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Interesting Sherman Article

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by spaulding, May 1, 2005.

  1. spaulding

    spaulding Cheesehead

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  2. Ryan

    Ryan Cheesehead

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    His toughest season
    After facing low points, Sherman has made some life changes and is ready to enjoy his job
    By LORI NICKEL
    lnickel@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: April 30, 2005
    Green Bay - It was beginning to consume him, all of it. . . . The preparation, the constant evaluating, the holdout, the 1,000th question on whether the coaching and general manager duties combined were too much, the extra energy it took to pull a team out of a 1-4 start, the death of one friend and heart attack of another, new responsibilities. It all just avalanched.

    It began to consume him to the point where he wasn't thinking about anything except football. There were tasks on checklists to cross off. This was his dream job, and he was not going to let it slip away. That whole thing about it not being the destination but the journey, well, he could preach it, but he couldn't do it.

    That, Mike Sherman, will admit.

    In his office last week, after an afternoon minicamp practice, he reluctantly confirmed what seemed obvious from the outside, namely that his armor was cracking. There was nothing close to balance between "family, faith and the Green Bay Packers." It was all football.

    And it threw the man off kilter.

    He knew he needed, internally, to make some changes. But not necessarily that change.

    How Sherman immediately dealt with the removal of his general managing duties in January, he's not ready to go there.

    It is also clear that it crushed his spirit.

    Sherman still respects Packers president Bob Harlan and the decision. He enjoys working with Ted Thompson - especially handing off the personnel questions to the new GM - and he still loves this team. But it will probably be a hot day in December before Sherman ever concedes that he was not successfully running this team as coach and general manager, both.

    You don't tell CEOs running multimillion-dollar companies that they're working too much. Suggesting that a man who had a 44-20 record as general manager wasn't cutting it is basically insulting.

    So don't go there. Sherman's not going to go there, no matter how many different ways the question is phrased. He's ready to move on. Now there are a few more precious hours to spend with his children, and there's a busload of rookies and free agents who have just arrived. There are new, highly energetic coaches to work with and relationships with players to improve. And don't forget, for him, this is still the greatest job in the world, coaching Brett Favre, Ahman Green, Mike Flanagan, Robert Ferguson.

    That's where Mike Sherman is this spring, a wonderful time to talk football to people because no one is losing and optimism is therapeutic. Upon reflection, which Sherman does constantly, last season presented him with some of the lowest points in his coaching career, and then he was demoted.

    Usually bad things come in threes. Double that for Sherman in 2004.

    "In the last year, I went to Favre's dad's funeral," Sherman said. "A cousin died from cancer. Two neighbors suffered heart attacks. Mark Hatley hit me very hard. Rossley, almost losing him, hit me very hard. Reggie White."

    Hatley, the Packers' vice president of football operations, died at age 54 from a heart attack just before the first game last season. He oversaw the Packers' scouting both on the waiver wires and the college ranks. In the front office, he was Sherman's right-hand man. Sherman included Hatley in a very tight inner circle.

    "We brought out the best of each other even though we were opposites. He was from west Texas, I'm from Boston. A Yankee and a Southerner," Sherman said. "I couldn't understand what he was saying sometimes, he couldn't understand what I was saying. I'm somewhat organized - I was going to say anal - let's say organized. His desk, I would say, 'Where's the report on the player?' He's shuffling through stacks, you can't see the top of his desk.

    "I would probably put people on edge, he would take the edge off, so it was a good blend. We had to work out some things early in our relationship, but after that, we became pretty good friends. I miss him. Him dying right before the season and then almost losing Rossley, the combination of both of those guys, I depended on both of them, not just as professionals, but as people in my life.

    "It was like a sledgehammer."

    Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley felt chest pains midseason and underwent an angioplasty to open a blocked coronary in October. He wouldn't even take a break from the Packers for more than a week, but calling the offensive plays was impossible. Rossley would get lightheaded after just 10 minutes of talking to reporters in the locker room.

    So midway through the season, Sherman had inherited two massive responsibilities, those of Hatley, and those of Rossley's play-calling.

