Sherman cleanup continues

Parting ways with underachieving wide receiver Robert Ferguson, another glaring mistake in the Mike Sherman era, last week was long overdue, says's Dylan Tomlinson.

With the release of receiver Robert Ferguson last week, the Green Bay Packers got one step further away from the Mike Sherman era.

Sherman doesn't get all of the blame for the idiotic decision to take Ferguson with the No. 41 pick in the 2001 draft. He was sharing general manager duties with Ron Wolf at the time, so the two can share the blame.

Ferguson was hardly the worst pick of the Sherman era. That distinction lies with Jamal Reynolds (2001) or Ahmad Carroll (2004), and if you can have a conversation about the worst picks of the Sherman era without mentioning B.J. Sander (2004), Joey Thomas (2004) or Donnell Washington (2004) it gives you an idea of how completely inept Sherman was as a general manager. He was a decent coach, but as a GM, they just didn't seem to get any worse.

The difference with Ferguson and Sherman's other mistakes was that it just seemed to take so long for him to go away. The Packers passed on Pro Bowl receivers Chris Chambers and Steve Smith to take him, yet at his best Ferguson was barely mediocre. He was always injured and never seemed to be happy. He never passed on an opportunity to complain about having to play on special teams.

Ferguson will get another chance in the NFL because either another team from the NFC North, like Minnesota, will pick him up to see what it can learn about the Packers' playbook, or he will go where most Packers players go after they're cut - Houston.

With Sherman as the offensive coordinator, Texans coach Gary Kubiak seems perfectly intent on letting Sherman pick up as many Packers castoffs as he can find. How else can you explain why the Texans have grossly overpaid for Mike Flanagan and Ahman Green, trading for Samkon Gado and finding jobs for guys like Kevin Barry? I'm surprised Sherman hasn't tried to convince Kubiak to pick up Cletidus Hunt, Joe Johnson or offer Carroll his third chance at success in the NFL.

It wouldn't be fair to write a column ripping Sherman without pointing out that every now and then, he could draft a decent player. Javon Walker and Aaron Kampman, both of whom Sherman drafted in 2002, have both made the Pro Bowl. Corey Williams was a steal in the sixth round of the 2004 draft. Nick Barnett has played to his potential after being taken in the first round of the 2003 draft. He also was able to steal Al Harris from the Philadelphia Eagles for a second-round pick.

And no, I'm not forgetting about Scott Wells. Sherman gets no credit for drafting Wells in the seventh round because he cut him at the end of training camp in 2004 so he could keep two punters on the roster.

Sherman did a respectable job as Packers coach, but every time you see a former high pick like Carroll or Ferguson jettisoned from Green Bay, we can all be reminded that while nobody is ever going to mistake Ted Thompson for Scott Pioli, he is about 1,000 times better than his predecessor.

Sherman was dumb enough to draft Ferguson. Thompson was smart enough to cut him. Almost three years after arriving in Green Bay, Thompson is still cleaning up the mess left by Sherman.

Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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