So long to Sherman's third-rate third round

Joey Thomas, B.J. Sander and Donnell Washington should have been key performers on this Packers team. Instead, they are history.

Three strikes, and you're out.

In case you needed another reminder why Mike Sherman is no longer the Green Bay Packers' coach and general manager, his replacement at GM, Ted Thompson, provided one on Monday with the surprising release of punter B.J. Sander.

Well, maybe surprising isn't the right word. The third-round pick possessed the leg strength of a third-string punter. What was surprising, however, was the timing. And exactly what happened.

Let's go back to Saturday night's preseason game. In his only attempt, Sander's challenger, Jon Ryan, dropped a perfect snap in the end zone. He managed to get the ball off without disaster, but after that blunder, you'd figure the punting battle had gotten a whole lot tighter and Sander might be on the third of his nine lives.

Instead, two days later, Thompson cut Sander.

What a message. The Packers got rid of Sander and kept a guy who can't be counted on to catch the snap, much less consistently kick the ball 45 yards with reasonable hangtime.

So with Sander gone, and Donnell Washington cut before training camp and Joey Thomas sent packing early last season, Thompson has released all three of Sherman's third-round picks from the 2004 draft.

To review that dreadful draft:

The Packers sent their second-round pick to Jacksonville to get a third- and a fourth-round pick. The third-round pick was turned into cornerback Thomas.

The Packers sent their original third- and fourth-round picks to Jacksonville to get defensive tackle Washington.

The Packers sent the fourth-round pick acquired in the first trade with Jacksonville and their fifth-rounder to move into the third round for Sander.

"I don't look at it as overly risky," Sherman told reporters who were second-guessing Sherman from the second he made the pick. "I look at it as risky if I didn't take him."

Couple those three picks with first-round selection Ahmad Carroll — along with the third- and fourth-round picks Sherman traded to land Kenny Peterson in 2003 — and those guys should be the core of this year's team.

It's a big reason why the Packers are in rebuilding mode today instead of challenging for, at the very worst, supremacy in the NFC North.

It's a big reason why Mike Sherman lost his dream job in Green Bay.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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