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Thompson Turns over Roster

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by yooperfan, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    roster
    By LORI NICKEL
    lnickel@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: Oct. 15, 2006
    Green Bay - Mike Sherman's imprint is still visible on the Green Bay Packers.
    The former general manager and coach had the door and frame from Vince Lombardi's old office relocated to the new entryway of the head coach's office; he had three slabs of concrete, across which some of the greatest Packers once tread, moved from the old north tunnel floor to the new tunnel; and he played a big role in the design of the 64- by 120-foot, football-shape locker room when Lambeau Field's renovation was completed in 2003.

    But most of the players Sherman once filled that locker room with have been shown the door.

    When Ted Thompson took over as the Packers' general manager on Jan. 14, 2005, displacing Sherman from that role, an overhaul of the roster began.

    Thompson has cut dozens players or simply let their contracts expire. Others left in free agency or trades.

    We're not talking training camp bodies. They were big names. Javon Walker. Ahmad Carroll. Mike Wahle. Darren Shaper. Ryan Longwell.

    Constant roster change is the way things often work in the National Football League, and Thompson was braced to make changes the day he took over.

    "We had in our mind, like we talked about when I first got here, we would try to make this the best team with the best players that we could possibly have," Thompson said early last week. "And we tried to create competition at every position and I think maybe (the turnover), that's the result of it."

    When looking at the Packers' 2006 roster, what stands out most is what's missing: numerous players hand-picked by Sherman who are no longer there (see accompanying graphic). Some of them aren't even playing football anymore.

    Thompson has kept as many players selected by Ron Wolf as those selected by Sherman, even though Wolf's last draft was in 2000 and Sherman's drafts were from 2001-'04.

    Only seven players who were drafted by Sherman remain in a Packers uniform: Robert Ferguson, David Martin, Scott Wells, Nick Barnett, Aaron Kampman, Corey Williams and Kevin Barry. Free agent Colin Cole was Sherman's, too.

    Wolf has seven draft picks still kicking around Lombardi Ave.: Brett Favre, William Henderson, Mark Tauscher, Chad Clifton, Donald Driver, Bubba Franks and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, and two distinctly Wolf free-agent acquisitions in Ahman Green and Rob Davis.

    "The veteran guys that have been here from Ron's day were kept over by Mike Sherman, so obviously they were good players," Thompson said. "Their longevity probably speaks for itself. In terms of the turnover, I think that's just the way it's worked out."

    Then Thompson laughed a little, as if he knew what everyone was thinking, and said, "We don't have any favorites here."

    There hasn't been an uproar, necessarily, over the loss of Sherman's draft picks. But it's another story with the free agents. At the end of the 2005 season, 17 players were eligible for free agency. Ryan Longwell, Craig Nall, Tony Fisher, Mike Flanagan and Grady Jackson were among those who went elsewhere.

    The big free-agent losses, Mike Wahle, Marco Rivera and Darren Sharper two years ago, were lured away by substantially higher paydays.

    "Most of the fellas that left in free agency, we would have liked to have kept and tried to keep and it just didn't work out from a monetary standpoint," Thompson said.

    Walker, perhaps Sherman's best pick, became unhappy soon after Thompson took over and wouldn't stop demanding a trade, which he finally received to Denver.

    There were other players to whom Sherman gave second, third and maybe even more chances, like defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt, whom Thompson had no need for.

    Thompson hasn't spared his own picks, either. The Arturo Freeman-Earl Little experiment didn't last. William Whitticker was a Thompson draft pick, a starter, who was cut. Thompson gave project player Mike Hawkins a shot but gave up.

    He traded away his own free agent diamond in the rough, Samkon Gado, when it was realized he wouldn't fit in with the Packers' run blocking scheme.

    Thompson even gave Sherman a two-year contract extension roughly half a year before he ended up firing him.

