‘I want you to spend more time with your family. I don’t want this to become a health problem.’ I think some of that’s been brought back to me in the last couple of months seeing what’s happened to other coaches.


    Ted is more even-keeled than Ron Wolf was. Is it a good quality to be even-keeled?

    Harlan: I sit with Ted on gameday. It’s interesting. Ron would kind of scream and yell and say things that you know you’d think, maybe we better close the window. But Ted is much calmer about it, but you can hear the comments he makes. ... You can hear him almost wanting to be on the sideline saying this. But he does it in a very calm manner. If it doesn’t work, he’s not explosive. But yet he studies it very carefully, what’s going on, the plays, and he and I will sit down during the week and talk about things he likes and doesn’t like, and so forth. He’s total football, and I like that about him.


    One of the biggest criticisms of Ted is, in retrospect, that maybe a better effort should have been made to re-sign guard Mike Wahle. Have you had discussions with him about things like that?

    Harlan: We have. We talked about that, we talked about before Cletidus Hunt was let go. I think Ted should get some credit for letting Cletidus Hunt go. A lot of people wouldn’t have done that, say we’ve got a lot of money invested in the guy. And here’s what I like. If he’s made a mistake, he’ll admit it and move on. Now, Cletidus Hunt wasn’t his mistake, but yet as he looked at it, he said, ‘This is a mistake keeping this guy here. We’re going to move him.’ And I said I’m fine with that.

    You know, I think the guards are getting too much blame for the problems we’ve had. There’s been a lot of different problems. You know we started out this way last year, and we finished strong. This division can be won. Taking a look at it, it’s going to be very competitive. We’ve got five division games left in the year. We can still make noise in the North, and I feel we will. I think as long as you’ve got No. 4 playing quarterback, the defense has shown great life I think in the last couple weeks. I think Jim Bates has done a wonderful job with that. I’m still optimistic. I’m always optimistic. I always think we’re going to be all right and find a way to get out of this.


    Is there a good working relationship between Ted and Mike as far as roster decisions? Does Ted make the final call on everything?

    Harlan: He’s running the football operation. But it’s like Ron. Ron ran the football operation too, but if the coach had a player he really wanted, Ron let him do it and Ted does the same thing. The thing that took Ted so long before he was ready to extend Mike’s contract, was to (determine), can we sit down together and work together and work through situations like that. And once he became convinced he could and they could work together and be palatable, then he was ready to extend the contract. Ted’s not going to force anybody on him, but if there comes a decision sometimes between two players, maybe Ted is the one who has to make it, but I know he gives Mike leeway, and I know Ron Wolf gave Mike Holmgren and Mike Sherman leeway.


    If the Packers finish with a losing record and don’t make the playoffs, do you feel Mike Sherman’s job is still secure?

    Harlan: I would take you back to when we had Lindy Infante with three years to go on his contract, when Ron Wolf came in he said, ‘I want to make a change.’ And so basically for three years we were paying two head coaches. I feel if you’re going to get somebody talented to run your football operation, you’ve got to let them truly run it. You can’t be stopping him from trying to make a (decision). Let’s face it, Ron Wolf came in and wanted to make some huge decisions in his early days. He wanted to let Lindy go with three years remaining on his contract, he wanted to trade a No. 1 (draft pick) for a quarterback from Atlanta that nobody every heard of, and then spend a great deal of money on a Reggie White.

    They were wonderful moves. Ron would say to me, ‘Are you OK if we do this?’ And I said, ‘I told you it was your team to run. You’ve got full authority. I’m not going to butt in on it now.’ I feel the same way with Ted. Ted’s comfortable with the way we are. Mike Sherman’s coaching record has been marvelous. And you know the system is set up that you’re supposed to hit some down times, and the Green Bay Packers have been fortunate. Because this is the one franchise, when we got to free agency and the salary cap, everybody said, hey, the first franchise that’s going to suffer is going to be Green Bay. That hasn’t happened. In fact, we’ve had the best record since 1992, and we’ve had the 13 straight years of (non-losing seasons). It’s worked extremely well for us.

    Some of that success has been catching up to us. We’ve been drafting late for a number of years. And a lot of our opponents have been drafting early for a number of years. That should balance things out. So no, I think our football people have done a marvelous job of keeping us among the top teams in the league. And I think you have to be very careful if you have one lean season, is this the time to panic and jump off the wagon or what? I think Ted is steady enough that that’s the approach he’ll take. He’ll make a very steady decision on everything.


    What’s the biggest regret you’ve had during your tenure?

