Bob Harlan has been President and CEO of the Packers since 1989. Harlan has been with the Green Bay organization since 1971, having roles like Assistant General Manager, Corporate General Manager and Vice President of Administration.
Harlan has done great things for the organization. It was he who hired Ron Wolf. It was he that championed the effort in helping the Packers in getting a new renovated Lambeau Field. It was he who decided that all home games will be played at Lambeau. Harlan has basically done a magnificent job during his tenure. But there have been mistakes. Harlan allowed Mike Sherman to become General Manager along as Head Coach. That decision paved the way to mistakes in free agency and also having bad drafts. Harlan also hand picked Jones to be his successor. But something caused Harlan to let the Packers Executive Committee know that he had second thoughts on Jones. Something about management issues. Why?
Was Jones being a bad boss to employees? Was there friction between Jones and Thompson? What took so long for Harlan to realize that he made a mistake? Jones was hired by the Packers in 1999.
No matter, Harlan deserves the benefit of the doubt because of his track record with the Pack. Better to make a decision now than to suffer the consequences. Harlan learned that from the Sherman General Manager experiment.
So who will be the new President of the Green Bay Packers? My guess is one of two candidates... Mike Reinfeldt or Andrew Brandt. Reinfeldt is now currently with the Titans, after spending some time in Seattle with Mike Holmgren. But I think the Packer job will be too tough to pass up, especially with his ties to the Packer organization and Wisconsin. But if Reinfeldt does stay in Tennessee, Brandt will be a perfect choice. Like Harlan once did, Brandt is the Packers chief contract negotiator. Brandt is also a former agent with great communication skills. Either way, the Packers will be fine with either Reinfeldt or Brandt.
Thompson is a lightning rod to most Packer fans. You either love him or hate him. I like what Thompson has done for the most part. Thompson has given the Packers roster much more depth. Thompson has had some very solid drafts, especially the draft of 2006.
Thompson has also done well in free agency with acquisitions like Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett. Thompson has also made mistakes, but overall, Thompson is all about football and he has made the roster much better than it was under Mike Sherman. Thompson still has to find additional pieces to the Packer puzzle, but overall, he has been a good talent evaluator.
McCarthy took the team from a 4-12 record in 2005, to an 8-8 record in his rookie season. McCarthy is also using a different scheme that Packers have utilized in the past. The Packers still use the West Coast offense, but also now use a zone blocking scheme. There were some growing pains last year, especially with all the youth on the offense, but there will hopefully be better progress this year in terms of third down success and red zone efficiency.
McCarthy also assembled a pretty good staff. The defense got much better as the year wore on and special teams did pretty well with very young kickers. McCarthy also has good communication skills and his players seem to like his program and his overall vision of where the team needs to go.
Much has been said about Favre's unhappiness about the lack of a trade for Randy Moss. Then there were the questions about demanding a trade and maybe not showing up for the post draft mini-camp. But Favre once again answered the bell. Favre had a press conference discussing the Moss situation and also denied requesting a trade. Favre also came to the mini-camp. Why? Because Favre is a football player. Favre even said the practices can be boring at times at his press conference. But Favre realized that he had to be at the camp and that he still was the leader of this team. Favre knew that he had to meet his new teammates and see old ones. Favre was also a recent OTA that the Packers had.
Favre would have liked a teammate like Moss. But Favre has always been able to function well with new teammates, whether they are young offensive linemen, wide receivers, tight ends or running backs.
So what is the state of the Green Bay Packers? Well, I think the Packers will get a nice replacement to Bob Harlan within the next year, possibly sooner. I think it will either be Mike Reinfeldt or Andrew Brandt. I also think Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy will get the Packers to the next level of success. Sooner than most people think. I also think Brett Favre will be QB of the Packers when the Packers reach that stage. But I also think the Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers, will be a fine QB some day.
Maybe I am just an optimist, but I also believe what Favre said in 2006, that the Packers are talented. That optimism proved Favre right in 2006 and I believe the future will be even better.
Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.