    "This is reasonably normal, around the league," Thompson said. "Even with established teams, there's changeover. Every player, every individual, there are different circumstances surrounding that. With Darren Sharper, it was technically a cut but it had more to do with the contract and the situation than anything else. Sometimes we feel like the players that are in competition were better than the players that we released."

    Thompson doesn't scout many Saturday college football games in person because he's usually with the Packers. Instead, he travels to about three schools a week, starting on Tuesday, beginning his day at 7 a.m. and watching tape until 2 p.m. Then he talks to the coaches, watches practice and writes reports.

    He doesn't intentionally keep his distance from the players. He rotates from drill sessions to lockers to mingle.

    "I made it a point to speak to the team at the beginning of the season that my door is always open," Thompson said. "Some are more comfortable talking to me than others. The older guys are fine; the younger guys are a little more hesitant."

    So all of these moves are not change for the sake of change, and these cuts - Carroll and Joey Thomas come to mind - aren't meant to send a message to produce or else.

    "These are grown men we're dealing with, and they can take whatever they want from a particular situation," Thompson said. "But it's too important, for the player's lives and the good of this organization, to do things haphazardly. We think things through pretty hard. That doesn't mean we're always correct but we do think things through and we try to be very sober-minded when we do that."

    As for the imprint Thompson has made on the Packers so far, it's not complete. He won't even single out the handful of players he expects to help turn around a 1-4 team.

    "I don't think you can ever afford to ever get content" as a general manager, Thompson said. "You can be pleased with the progress of the team and I am. I know that we've lost games, but I think we're getting better; our guys are playing better as a team.

    "It's a little disappointing to all of us, I am sure the players as well. I feel bad for the team because (the loss to St. Louis) was a perfect example where we played well enough to win that game and in the end we didn't. I feel bad for the team, but I think this team is getting better, and I think we're improving in a number of areas. We're just going to have to stay with it and that's the difficult part. When you don't get rewarded for your good play, you wind up losing another game, that's difficult to take, but in the NFL you have to bounce back and go again."
     
  2. GakkofNorway

    GakkofNorway Cheesehead

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    since when did Favre become one of Wolf's draft picks?
     
  3. spardo62

    spardo62 Cheesehead

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    The same time that Green was acquired as a free agent.
     
  4. GakkofNorway

    GakkofNorway Cheesehead

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    do people actually pay to get these flawless articles?
     
  5. porky88

    porky88 Cheesehead

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    Very flawless article...

    Sharper, Wahle, and Rivera were here before Sherman was here.

    Also no mention of Sherman draft picks NOT being in the NFL right now.
     
  6. Bobby Roberts

    Bobby Roberts Cheesehead

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    Many obvious mistakes in the article, but the point is still the same. There are very few players that Sherman brought in that are still on this roster. TT has cleared house, which is why we are the youngest team in the NFL.
     
  7. wpr

    wpr Cheesehead

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    Yeah I kept going back to see who wrote this article. The mistakes distract from the message.
     
  8. PackerChick

    PackerChick Cheesehead

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    Hey I like the new format here. Has anyone noticed? We have ingore buttons, applaud and smite? offline notification cool
     
  9. wpr

    wpr Cheesehead

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    I saw it too PC. Since I haven't been online for a few days (sick PC) I didn't know when Ryan made the upgrades.
    I like them. :jumpsmile:
     
  10. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    It is lazy journalism on an old off season topic.

    I guess she had to turn in something during the bye week but it doesn't warrant a paycheck. There have been many threads here on the topic that were far more accurate.

    Sharper and Wahle were cut not lured away for higher paydays. Arturo Freeman and Little were not draft picks.

    Imagine "Thompson will not single out a handful of players he expects to turn around a 1-4 team." Journalistic arrogance. As if writing an article can change anything.

    However, she did use the word "whom" multiple times and appropriately.
    I still like her more than Braun.
     
  11. calicheesehead

    calicheesehead Cheesehead

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    I noticed we also let go a player named "Shaper" to FA. Got to love the proof reading. I guess you should just "Ingore" the comments!
     

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