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Article about Ted Thompson on ESPN

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Cal2GreenBay, Jan 10, 2008.

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  1. Cal2GreenBay

    Cal2GreenBay Cheesehead

    Sep 18, 2006
    I think Ted Thompson's best accomplishment will be his drafting
    of Aaron Rodgers to succeed Brett Favre.

    If Freakin streak man will bow out gracefully! TT built this team for Aaron..and Brett's taking the cake for it. How would you feel if you got somebody eating the cake at your bday party? Eventhough he's had 20 plus cakes already?

    If Aaron was at the helm this year, they might not be 13-3..but I firmly
    believe they would be in the playoffs and then be poised for a LONG RUN
    next year and after that.

    You're now officially holding Aaron back Brett. You need to get out of the way (okay..I know I'm waiting for the Favre fans to jump on me before the playoff game).

    Personally I hope Aaron pulls a Tom Brady and comes in after a Favre injury at the hands of the seahawks and leads them to victory. You heard it here. Since Favre won't let go of his job..it's time that Aaron takes it.

    Hehe..of course if Aaron's gimpy hamstring and injury bug are officially out of the way.


    The eight remaining NFL playoff teams allocated more than $104 million in guaranteed bonuses during the first month of free agency last year. That works out to more than $13 million per team, a massive number that is also massively misleading.

    For all the attention NFL free agency commands each March, Green Bay's spending accounted for two-tenths of 1 percent of that $104 million, a mere $215,000 in guaranteed bonuses. The money secured three backups and predictably low grades on free-agency report cards.

    The Packers' approach also produced the second-best record in the NFC, a date with Seattle in a divisional playoff game Saturday (FOX, 4:30 ET) and a contract extension for general manager Ted Thompson.

    "I didn't know what our record was going to be," Thompson said this week, "but we felt like we put together a team that would have a chance to win week in and week out."

    Thompson's Packers generally will not win praise for being "proactive" during the offseason.

    [+] Enlarge
    Ted Thompson

    AP Photo/Morry Gash

    Packers GM Ted Thompson has drafted a league-high 34 players since 2005.
    What the Packers will do -- what they have done -- is improve their record from 4-12 to 8-8 to 13-3 in Thompson's first three seasons. They have done it almost exclusively the old-fashioned way, through the draft. Cornerback Charles Woodson stands as the only premier unrestricted free agent signed from another team since Thompson arrived in January 2005. (Marquand Manuel, since waived, and Ryan Pickett signed less lucrative free-agent deals.)

    The conservative tack is not for everyone. Thompson inherited a team that finished 10-6 the year before his arrival. He inherited Brett Favre, now the NFL's all-time passing leader. He inherited young talent on the defensive line.

    Thompson also inherited a brutally weak 2004 draft class featuring four first-day picks no longer in the league. He inherited a roster that was aging in a few areas, notably at running back and in spots on the offensive line.

    The Packers wanted to get younger, and Thompson knew that would not happen through the "dangerous waters" of free agency, to borrow a term he has used.

    "The team was coming off [a 10-6 record], so it was a good team, but at the same time we felt like we needed to add some core players," Thompson said. "In an effort to try to win the big one and hang in every year, the roster got a little out of balance. We needed to add some youth."

    The Packers have drafted a league-high 34 players since 2005. Their 53-man roster features 28 of their own draft choices, the fifth-highest total in the league. Thompson drafted 18 of the 28, including seven starters. While only Indianapolis and Buffalo are younger from one through 53, Green Bay's starters are slightly older than average thanks to Favre, who turned 38 this season. The starting defense averages 27.6 years old, just below the league average.

    Green Bay has seven starters younger than 26. The NFL average is 7.1. Green Bay has nine starters between 26 and 29. The league average is 9.2. Green Bay has six starters in their 30s or older. The average is 5.7.

    "A lot is made of our youth," Thompson said, "but the mixture of the veterans and youth has been a very good combination. It's led to a productive team on the field and a good one in the locker room."

    Tough decisions

    The Packers got worse under Thompson before they got better. In early 2005, following that 10-6 season, the team allowed starting guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera to leave in free agency, destabilizing the line. (Center Mike Flanagan signed a deal with Houston a year later.)

