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Team casts its lot with QB Rodgers

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By BOB MCGINN
    bmcginn@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: April 19, 2008

    Green Bay - To say that the Green Bay Packers are solidly in Aaron Rodgers' corner would be an understatement.

    The Packers don't have a veteran backup for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    The team's general manager, Ted Thompson, believes so wholeheartedly in Rodgers and is so driven to prevent anything from interfering with his development that he has left the Packers vulnerable at the game's most important position.

    Not only did Thompson use the 24th selection of the 2005 draft on Rodgers, he stood by him unwaveringly no matter how bad his man looked in his year or two.

    In the last four months, Thompson has:

    • Refused to beg his Pro Bowl starting quarterback, Brett Favre, to play another year.

    • Declined to meet the Houston Texans' asking price of a second-round draft choice for Sage Rosenfels, the only quarterback with starting capability available via trade.

    • Turned a cold shoulder to 10 competent or semi-competent unrestricted and "street" quarterbacks, seven of whom found new teams. The other three re-signed with existing teams after testing the market.

    • Rushed to get Favre's jersey retired at the season opener, possibly to head off an awkward scenario in which Favre would put out public feelers in June or July that he wished to come back only to discover just how irrevocably the team has moved on with Rodgers.

    Now comes the draft, Saturday and next Sunday, in which, at least to some personnel people in the National Football League, it seems only natural that Green Bay would look to augment a depth chart of Rodgers, Dalton Bell and Jerry Babb. Eminently available, Craig Nall remains unsigned.

    "I mean, their No. 1 need is quarterback," a personnel director for an NFC team said last week. "Absolutely. They need to get somebody in there that they can start developing if Rodgers is a durability risk. He has missed more time than Brett Favre, and he just started."
    Rolling dice with Rodgers

    From the outside, that would be a reasonable assumption. Not only has Rodgers had to sit out 10 of 50 games with foot and hamstring injuries, there's also the matter of his experience and ability level. He has played 121 snaps in three years, obviously without a start.

    Nevertheless, there's no panic in Green Bay. No, far from it.

    From Thompson to coach Mike McCarthy, there's almost a smug air of confidence that Rodgers is destined to do great things.

    For that reason, it appears increasingly unlikely that the Packers will draft a quarterback in the first round, where their 30th pick is the lowest they've been in 11 years, and maybe not even in the second round, where they have the 56th choice from Cleveland in the Corey Williams trade as well as their own 60th pick.

    Look what happened a year ago in Philadelphia after the Eagles took quarterback Kevin Kolb at No. 36. Coach Andy Reid had to spend months convincing everyone that Donovan McNabb still was his guy.

    Obviously, Rodgers isn't McNabb. Not yet, anyway.

    What the Packers apparently don't want to do is bring in another quarterback who, given typical NFL fan perception, would be expected to compete with Rodgers for the starting job. Granted, their second-round choices are near the bottom of the round, but the Packers remain bound and determined to lift pressure from Rodgers, who will be under a ton as it is.

    Earlier in the month, several scouts rated Rodgers on a par with Boston College's Matt Ryan in this quarterback class. Purely as a prospect, Rodgers was rated ahead of Louisville's Brian Brohm, Delaware's Joe Flacco and Michigan's Chad Henne, all of whom could be gone when the first day ends after the second round.

    Almost without question, the Packers will take a quarterback with one of their eight picks. McCarthy places a premium on movement and decision-making skills, and the player also shouldn't be an immediate threat to Rodgers.

    Louisiana State's competitive Matt Flynn would make some sense. So would San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell, a much better athlete than Flynn who also figures to fall in the middle rounds.

    Oregon's dynamic Dennis Dixon appears to be a year away, both in terms of medical (knee) and skill reasons. In time, however, he might flourish under McCarthy's guidance.
    Not willing to spend

    Here's the list of veterans, and their 2008 bonus money, that found new homes since the start of the free-agent signing period Feb. 29: Trent Green ($3 million), Cleo Lemon ($2.95M), Josh McCown ($2.5M), Mark Brunell ($1M), Gus Frerotte ($1M), David Carr ($250,000) and Quinn Gray (none).

    Re-signing with existing teams were Billy Volek ($3M), Chris Redman ($2.75M) and Joey Harrington ($300,000).

