We're Black and Blue All Over:
I had only been covering the NFL for a few years when the Green Bay Packers added the general manager duties to coach Mike Sherman's job title. I remember wondering what exactly qualified Sherman, a longtime assistant, to run the front office. But the Packers had been performing well on the field under Sherman, and so I didn't think much of it.
In an interview this week with ESPN 540, former Packers president Bob Harlan called Sherman's promotion "the worst decision I made."
Harlan: "[W]hen Ron Wolf left, there were a number of things that bothered me about picking his successor. First of all, in his first season Mike went 9-7, won his last four games. We did have momentum going into the next year. I had talked to [quarterback] Brett Favre; he said it was the best chemistry he had seen in the locker room in all the years he had been here. And he'd been through a couple of Super Bowls by that time.
"I was concerned that if a new man came in from the outside, Mike might have trouble getting along with him, [or] the new man might want to come in and want to totally change the scouting staff, which I thought was a capable young scouting staff. And so I decided to do something that I don't like to do -- give one man both jobs. And he didn't hurt us on the field – we went 12-4, 12-4, 10-6, 10-6. [Sherman] did a great job of coaching. But it got to the point when we started having problems with players that he almost seemed to be ignoring the team."
Indeed, Sherman's performance as a general manager wasn't nearly as good as his performance as a coach, and eventually Harlan hired Ted Thompson to replace him in the front office. The lesson: There are a limited number of qualified general managers in NFL circles. There are also a limited number of good coaches. The chances of finding someone who can do both well are, statistically, pretty small.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks the Packers will keep seven receivers on their final roster.
The Packers have covered themselves well along the defensive line, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young's priorities have changed, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
Lions running back Jahvid Best wants to put pressure on opposing defenses, notes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Here's a video of ESPN NFL analyst Damien Woody joining "SportsCenter" to talk about how the Chicago Bears' hiring of offensive coordinator Mike Tice will affect quarterback Jay Cutler.
Bears receiver Earl Bennett has the best drop rate in the NFL over the past three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune speaks with Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier about his trip to the Persian Gulf as part of a USO tour.
Vikings guard Geoff Schwartz to Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "I'm a lot more than a football player."