    Harlan: I guess the biggest regret quite honestly is that we didn’t win Super Bowl XXXII. We were heavily favored. I’m convinced we were a better team. And we didn’t get it done. That loss has always tormented me. It torments Ron Wolf, too. He and I talk about it. That’s my biggest regret, we didn’t win two (Super Bowls), because we were good enough to win two, and we should have.


    Does John Jones (who will replace Harlan in 2007) have big shoes to fill?

    Harlan: I have such a great love for this organization. I hope I have and I think I have picked someone who can continue to bring great things to the Green Bay Packers. That’s what I want is a great, great future for this franchise.
     
  2. PWT36

    PWT36 Cheesehead

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    This PG article sums up what this long time Packer fan in DePere, Wi. located just five miles from Lambeau Field was trying to tell complaining Packer fans on Packer forums. We old Packer fans have been through the real tough losing seasons of 1948-1958 and very long era of 1968-1991. Packer president Bob Harlan has done it very better than I could in this PG article. In todays climate in NFL of competitve balance (free agency and salary cap), it has been set up to prevent the dynasties of Packers of 60's, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, 49ers dynasties etc. It has indeed done that. Patriots are now having trouble and may not repeat as Super Bowl champions. A NFL team can turn it around in one year. As San Diego Chargers did finishing 4-12 in '03 and in '04 the Chargers finished 12-4. This was not the case in those Packer losing years .Packer financial conditions are much better than those losing years. Packers are 10th in NFL in revenue earned for 3rd straight year)and Packer organization is much more professional then the old days. Our Packer presidents before Robert Harlan were a ex Green BAy Mayor/Real Estate man and a Brown County Judge. The present President is Packer employee since 1970's who was promoted through the ranks of the organization and held successfully many jobs with the Packers. He lets the football men run the football team. If Packers don't have a great '05 year, as hope for, Packers will bounce back soon. But I would not give up on this year 0f '05 as yet. With #4 you always have a chance, Remember last year. I have said the Packers will look much better in the middle of season and much better than that in later part of the season. However since the injuries of some core players have occurred so early in the season, it will be up to the young players to step up and do the job. Hopefully, they are up to the task.
     
  3. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    PWT,
    As another old time packer fan, I like to read your historical perspectives on the Green Bay Packers.
    I sit here and read through my copy of " Packer Legends and Facts 1921-1991 and relive the glory years of Lombardi through the gory years up to Holmgren and realize how right you are as to how much more proffessional the entire organization has become.
    With that in mind I don't believe that we will have to live through anything like the "lean" years of the 70's and 80"s again.
     
  4. P@ck66

    P@ck66 Banned Banned

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    Harlan sounds just a like a politician...doesn't say much and when he does it's nothing but bulls***!

    Doesn't want to talk about the pink elephant in the room either---Mike Sherman....

    The bottom line is that the organization should be in it for one thing...TO WIN NFC CHAMPIONSHIPS...or better...

    and that has not been done in the last five years..in fact, the Packers have gotten progressively worse since Sherman has come along...Harlan knows it..TT knows it...he's just hoping that WE don't know it.....

    that's why Mikey baby was stripped of his GM title..and if they have any cajones...they will relieve him of his HC responsibilities at the end of this year! And I think they will...Harlan realizes his mistake..but couldn't do it all at once...first the GM responsilities..and then....

    oh..by the way...

    Guess who has the #1 offense in the NFL and is in first place in the NFC West....

    Mike Holmgren and the Seattle Seahawks...that's who!
     
  5. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    Yea.....that and a quarter might get him a phone call. Hey MR. Playoff, how the hell can you come on here and rag on Sherman and sing Holmgren's praises when he hasn't won a damn playoff game in 5 or 6 years in Seattle? Furthermore,when somebody brings up that the Packers have had a top 5 or so offense for years, depite your almost ****-erotic hatred for Rossley and Sherman, you always come back with the playoff choke response. Oh wait....I forgot....your standard answer......"Sherman has Favre to carry his fata$$"

    Face it Pack.....Sherman will be here for the next few years at least. I realize you know more than Harlan and Thompson but I'm going to listen to their input anyway.

    The reality of it all is that NOBODY would be happier to see Sherman stick around than Pack66. If Sherman goes.....he has absolutely nothing to talk about, based on this forum. Well, I for one am happy that you will continue to bring your knowledge to this forum for years to come. SUCKS....don't it?
     
  6. Miskito

    Miskito Cheesehead

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    'Fess up, P@ck: You were that "disturbed for years" caller, weren't you?
     
