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What's Thompson thinking???

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Bruce, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce Cheesehead

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    Good Lord, is Cliff in trouble for writing the following in today's blog:

    What's Thompson thinking?

    It's common among NFL owners, GMs, coaches, players, etc., to turn to people they have a history with or some connection to. Take Ted Thompson for example. After his playing career ended in 1984, he tried to get into coaching, but couldn't land a job. Tried the business world and didn't like it, and was drifting through life when Ron Wolf hired him as assistant director of pro personnel in 1992. Thompson's connection to the Packers? None other than that he played eight years in Houston with Mike Reinfeldt, who was the Packers' chief financial officer at the time and who had a history with Wolf.

    Thompson climbed the ladder in Green Bay to director of pro personnel, then director of player personnel before joining Mike Holmgren and Reinfeldt in Seattle. When Thompson returned to Green Bay as general manager in 2005, it was largely because of his history with the Packers and that he was a good fit at a time when the organization was being reshuffled.

    Nothing wrong with any of that. That's how the NFL works.

    But twice in the last year, Thompson's judgment in reconnecting with people from his past was enough to at least raise eyebrows.

    The first was when he interviewed his old coach, Wade Phillips, for the Packers' head coaching job before hiring Mike McCarthy. Had Thompson hired Phillips, fans and media would have reacted as though he just hired the second coming of Scooter McLean. Not that Phillips isn't a good football coach and that Thompson maybe couldn't learn something from the interview, but the perception is that Phillips is a retread.

    So why bother with the interview?

    The latest was when Thompson brought wide receiver Koren Robinson, a player he had drafted in Seattle who had recently been charged with drunken driving among other felonies, to Green Bay for a visit.

    No GM wants to leave any stone unturned in the pursuit of talent. That was one of the keys to Wolf's success.

    But, again, why bother in Robinson's case? Why alarm the good fans of Green Bay that this guy might some day be driving their streets polluted to the gills? Why suggest that with the return of losing so might the dark days of the 1980s when players were piling up more rap sheets than touchdowns?

    In both cases, and particularly the most recent, Thompson raised questions about his judgment and instincts.

    Why with so little to gain?
     
  2. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    lmao, this article was pointless.

    WHY did TT do this? WHY did TT do that?

    um, to look at options? to cover all bases, and look from all angles before making a decision(even if he DID end up making wrong ones).

    oh cliff. I love ya!
     
  3. Bruce

    Bruce Cheesehead

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    Here is Ted sharing a little about what he is thinking:

    Getting to know Ted Thompson

    General manager opens up a bit during sit-down

    Ted Thompson took over as general manager of the Green Bay Packers in January of 2005 and put his stamp on the organization a year later by firing Mike Sherman after the Packers posted a 4-12 record and hiring Mike McCarthy to coach the team.

    Thompson has had one season, two drafts and two training camps now as the general manager and has had time to settle into the job.

    Thompson played 10 seasons as a linebacker for the Houston Oilers after making the team as an undrafted free agent. He began his post-playing career in the NFL with the Packers as an assistant to Ron Wolf in 1992, staying through the 1999 season.

    He moved to Seattle and spent five seasons with the Seahawks before being hired as Packer general manager at the recommendation of Wolf.

    Much is known about Thompson's résumé. But who is Thompson the person? What makes him tick? What does he do outside of football? What is he like personally?

    Packer Plus reporter Rick Braun recently sat down with Thompson for a series of questions in hopes of finding out some of those answers.

    Q:So, first things first. Who is Ted Thompson?

    A: I don't know. In terms of trying to articulate who I am, I don't know if that's easy to do. Maybe you can go through some questions and I can philosophize.

    Q: You're a life-long single man. In a story in another publication last spring you revealed that you had come close to getting married on a couple of occasions. What happened?

    A: I thought I had. There's been two, a couple of times I think maybe I messed up. I don't know how to put this. . . . let's just say that I would have liked to have been married. I've been around a lot of families and friends of mine who are fathers, and I think I would have liked to have been a husband and a father.

    Q:Are you resigned to the idea that it's not going to happen now?

    A: The time constraints of this job are fairly extensive, so having enough time for dating, committing to a relationship and things like that, it would be difficult if you weren't already set and ready to go in a marriage or a long-term relationship. They'd have to be pretty understanding, too.

    Q:On to football. What have you learned in 20 months on the job?

    A: Well, most of it was confirmations of things I already knew, but it's a little bit more intense in terms of every day there are surprises - some good, some bad. I think my personality is one of sort of an even-keel tempo kind of thing. I think that helps me in this job because it can be destructive if you over-react to anything, whether it's good news or bad news.

    So we try to just plug along and do what's right for the Packers every day and in every situation. Sometimes you don't know. It's not always a clear-cut answer there, so you listen to advice and you listen to counsel and you try to make the best decision that you can. And you always have to be honest with yourself. You can't kid yourself saying, "Well, this is going to be OK." You've got to be honest and say you made a mistake and, "Let's rectify this mistake," or "This is the way it needs to be because of these reasons."