    Like his mentor, former Packers GM Ron Wolf, Thompson has avoided paying top dollar for guards. Rivera was wearing down. He lasted 30 games with Dallas before retiring. Wahle remains a starter for Carolina, although his play has slipped, according to scouts. Salary-cap pressures made keeping both linemen less palatable.

    "You try to never use that as an excuse," Thompson said. "We would have to move forward at those positions anyway. We did not get it fixed quick enough."

    Great Green Bay moves
    Five key moves since Ted Thompson became Green Bay's general manager:

    1. Hiring Mike McCarthy: The second-year head coach has helped Brett Favre enjoy a career revival at age 38.

    2. Signing Charles Woodson: A top cover corner, Woodson stands as a rare high-profile addition in free agency.

    3. Signing Ryan Pickett: The free-agent defensive lineman has solidified the Packers' run defense.

    4. Drafting Greg Jennings: The second-round choice caught 12 touchdown passes this season, including a memorable game-winner at Denver in overtime.

    5. Acquiring Ryan Grant: Acquired from the Giants this season, Grant spent the 2006 on injured reserve and 2005 on the practice squad.

    -- Mike Sando
    The Packers' ground game stalled early this season after Thompson watched former Pro Bowl runner Ahman Green leave in free agency. But with skepticism over the team's winter-worthiness mounting, little-known newcomer Ryan Grant hit stride, averaging 92.9 yards per game over the final 10 games.

    Only league rushing champion LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for more yards over that span.

    Green, who averaged 75.6 yards per game for Green Bay last season, missed 10 games to injury in his first season with Houston. He finished with 260 yards and two touchdowns.

    The decisions to let Rivera, Wahle and Green depart could not compare to the one Thompson called his toughest.

    With Favre contemplating retirement following the 4-12 finish in 2005, Thompson fired head coach and former GM Mike Sherman. The move was risky because the Packers had averaged 10.6 victories per season under Sherman from 2000 to 2004, and new coach Mike McCarthy was not yet in high demand as a head coaching candidate.

    But in making the change, Thompson created a more natural working relationship between head coach and GM. Sherman had lost the GM title against his wishes, adding a potentially uncomfortable dynamic.

    McCarthy came with no such baggage and he already had a working relationship with Favre, having served as the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999. Favre has cut down on interceptions while averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt this season, a career high. His passer rating (95.7) was his highest since 1996, the most recent season in which Green Bay won a Super Bowl.

    "What Ted and I brought to the table was the type of culture that we wanted to establish here," McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. "We accomplished that last year. … We're bringing in the right type of player that fits our program, and it's paying dividends."

    Filling in the roster

    Thompson shored up the defensive front in 2006 by re-signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman and adding free-agent tackle Pickett.

    "When everyone is healthy," a rival NFC scout said, "they are so deep on the D-line that they can go nine deep with ends who play tackle, and vice versa."

    Atari Bigby, a street free agent and former practice squad player, has emerged as the starting strong safety after the Manuel signing failed to work out. Jarrett Bush, also undrafted, became the nickel cornerback before suffering injuries. Tramon Williams has shown enough promise in the secondary to potentially serve in a nickel role against Seattle.

    Second-year receiver Ruvell Martin has four touchdown receptions. Tracy White, a player Thompson initially brought to Seattle when he worked in personnel there, is a special-teams standout.

    Six starters remain from Sherman's run as GM: linebacker Nick Barnett, center Scott Wells, defensive tackle Corey Williams and Kampman. (Wolf drafted right tackle Mark Tauscher and left tackle Chad Clifton.)

    The starters Thompson drafted include linebacker A.J. Hawk, receiver Greg Jennings, free safety Nick Collins, linebacker Brady Poppinga, left guard Jason Spitz, right guard Daryn Colledge and fullback Korey Hall.

    Jennings, a second-round choice in 2006, scored touchdowns on 12 of his 53 receptions this season. Hawk, chosen fifth overall the same year, has been steady but not dynamic.

    This season, Thompson bought needed insurance at running back by acquiring Grant from the New York Giants for a sixth-round draft choice. Grant had spent last season on injured reserve after one season on the Giants' practice squad. His production has far exceeded reasonable expectations.