    All of them have much stronger résumés or athleticism than Nall, and with their salary cap surplus the Packers could have outspent any team if Thompson had deemed any of them worthy.

    Fearing that J.P. Losman might show dramatic improvement somewhere else, the Buffalo Bills decided to keep him behind Trent Edwards.

    Houston is driving a hard bargain for the 30-year-old Rosenfels, who posted an 84.8 passer rating in five starts for injured Matt Schaub. Concerns over Schaub's recovery from left shoulder surgery reportedly led the Texans to turn down a third-round pick from Minnesota.

    "He's a guy that's right on the cusp of being a starter," one NFC personnel man said, referring to Rosenfels. "A very good No. 2. Not the greatest arm strength but a very intelligent player. He does more than manage games. He's better than anyone in the NFC North."

    Who else is on the unemployment line?

    Look for Daunte Culpepper and Byron Leftwich to wait for an August injury before making a move, but their downfield styles don't fit in Green Bay, anyway. Others would be Kelly Holcomb, Tim Rattay, Tim Hasselbeck and Jamie Martin.

    Seven weeks ago, general manager Phil Savage of the Cleveland Browns traded the 56th pick to the Packers for Williams, who fit a need for a bulky defensive end in his 3-4 defense. After analyzing the defensive ends in the draft, Savage came to the conclusion that the Browns would have been looking at Arkansas' Marcus Harrison.

    "That's why we were more apt to give up the two for Corey Williams," Savage said.

    Thompson could always trade up, and the timing might be right because the Packers still would consider themselves a championship contender. But after trading down 14 times and trading up not once in eight drafts, the odds say Thompson won't.

    With age showing at tackle and cornerback, Thompson could use some high picks at those positions. Down at No. 30, however, it remains to be seen if the sixth-best tackle or the fifth cornerback fits the Packers' requirements.

    Should Thompson move up, he could package the 56th pick to charge into the middle of the first round. By giving up both second-round choices, he could ascend to No. 8 or No. 9.

    This is a draft in which beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The Journal Sentinel asked 20 personnel people for their choice as best player in the draft, and no fewer than six got votes.

    Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey led with 6 1/2, followed by running back Darren McFadden with 5, defensive end Chris Long with 3 1/2, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis with 2 and two players, tackle Jake Long and defensive end Vernon Gholston, with 1 1/2.

    If Thompson had taken the Browns' offer of a 2008 first-round pick to move up from No. 36 to No. 16 last year, he wouldn't have Justin Harrell but perhaps tackle Tony Ugoh (who went No. 42 to Indianapolis) and enough ammunition to move into the top five Saturday.

    "Now we feel there are certain measurables and things it takes to be a productive football player in the NFL," Thompson said. "But my scouts are instructed during the course of the draft to come by and just whisper 'football players' to me about every 20 minutes. And they do it."
     
  2. MassPackersFan

    MassPackersFan Cheesehead

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    This article annoyed me. If you want to criticize Thompson, don't try to hide it behind a poorly designed article about something else.
     
  3. tkpckfan

    tkpckfan Cheesehead

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    yea i guess some people just haven't learned to have patience with Thompson yet. they expect to overpay for a backup qb making starter money. or expect him to be dan snyder and overpay for a **** load of free agents. (the past snyder anyways.)

    people just be patient thompson will find the right players for this team and fill the needs of this team.
     
  4. MassPackersFan

    MassPackersFan Cheesehead

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    It blows my mind that he managed to sound pissed about not spending a 2nd rounder on Rosenfels.
     
  5. Cal2GreenBay

    Cal2GreenBay Cheesehead

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    Rattay has been in the WCO for 5-6 years. He would be a great backup to Aaron.
     
  6. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    David Carr at $250,000? Isn't that below league minimum?
     
  7. Krazygangsta

    Krazygangsta Cheesehead

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    Rattay is probably the best option out there ... no need to waste pick and no big salary
     
  8. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    I read this article differently than others here. I think McGinn is just stating the facts rather than being critical of Thompson, and noting that some people around the league are surprised that Thompson hasn't done more to shore up the QB position by now. I'm not worried, myself. Rodgers is highly motivated, so he doesn't need anyone to compete with him for the job. All I want is a competent backup or two--preferably one veteran and one young guy.
     
  9. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

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    at least now we know what they're whispering into Thompson's ear, because I gotta tell ya, I was beginning to wonder.
     

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