    You can't just make stuff up. This isn't fantasy football. It affects peoples' lives and livelihood. Not only the coaches, but scouts - and certainly the players this time of year during the final cut-downs.

    Q: So the hardest part is admitting a mistake and moving on?

    A: I don't know if it's the hardest part, but it's a sobering part in that you have to say, "OK, we messed up here. This is not going to work. So what do we do? How do we fix it?" You go about trying to fix it rather than trying to cover up a mistake.

    You just say, "OK, that's the way it goes." Probably the very worst part of anybody that's associated with coaching or administration in the NFL is that over the course of the next couple weeks we have to tell a number of young men that they're not going to be on our team. Ever since 1992 when I got into this, and even when I was playing, those are the hardest days. That won't change. Those will always be the hardest days.

    Q:When you got to Green Bay, how uncomfortable was working as Mike Sherman's boss after all those years of him being the general manager and coach?

    A: It was a little awkward, but I always felt like Mike was very gracious and understanding. He never showed any bitterness to me or an unwillingness to work together. So that wasn't a problem, and it was because of him being that way that made it a little more comfortable. But it's always a little different. All of a sudden you're in a conversation with other people and something that Mike used to do, all of a sudden I'm doing. There were some awkward moments, but I think because of the kind of person that Mike Sherman is, I think he helped out there.

    Q: What jumped out to you about Mike McCarthy?

    A: I liked his demeanor. I like the fact that he's a tough guy and he understands exactly what kind of football player he wants on our team. He has the ability to see the big picture as well as focus on the little things that I think are very, very important for a team in discipline and things like that. But I think it was the whole package. There wasn't any one overriding thing. It was the whole package. It was a gut call where I felt like he was the right person at the right time for this place.

    Q:Your demeanor in public might lead someone to think you're somewhat shy and would rather be in your office watching film. Is that accurate?

    A: I'm comfortable enough in front of crowds and people. It's difficult when I'm talking about myself or something. I'm not ever going to be confused with the nightly anchor on Channel 5 or anything like that. But I'm comfortable enough in my own skin that I'm able to do that.

    I like to make sure that all the media is informed and understands why we make certain decisions, but there are certain things that we don't talk about that we think it's private business.

    It's not necessarily private in that this is a public institution, but it's proprietary information, and we don't necessarily like to discuss those things.

    Q:In other words, you can't be out there giving away team secrets?

    A: That, and some things . . . we don't do a lot of talking to try to be glib or joke around because all of this stuff affects peoples' lives. People can talk and be critical of a player in a pre-season game, but our marching orders here - and that's what we believe in, both Mike and I - is that we don't make fun of anybody.

    If somebody doesn't quite measure up and doesn't make it, then he did his best and we pat him on the back and move on. But we're not going to try to be glib about it.

    Q: What do you find to be more of a success, finding a high pick who becomes a star or finding an undiscovered guy who makes it?

    A: I think probably the intrigue in the scouting end of it is to be able to find that nugget that is maybe overlooked. And it's always a credit to that player. I may get the credit, but the real credit should go to that player. He comes in with the odds stacked against him and overcomes all these odds to make it in the NFL and become a productive player. I think the strength of your drafts are always measured probably from in the second day. The first day, I think your players should become pretty good players.

    Q:The early indications of your 2006 draft seem to be positive. Are you happy with it thus far?

    A: Yeah, so far. I think as a group they look like they fit in very well. They don't necessarily appear to be overwhelmed with anything. They're competing, they like football, they're tough guys. I think they'll be great additions to this organization for years to come. Having said that, we haven't played a regular-season game yet. So the proof is in the pudding, as I've said before. But we feel pretty good about it right now.

    Q:Your draft class appears to feature a lot of what could be termed "smart" players. Is that a major factor in your analysis of players?

    A: Well, we believe that the guys we took this year, almost to a man, were competitive, tough guys. They were smart, they knew how to play the game of football and they wanted to play. I think you have to like the game. There are people that play this game because they're good at it. Not because they like it, but because they're good at it and they've always played it and they've always been involved in sports and you just kind of graduate and all of a sudden you're in the NFL. I think it's important to find guys that really like the game.

    Q:What do you find the most fulfilling part of your job right now?

    A: I think as a team and as an organization, the growth and - not necessarily the success, but seeing people work together and seeing people enjoy themselves when they come to work. Especially with the Green Bay Packers. You should have a little skip in your step when you come to work. You should enjoy coming in and seeing the people that are here and interacting and things like that.

    But this being this time of the year, the intriguing thing in this game is seeing the team come together. The chemistry of the team, the leaders stepping forward and seeing that come naturally. Because in this day and age, you don't have the guys that have been there forever. You have a few, but mostly you have new guys coming in and young guys coming in and you see that team coming together and the dynamics of that form I think is fulfilling to watch.

    Q: So that's the fulfilling part. What is your favorite part?