    Forget starting corner back Mike McKenzie staring Sherman down until the trade. After the Packers were humiliated on "Monday Night Football" against Tennessee, collapsing to a 1-4 record in the process - this was the offense that was Super Bowl caliber - Sherman's spirits hit rock bottom. He would tell his daughter Emily later that night, as she waited up to console him, that things would be all right. Indeed, the team would win nine of its last 11, but Sherman could not unload his burdens anywhere.

    "I never dreaded coming to work. Every day, I can't wait to get to work and fix any problems. At the same time, it can become consuming," Sherman said. "When you put a compilation of everything that happened, whether I was head coach, GM, commissioner of the NFL, I was wanting to readjust things.

    "I just turned 50. You sit in all those funeral parlors, Masses and services, you do a lot of thinking. I've had all these little wake-up calls, saying, hey, get things straight, get things straight. You realize, the bottom line, what really matters, is the relationships you have with people. That really matters, and I want to improve those."

    Sherman had just one year, 2000, to coach the Packers. Every other year - 2001-'04, he was general manager as well. Now, back to being just the coach, it changes two things that are very, very important.

    First, Sherman can dissect practice differently.

    "As general manager at practice, you're watching the players as players. You are observing talent," Sherman said. "As a coach, you're observing players in your scheme and the scheme itself, the plays you call and how they are working. You have a tendency to be more interactive from that standpoint.

    "When I was general manager, I'm trying to evaluate our team and our talent level. You have to sit back a little bit and not get caught up in it. Now I can get caught up in the personality of the player, the play that you're going to run, and how you're going to teach the play. That makes you more interactive with the players."

    Second, Sherman can improve his rapport with the players. He still decides who plays and how much, but he's now completely in the same rocky boat as they are. They've got to win or they're all going to be replaced one day real soon. That's life in this business.

    One can't assume that it's just human nature for Sherman to feel uncomfortable with a new general manager over his head. He seems entirely committed to working with Thompson and says only respectful, even supportive things, about Thompson and the decisions he made last weekend during the draft. He won't say it was weird to "not be calling the shots," and he felt there was no other option than to snap up quarterback Aaron Rodgers, even though Rodgers might not see a minute in a game and won't be of immediate help.

    Done. He's not going to get in to it any more than that.

    Now Sherman has just one year left on his contract. He has said numerous times that he's not going to let that override his thoughts, either. It's a difficult proposition, he admits. One thing to remember about Sherman, though, is that he's never chased a job and has never campaigned for his promotions. Until January, it's been a healthy, steady, gradual ascent his entire career, and that inner security allows him to believe things will work out, one way or another.

    Done, he's not going to dwell on that, either.

    The changes he's made since the end of last season include a diet and working out in the morning with strength and conditioning assistant Mark Lovat. He feels more in tune with his faith in God. He's able to do more things with his five children, whose interests range as much as their ages, from 5 to 21. The changes that are yet to come might include continuing to call the offensive plays, more because he wants to and not because of any diminished ability in Rossley.

    So he didn't pick up a self-help book. He didn't go find the Dalai Lama. He, in the last months, wandered up to ice fishermen on a lake in Waupaca to chat for awhile and allowed a foundry worker to insist on buying him lunch. He doesn't seem to be trying to win popularity contests by rubbing shoulders with the people. But he has tried to recalibrate himself, by talking to real fans, who, like him, love the Packers, which was the whole point for him in the first place.

    "I realized something about myself after everything happened. If you told me when I was 16 years old that I would be the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, I would be in awe of that," Sherman said.

    "Then you finally become that, you've worked so hard to get here, you become so consumed in staying here. You don't enjoy the ride. That's one of the things, when I looked at myself, I want to enjoy my job even more.

    "I made my mind up this year that I was really going to enjoy my job and go from there."
     
  3. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    I don't care what your expertise is.... If you're not having fun - it's time to move on!
     
  4. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    I agree, I'm down on Sherman a lot, but hopefully now that he doesn't have to be GM anymore he'll focus on being the best coach he can be...
     