  7. net

    net Cheesehead

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    9-7,12-4.12-4,10-6...Progressively worse?

    When you speak, there is a key element: it's called credibility.

    What Pack It and a few others haven't figured out is if/when Sherman leaves, it's "lets start over" all over again, sans Brett Favre. He has better things to do.

    Yea, lets fire Sherman, that will really help(heavy sigh).
     
  8. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    Sounds like Mr. Harlan has had to deal with phone call from people like Pack66. I think he answered the questions well discussing personal things like Ted and the cutting of Hunt.

    Mike Sherman may not be the best coach for quotable lines at a press conference. His record should stand by itself. Parity in the NFL is a fact.
    If you could change a half dozen plays this season the record could be 4-1.
    Last year against Houston and the vikings a few plays could have made a 7-9 season.

    It is not a perfect world and doing well takes work. The Packer organization cares about wins and not bottom line dollars.

    The Vikings front office is in turmoil but not the Packers.
     
  9. P@ck66

    P@ck66 Banned Banned

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    Calli said,

    "It is not a perfect world and doing well takes work. The Packer organization cares about wins and not bottom line dollars"

    Sorry to disagree with you Cali, but that's just Bull****....

    Asses in seats....that's the bottom line for Harlan. Gravedigger was right...

    They're saying hey....why should you fans worry. We won a couple of NFC north titles...you have Brett Favre to look at..what's the problem?

    I love the fact that NOONE mentions Sherman's DISMAL playoff record...
    2-4....

    and also his terrible record at HOME....

    I hate to break it to you people..but once Brett Favre leaves..it's the 1970's again....

    I will be laughing when Sherman leads the Pack to 2-14 seasons with Aaron Rodgers at the helm...

    I will be laughing even more after they fire SherRossley and run him out of town in disgrace...

    I am not laughing for Brett Favre though...this organization has really let him down....after all he has done..they've just let him down...

    Now that's the real disgrace here...
     
  10. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    You mention Sherman's "dismal" playoff record...2-4. Since you seem to be very knowledgable about playoff records please let us know what your hero Holmgren's playoff record has been over the same period of time. While doing the research, if you happen to find out if these two gentlemen have ever gone head to head in a playoff game.....I'd really appreciate it if you would share it with us.

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  11. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Sherman and Holmgren just went head-to-head, as you put it, very recently in the Playoffs.....

    How can you, or anyone else, ...forget that awesome INT by AL HARRIS...
    He looked right at Hasselbeck, watched him eyeball the WR and bam.... off to the races....

    As far as Holmgren's post-season record in Seattle is concerned - it's not something I bother with... what's more, TT is very aware of how the situation was dealt with over there... Articles on several fronts discussed how MH had a real problem letting TT truly act like a GM, assistant or not.... Even after MH was demoted, it wasn't working - not like what he had experienced here in GB, under Ron Wolf, as a protege'..... Hence, probably the most important reasoning for TT leaving the 'hawks.. and coming home!

    For all his successes, Holmgren became a legendary Coach in Green Bay, thanks to Ron Wolf's selections from that Chair. I sometimes wonder whether MH would have had the smarts, let alone the moxey, to put all those pieces together between '94 - '98.... all of that was pretty much RW... MH had some input, but RW was the guy who pulled the trigger. And, we've all heard the rant about BF having some input about Reggie White, especially after being hit like that in the Eagles game prior to the FA scenario.....

    Holmgren's EGO has been the issue in Seattle... I'd rather not be bothered with it.
     
  12. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    IP...you should know by now to read everything I type with a grain of salt. Of course I remember....just wanted to hear about it from the Holmgren lover.
     
  13. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Aaaaah, I got ya..... I'll get outta the way, then! 8)
     
  14. WinnipegPackFan

    WinnipegPackFan Cheesehead

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    I have to agree with 66 on one thing " I think Brett was not taken care of this season as well as he could have been either". Sorry, just my opinion.
     
  15. packedhouse01

    packedhouse01 Cheesehead

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    That was a very good article. My hope is that Ted is indeed the man for the job because if he's not we will have only set this franchise back even further. The bottom line with Sherman as GM is that he wasn't very good at it. Look at the lack of personel he has attained and you wonder why we're 1-4. I think not.
     
  16. ArizonaPackerFan

    ArizonaPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Wolf, Holmgren, Brett and Reggie get most of the credit for the Packers revival and they deserve it, but I'm also thankful we have had Harlan running the franchise all these years. He's pretty level headed for the most part. He cares about the well-being of the Packers and the league. A lot of these owners only care about padding their own wallets.
     

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