    "No. 1, our personnel department did an excellent job of tracking Ryan," McCarthy said. "What I liked about him was his body type and his running style, and how he runs with a forward lane and doesn't waste any steps. He's a very bright young man, and he's someone that could definitely improve with his opportunities, and you can see that week-by-week just based on his production."

    Looking ahead

    The Packers could be strong again next season, particularly if Favre decides to keep playing.

    Williams, the def ensive tackle, is the Packers' only notable player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Rookie first-round pick Justin Harrell would be a leading candidate to replace him.

    The situation at running back appears less dire given Grant's unexpected production.

    Cornerback Al Harris turned 33 last month, meaning Green Bay soon must develop fresh talent at the position. The Packers could also use another impact linebacker to go with Hawk and Barnett.

    Salary-cap restrictions won't stand in the way. By some estimates, the Packers could have close to $25 million in cap room to address whatever issues they identify as priorities.

    Not that they will necessarily use it.
  2. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

    May 31, 2005
    Hoping for Favre to be forced out of a playoff game with an injury is not going to score you a lot of points around here.

    The bottom line is that Brett Favre has the right to continue as the starting QB on the Packers as long as he is the best QB on the team. He still is, even though Rodgers has closed the gap considerably.

    It's not Aaron Rodgers' "party." He was drafted to step in for Favre, but Favre has stayed longer than expected, and he continues to play at a high level. It's got to be frustrating for Rodgers in a way, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
  3. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

    Aug 12, 2006
    Favre will continue to start as long as he's the best QB on the team. When he is no longer the best QB on the team, he will probably go elsewhere or retire, sit and watch football and regret retiring for a year, then come back to an AFC team and take a mediocre team into the Playoffs.

    I like Rodgers, but Favre has proven this year that he's one of the top 5 QBs in the NFL. Some might put him as high as #3. You don't take a top 5 QB and ask them to retire so your backup can take over.
  4. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

    Aug 15, 2005
    nice article.

    About time people started saying what I've been saying for a while. Feels good.

    OUCH! I just hurt my arm patting myself on the back.
  5. Fuzznuts

    Fuzznuts Cheesehead

    Jun 14, 2007
    As of now, Aaron Rodgers is unproven.

    You don't know if he's going to turn out to be Steve Young, or Ryan Leaf....

    (For now...he just has to sit and bide his time behind a legend.)

    It didn't hurt Steve Young any, and he was older!
  6. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cal - thanks for the read, however I think you are a little self serving here with this "Team built for Rodgers" talk.

    You put the best team on the field, not built for any one person, not even Brett. I concede that Aaron looked alot better in his playing time this year vs last, however more time isn't going to hurt either. Notice the young QB's around the league that are struggling and in Smith's case possibly losing his roster spot overall.

    Aaron's patience will be rewarded in time, if he is the best opinion next year so be it, if not, it may be Brett to carry the title of starter for yet another year.
  7. Raider Pride

    Raider Pride Cheesehead

    Jul 17, 2005
    From the article.

    "The Packers got worse under Thompson before they got better."

    BINGO! That says it all, and one does not need to read the whole article to figure it out. There can be no growth without change, and a temporary step back.

    THAT SAYS IT ALL! That is life, that is a fact for individual people, and that is a fact for business, and the NFL is a business.

    A personal example.

    Years ago I was happy typing with two fingers and hitting perhaps 38 words per minute. I was like a veteran old time reporter, banging away with my two fingers. Then I realized it was not good enough, and I was spending too much time doing what I was doing that could be spent doing things I love that were non-work related.

    So I picked up a typing course.

    I had to set my damn fingers on certain damn keys, I had to type stupid sentences over and over again, and when I worked I had to commit to do it the new way, with my fingers over those stupid keys.

    My typing speed went from 38 words a minute to 15 and it pissed me off. Then I hit 20 words per minute, and then with work 38. I was back where I started.

    Now I am at about 65 words per minute.

    I could have never got to 65 words per minute if I kept banging away with two fingers. It was physically impossible.

    One needs to take a step back to take a step forward. T.T. did that, and many of the moves and changes he made were for the long term betterment of this storied franchise.

    The Packers are in good shape right now as a franchise. The future is bright.

    That is the bottom line.

  8. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

    Jun 5, 2005
    Cal, you post this (about Favre/A-rod, not the TT piece) one day before the Packers playoff game, and I don't think its appropriate.

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