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Oates: Thompson uses Steelers' defense as model

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by GakkofNorway, May 1, 2006.

  1. GakkofNorway

    GakkofNorway Cheesehead

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    MON., MAY 1, 2006 - 12:39 AM
    Oates: Thompson uses Steelers' defense as model
    TOM OATES
    608-252-6172
    toates@madison.com

    GREEN BAY - When it comes to articulating his plan for rebuilding the Green Bay Packers, general manager Ted Thompson has been less than forthcoming in his 16 months on the job.

    It became abundantly clear during the NFL draft over the weekend, however, that Thompson is indeed following a blueprint as he tries to remake the Packers in the wake of their first losing season since 1991.

    That blueprint is the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

    "Their defense is outstanding," Thompson said. "They have a good, solid offense - what they do is wham the ball, throw the ball on play-action - but they play defense and get turnovers. Obviously, defense is unbelievably important. You can't win a championship without a defense."

    The Packers have been trying to do that, without success, for several seasons now. But the previous plan - surround quarterback Brett Favre with as many weapons as possible - has officially been scrapped. Physical, nasty defense is back in style in Green Bay.

    That became obvious when Thompson took Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk with the fifth overall pick in the draft despite having options that would have given Favre a dangerous new offensive toy in his 15th and, presumably, final season.

    Many in the NFL think the fifth pick is too high for a linebacker, reserving top- 10 spots for quarterbacks, running backs, offensive tackles and pass- rushers. However, most of them watched the Packers linebacking corps (other than Nick Barnett) last season.

    "This is an upgrade," linebackers coach Winston Moss said. "That's an understatement."

    Actually, the entire defense has been upgraded. While Favre and Packers fans have been urging Thompson to make significant moves in free agency and the draft to improve an offense that ran out of big-play threats last season, the GM has spent the last two months quietly improving the defense.

    He imported cornerback Charles Woodson, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and safety Marquand Manuel via free agency and offered defensive end Aaron Kampman enough to keep him out of the free-agent pool. Then he drafted Hawk and, two rounds later, took another extremely productive Big Ten Conference linebacker, Abdul Hodge of Iowa.

    If Woodson can still run and react like the Pro Bowl cornerback he once was, which is no sure thing, those additions will immediately improve a defense that was solid last season but had no playmakers and couldn't get off the field at critical times.

    "I think our defense is better today than it was at the start of free agency," Thompson said. "(By) adding the guys that we added and keeping the guys that we kept, I think we have a chance to have a pretty good defense. And I think these young guys are going to infuse a little something to it."

    What Thompson has done is infused talent at all three levels on defense. Pickett, a former first-round pick, was a four-year starter at St. Louis and should be better than any tackle on the roster. Hawk and Hodge will add considerable juice at linebacker. In the secondary, Manuel is a more physical presence than Mark Roman at safety and Woodson has the size and know-how that struggling Ahmad Carroll can't provide at corner.

    More important, Thompson added potential playmakers in Woodson and Hawk to a defense that forced only 36 turnovers the past two seasons, the fewest in the NFL. Hawk, in particular, was attractive because of his ability to make game-changing plays.

    "Absolutely," Moss said. "That's what we got him for."

    Actually, Hawk's attitude will help change the Packers defense, too.

    "I think you win games with a great, nasty defense," he said, "and that's what I'm looking forward to."
     
  2. ahaug82

    ahaug82 Cheesehead

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    Nice article. I can't wait to watch this defense crack some skulls next year!!
     
  3. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    I like our defense, but Pittsburgh runs a 3-4 defense. That is nothing like our defense. Pittsburgh defense is good. Our defense will be good. That's about the only thing they have in common, in my opinion.
     
  4. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    I think he was speaking in terms of attitude and demeanor of the types of players you put on the field on defense.

    Tough, nasty players who look to punish the opponent. Wow...haven't had that since Wayne Simmons.
     
  5. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    OOPS...my bad, if that is what he meant.
     
  6. Packnic

    Packnic Cheesehead

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    he didnt say we have the same system dude....

    the same mentality that defense is where it starts.... they fuel everything off of their unbelievable game changing defense... thats what were trying to do... not copy their system.... if you wanna pick straws we also dont have a long haired hawaiin on the defense...
     
  7. tonytokes

    tonytokes Cheesehead

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    That's some sarcasm right? :lol:

    I said it before and I'll say it now... I just think the Packer's D of old has really personified the personality of our previous coaches. They might have been masterminds (arguably in some cases) but they lacked intensity and we've never in the BF era had a defense that flew around and actually made tackles.

    I think those times are coming to a close.
     
  8. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    TT drafts "football players", not athletes who dabble in football for a paycheck, parties and p@ssy.

    Big difference...all these draftees have multi-year production, strong work habits, character and recognition of their performance at the team/conference/national level.
     
  9. DePack

    DePack Cheesehead

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    Get the burr outta your arse. I misread it. What the hell is going on here today? Why are people so defensive?
     
  10. digsthepack

    digsthepack Cheesehead

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    Weeks of conditioning.
     

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