  5. spaulding

    spaulding Cheesehead

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    I was down on Sherman but Harlan really threw him to the lions. Not the he couldn't have turned him down, but still.
     
  6. stuffin

    stuffin Cheesehead

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    I think Sherman (now) can concentrate only on the best 53 men he will be leading to the Super Bowl. It sure is gonna be fun for all of us.....
     
  7. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    I really don't want to be down on him but the team has been heading the wrong direction the last five years. I hope Sherman can do a much better job of coaching now that he's not GM. He has no excuses now. He has had 5 years experience, no GM duties, and his own players with few exceptions from this draft. I hope he is successful not just because I'm a Packer fan, because he grew up a Packer fan.
     
  8. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Hey Traxx - ....question!

    "Do you think Sherman's 1st year as HC was his finest? IF so, why?"

    Also, remember who his predecessor was....... :cry:
     
  9. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    Prez, yes I do. He overcame an inordinate number of injuries that year to make the playoffs. Especially on defense Donatell did a nice job of pieceing the defense together each week. It seems each year after that he got more predictable and played to not lose. I hope being relieved of GM duties makes him a better coach.

    And yes I certainly remember the coach before him! :puke:
     
  10. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    About the best synopsis..."playing not to lose" is very good description. In some of our bigget games...with the game on the line there was just never that push to close out the game and earn us a W...you could tell that our players were lacking that killer instinct and I think that reflects their coach...you know where I stand on liking/disliking Mike Sherman...but I also know that him leaving the GM's office will only bring improvement to the team
     
  11. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    The preferred term is known as:

    "Prevent Defense"

    And the truth of it... is Sherman should know better!

    You simply never win the Superbowl with that type of mentality to the game! Never!
     
  12. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    The preferred coaching move is "go for it on 4th and inch at the other team's 40 rather than hand it over to your 20-somethingth ranked defense...and a pretty damn good QB in mcnabb for that matter"

    yeah Sherman can find himself all he wants...i know i've been offering support...but that game just meant to much to me, still havent lived 4th and 26 down (or the same-game coaching foul ups), we need something to make up for that or the game will constantly come up
     
  13. jdlax

    jdlax Cheesehead

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    I think it's John Madden who's always saying something like "the only thing prevent defence prevents is your team from winning".
     
  14. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    I know I brought this up in another thread but I don't care...this team went down the same way in super bowl 32 by only rushing 3 men at john elway the whole drive...if the team has one play left from the 45 yard line---then you do prevent defense, not for an entire drive when there's still time to drive down the field
     
  15. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    There's a time for going against the odds. The coaches that have or develop a feel for this are usually are usually highly successful. Examples would be Bill Purcells going for it on 4th down in the SB, Joe Gibbs on 4th down in the SB, Lombardi on Starr's sneak in the "Ice Bowl" NFL Championship and the list goes on. There are lesser but similar times like this in many regular and playoff games.

    Lombardi always said there are usually only 3 or 4 plays that determine the outcome of a game, but you never know when they are going to happen. He was referring to the players giving 100% on every play for this reason. But you can relate it to coaching; the coach also must sieze the moment when those opportunities present thimselves

    This is what Sherman needs to develop. The 4th and 1 in the Philly game may have been such a time; no one will ever know now.
     
  16. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    I've commented at this topic at length, just about everywhere....

    In my mind, hearing Dorsey Levens discuss with Andy Reid (JSonline) - that some time in the future, after football - exactly WHY, Holmgren quit using the RB in the second half, (when like Philly, we were running rings around Denver), ...as in the first half... Well, to me, that's why we lost SB-32.... Had we run Dorsey throughout the whole game - then Denver would have never found their second wind.... and Dorsey was very adamant about it - that speaks volumes. To this day, he's still upset.

    History repeating itself! :-? This type of repeat I don't need!
     
  17. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    My low point as a Packer fan. I didn't feel as bad after the 4-12 seasons as I did after the SB loss. :cry:
     

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