GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman
In an event highlighted by GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman's team report, the Green Bay Packers organization conducted its annual Stockholders' Meeting in front of an audience of 2,211 at Brown County Arena, Tuesday morning.
In his nearly hour-long address, Sherman provided a detailed breakdown of how the team has changed over the offseason and where it's headed. While Packers.com has also provided audio of Sherman's entire address, below are some of the highlights.
Sherman said his chief offseason goal was to bring in more elite players and cited the acquisition of wide receiver Terry Glenn and defensive end Joe Johnson as major steps in that direction, also noting the recent additions of veteran linebacker Hardy Nickerson and punt returner Darrien Gordon.
Those additions aside, Sherman stressed that to be successful, the Packers will only be as strong as their weakest link.
"The 53rd player on the roster is just as important as the first player on our roster, it doesn't matter," he said. "If you're a Green Bay Packer, you have a responsibility to be at your very best all the time . . . I don't want Brett Favre to feel any more pressure than whoever our 53rd player is, everybody should feel the pressure of what we have to do here because of the fans and the tradition that we have here."
While the Packers have added talent to the roster, there have been losses as well, none bigger than that of safety LeRoy Butler who announced his retirement last week due the shoulder injury sustained in 2001.
Sherman praised the talent of his secondary and feels that on the field, the team can adjust to absorb the loss. How Butler's absence will affect the team inside the locker room remains to be seen, but even in terms of leadership, Sherman felt his team was ready to move forward.
Said Sherman, "People ask, 'What about the leadership of the football team?' and I think leadership is a funny thing in many ways. When you have leaders on the team they cast a big shadow over people and they don't allow other leaders to develop.
"A great example is in my own household where my daughter Sarah went off to college and all of a sudden my younger daughter, who is three years younger than her, has grown into a bigger part of our family. Maybe part of that is being a teenager, we all know what that brings about, but the other part is the fact that she doesn't have her big sister around anymore.
"So to relate it to a family situation, it's a lot like that. Other players will rise up and assume the responsibility of leadership. Now, when you lose a player like (Santana) Dotson and (LeRoy) Butler, they are impact-type leaders, they are difference makers and we have to create those and we're in the process of doing that right now."
Despite Butler's loss, Sherman believes the Packers will still benefit if the opposition looks to challenge the team through the air. In trying to express the importance of Joe Johnson's signing, Sherman said, "I want to stop the running game first and foremost, I want to make teams pass against us.
"We have great talent in the secondary. I want them to run the ball, try to run the ball, and I want to stuff it in their face."
Positions on the Packers' wish list going into the NFL Draft were wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line, defensive back and quarterback, the latter to begin grooming a successor to Brett Favre.
In those terms, the Packers were successful on all but one count. However, looking at the talent available at linebacker, Sherman expressed no regrets over trading away the Packers' second round pick to move up eight spots in the first round and select wide receiver Javon Walker.
"We didn't get the linebacker we wanted (in the draft), but he wasn't going to be there are pick No. 60 (in the second round)," Sherman explained to the audience in all seriousness before taking a lighthearted turn. "Now, I know that a lot of you guys think he was there, but in our mind he wasn't quite there.
"And all the letters and the phone calls I've received, I appreciate those . . . I know you guys have that high-tech video equipment at home, but I do think my staff and myself looked at all the linebackers that could have helped us.
"I know you guys have the inside scoop and all that, but just trust me on this one, okay? There were linebackers there, but I didn't think there was one who would warrant that pick.
"So when someone we didn't pick makes the Pro Bowl next year, you'll be able to tell me about that and I'm sure you will."
As pleased he is with the players at his disposal, Sherman said it would be a mistake to start tallying wins based on potential.
"I read in the paper how talented we are right now," he said. "Talent doesn't win football games, players do . . . Just because of talent, that piece of paper looks good, but don't put us there just yet. We have a lot of work to do."
Unquestionably, the Packers will be working toward a number of significant goals this season, which Sherman said tended to remain a constant from year to year. They are, to win at home, to win the NFC North, to claim homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and win the NFC Championship at Lambeau Field, to move on to San Diego and claim another Super Bowl title.
Of course, Sherman also admitted that every other NFL coach had plans to do the same, it's just that he never wants to enter a season in which those aren't achievable goals.
"I may regret saying this, but I don't think you'll ever hear my say, 'Oh, we're rebuilding,'" he said. "If you're rebuilding in Green Bay, you're probably talking to a new football coach, so I'll never say that."
Packers Shareholders Meeting Audio
Mike Sherman gives the Football Report - (RealAudio)
Andrew Brandt on the Salary Cap - (RealAudio)
Carl Kuehne gives the Foundation Report - (RealAudio)
Bob Harlan Q&A with Shareholders - (RealAudio)