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Harlan enjoying the Packers' Climb by PG's M Vandermause

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PWT36, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. PWT36

    PWT36 Cheesehead

    Apr 15, 2005
    Posted September 26, 2007

    Mike Vandermause column: Harlan enjoying the Packers' climb

    By Mike Vandermause

    Bob Harlan's telephone hasn't been ringing much these days.

    "Extremely quiet," the Packers' chairman said on Tuesday.

    With the Green Bay Packers enjoying their best start in six years, fans have no reason to complain.

    Well, there was one notable exception. A Packers backer left Harlan a message from a Philadelphia bar during the season opener against the Eagles.

    "He called me at halftime when the score was 10-10," said Harlan with a chuckle, "and said to me, 'You've got to sit Brett Favre down and bring in a new quarterback. He's too old to play.' "

    The fan didn't leave a name or number, and it's just as well. Even if he didn't fall off his bar stool, he should be feeling sheepish for giving up on Favre, who has turned back the clock 10 years and has looked like an MVP candidate the last two weeks.

    Favre's perpetual skills, a defensive resurgence, an infusion of youth and a coaching staff that is getting the most out of its talent have contributed to a reversal of fortunes for the Packers.

    This was a team saddled with a 4-8 record last December, better than just four teams in the NFL. Now, the Packers are one of only five clubs with a 3-0 record.

    Harlan credits General Manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy for sparking the turnaround.

    After an offseason of discontent in which Thompson was criticized for not doing enough to improve the roster, Harlan has noticed a change in sentiment.

    "I'm getting letters now thanking me for hiring Ted Thompson," Harlan said. "Ted has a plan. … He sticks to it, and we're getting results."

    Harlan also can't help noticing McCarthy's positive influence, which has fostered team confidence and harmony. McCarthy was one of seven NFL head coaches hired following the 2005 season, and on the strength of seven consecutive victories, is tied with the New York Jets' Eric Mangini for the best record among them at 11-8.

    "He's molding this team the way he wants it to be," Harlan said. "I can see the change being around the players. I see the change when we get on the plane and travel."

    It's no coincidence Favre is playing well under McCarthy, according to Harlan. Favre threw 29 interceptions in a disastrous 4-12 season in 2005 under the previous regime. That offseason, Harlan spoke with former Packers coach Mike Holmgren, who molded Favre into an MVP quarterback in the 1990s.

    Holmgren told Harlan several close Packers' losses could have gone the other way if Favre had been kept under control.

    "I think Mike McCarthy does that," Harlan said. "Brett and he have a wonderful relationship."

    Although the Packers have opened with victories over three 2006 playoff teams, Harlan is keeping a lid on expectations.

    "I'd like to see us take another step this year, whatever that step is," he said. "To be in contention and have a winning record, that would be another major step. For being the youngest team in the league, that speaks well for your future."

    The future could be now for the Packers, based on the competition in the NFC. They have leap-frogged past the Eagles, Giants and Saints in the NFC pecking order, and until further notice, must be considered among the four or five best teams in the conference.

    It's been a remarkable climb up the NFL ladder for a team considered a doormat just 10 months ago.

    Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Press-Gazette.
  2. Packnic

    Packnic Cheesehead

    Mar 28, 2006
    sweet vindication
  3. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    Nice article thanks!!
  4. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

    May 31, 2005
    The part of the article that really caught my attention was where Harlan talked to Mike Holmgren after the 2005 season, and Holmgren said several close losses could have gone the other way if Favre had been kept under control. Mike McCarthy has been the ideal coach for Favre, which is not to take anything away from Brett because he's the one out there on the field getting the job done. But every player needs the perspective that a good coach provides.
  5. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Mar 6, 2005
    Re: Harlan enjoying the Packers' Climb by PG's M Vanderma

    In the reply last night of the Detroit playoff game where Brett tossed a TD to Sterling to win it, Brett was talking bout how Holmgren had to real him in..

    Holmgren even said that when he would see Brett started to lose focus or try to hard, he would calm him down and give him more of a tunnel vision

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