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MOORE: Packers forced to take chance on Glenn

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 
On the drive to meet with a receiver who could prove to be more trouble than he¿s worth, jammed in a car with other Green Bay officials and the player¿s agent, coach Mike Sherman wondered why he was doing this to himself. The answer was simple: The Packers have reached the stage where they can no longer shop the bargain bin for receivers. Green Bay must upgrade its mediocre talent at the position to get back to the Super Bowl. No one dwelled on this point at Saturday¿s press conference to introduce Terry Glenn. The focus was more on his erratic behavior at New England than his talent — and rightfully so. The tone was predictable. Glenn expressed his gratitude to the Packers for giving him a second chance and talked about his desire to fit in with the team and the community. Sherman referred to the three-hour conversation that convinced him to take a chance on Glenn. He was struck by how genuine the athlete was in that meeting and impressed by how he interacted with his 6-year-old son. All that is fine. But it¿s how Glenn interacts with teammates and frustrates defensive backs that will determine if this was a good trade. This move was about making the Packers a better team, not about making Glenn a better person. The fact Glenn is one violation away from being suspended for a year under the provisions of the NFL¿s substance abuse program shows what a crying need Green Bay has at the position. ¿I realize the risk factor,¿¿ Sherman said. ¿But I¿d rather be criticized for action than inaction.¿¿ It was years of inaction that put the Packers in a position where they had to pursue Glenn and the baggage that goes with him. Ron Wolf took over a struggling franchise and built it into a Super Bowl champion in the 1990s. He did more right than wrong. But when he stepped down as Green Bay¿s executive vice president and general manager last June, he said he had done the franchise a disservice by not surrounding Brett Favre with more talented receivers. The Packers had taken Favre's brilliance for granted. He was so good, so capable of lifting the level of those around him, that Wolf fell into the trap of filling in other spots and trusting that Favre would make do with whoever was at receiver. Green Bay can no longer follow that blueprint. Now that Favre is older, and Antonio Freeman no longer gets the separation from defenders that made him an impact player several years ago, the front office must give No. 4 more help. Sherman maintains his confidence in the receivers on the Green Bay roster. The statistics don¿t support that faith. At least 25 receivers had 1,000 yards last season. None of them wore a Packers uniform. Running back Ahman Green led Green Bay with 62 receptions and was the only player on the team to sneak into the NFL¿s top 40. Starting wideouts Freeman and Bill Schroeder combined for fewer catches (105) than four receivers in the league had on their own. There were 75 games last season where a receiver managed at least 120 yards. Freeman (138 yards) was the only Packers player to crack that group. These numbers are telling. It¿s a bigger indictment when you consider Favre remains one of the league¿s best quarterbacks. ¿The focus became to get an impact receiver on the football team," Sherman said of the team¿s off-season thrust. ¿It goes without saying Glenn has that ability. ¿When free agency didn¿t answer the questions for us, we looked at the board for the best possible way we could fix some things and make us better. Terry¿s name kept coming up." Glenn was the seventh player taken in the '96 draft. None of the receivers on the Green Bay roster last season come close to that sort of athletic pedigree.
  • Freeman: Green Bay had four picks in the third round of the '95 draft. It used the last of those picks — 90th overall — on Freeman. He was the ninth wide receiver taken in that draft.
  • Schroeder: He was a sixth-round pick in '94 and went 181st overall. He didn¿t catch a pass his first three years in the league and had just two receptions in Year 4 before becoming a solid starter.
  • Corey Bradford: A fifth-round pick in '98 and the 150th player taken.
  • Robert Ferguson: A second-round pick in last year¿s draft and the 41st player off the board. That¿s the highest pick Green Bay has used on a receiver since taking Sterling Sharpe in the first round of the '88 draft. Ferguson didn¿t catch a pass as a rookie, but Sherman has already installed him as a starter entering next season. Glenn will join him. The rest of the receiving corps is in a state of flux. Schroeder and Bradford are free agents and there¿s no guarantee either will return. The Packers want Freeman back, but not at the $4.3 million base salary he¿s scheduled to receive. Green Bay has asked Freeman to take significant pay cut. He¿s resisted. He will be cut if the two sides don¿t find a compromise. That's just another reason why the Packers had to roll the dice on Glenn. ¿I don¿t know right now,¿¿ Glenn said when asked what role he envisions. ¿I just want to go out there and catch some balls.¿¿ That¿s exactly what the Packers — and Brett Favre — need. David Moore can be reached at his e-mail address: dmoore@foxsports.com.
  • Tagged: Packers, Patriots, Brett Favre, Ahman Green

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