    A: My favorite part of my job is probably watching the game. Obviously you like to watch the game. But the putting things together. We're doing a lot of tape study on pre-season games right now and we're watching a number of players that we might be involved in in trades or maybe we might consider as a claim and bring him in and add him to our team.

    That intrigue in trying to figure out what another team is going to do with a particular player or a group of players at a position. I think that's always fun. And that's sort of the same thing as leading up to the draft, and what's going to be going on with the teams in front of you and the teams behind you and how you can maneuver and all that sort of thing.

    And then actually seeing that player, whether it's through a waiver claim or through the draft, come in and actually perform the way that you predicted him to. Because it's not an exact science. You're sort of taking human beings and assuming they're going to be like this when they get here, and sometimes it doesn't work that way.

    Q:What's your least favorite part?

    A: It's having to tell someone that at this particular place at this particular time that we can't use them on our football team. Everybody that's ever played, unless you're fortunate enough to walk off into the sunset and retire, is going to get released.

    So we've all been through it and it's a difficult time because these players kind of put themselves at risk. I mentioned this the other day, you're at risk because all of a sudden - and it shouldn't be this way - there will be a certain amount of shame because they have to go back to their old neighborhoods and say, "I didn't make it," when all summer long they've been thinking they were going to be part of the Green Bay Packers.

    Q:Those guys who get to retire are pretty rare, aren't they?

    A: Yeah, it's rare. Because most people, as well they should . . . I was exactly the same way. I played 10 years but I felt like I should have played 12 or 13. It's fun. It's sort of prolonging your childhood in some ways.

    It's a grown man's game, but you're still getting to play a game and you're getting to make a living and provide for your family by playing a game, and it's hard to walk away from.

    Q: What do you do besides football?

    A: I read a lot. I play some golf in the summertime.

    Q:Is golf the competitive outlet for a former player?

    A: I guess. I'm not very competitive at it. I used to be a halfway decent player, but I don't play the game very well now. I like to play. Golf is a consuming thing because it requires repetition and consistency and being able to duplicate a swing over and over and over the exact same way. I obviously can't do that, but to watch the good ones do that is interesting to see.

    You hit some good shots and think, "I've fixed it and now I'm ready to go." But anyone who's ever played the game realizes that that's not the case.

    Q:And you probably know you'll never have the time to work that much at it, right?

    A: It requires a little time, but it's still fun to play. And I think that's the beauty of the game because even if you're not very good at it because you're competing against yourself. You're not competing necessarily against other people, you're competing against, "Well, I shot 100 yesterday, I'd like to shoot 98 today."

    Q:How, as an ex-player, did you get into the personnel side instead of coaching, and what takes some former players one way and others another?

    A: Well, getting into the NFL, whether it be in coaching or personnel, is sort of being in the right place at the right time.

    I thought after my playing career was over that I would probably like to get into coaching because I had always been around the game and I felt like I could add something to the mix. But that opportunity never came around and then in 1992, when Ron was hired here, he was looking for another guy to grind out tape in the pro personnel department, and Mike Reinfeldt, who was working here at the time and now works in Seattle, recommended me to Ron and I came up on sort of a trial.

    Q:If you weren't in football, what do you think you would you be doing?

    A: I don't know. I don't know. My studies in college revolved around business and finance and investments and things like that. I dabbled in that in the time period between where I quit playing and when I came up here in 1992. But I don't know.

    Q:When you look at a prospect, what do you see first, his numbers such as bench presses and 40 times or other intangibles?

    A: No. 1, I think you have to watch tape or see them play live. You have to watch them play the game and see how they are as football players.

    Some people are not going to be that impressive when you first put your eyeballs on them and see what they look like, and some people are going to be very impressive and not be able to play a lick.

    So No. 1, you have to watch them play the game. But I do think you have to try to as much as possible to touch the core of that person to see what kind of person he is; how competitive he is; how much of a team guy he is.

    Intelligence we think is important; toughness; being able to get back up off the ground when things aren't going well. All those things kind of add up. But when you get down to the core, tough football players are the kind of people we want here.

    Q:Does your background as an undrafted guy who made it affect your view of players?

    A: No. I don't know that my background has changed me any. Having been sort of a fringe player, a guy that sort of had to fight for his job every training camp, I think you certainly have an appreciation for those guys that come in. They're prepared, they know what they're doing. They're trustworthy and you know you can count on them, but I don't know that that has an over-riding influence on me.

    Q:The goal in the NFL is to win every Sunday and then win the Super Bowl. What's realistic for this team this year?

    A: I don't know. I've seen people try to do that. I don't know that that makes a lot of senseI want our team and our organization to get better every day. I want everybody here - especially the players - to enjoy playing, to have a good time, to play like they were in Little League and play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

    In terms of wins and losses, I think it's very difficult to predict in the NFL and I've never gotten involved in it. I do think we have a chance to be competitive, and we'll see how it goes. But I stay away from predicting.

    But I do want us to come off the field, and even though it's a competitive, hard-fought game, to play the game. And I want our players to have the freedom to play the game.

    Q:Teams have turned things around quickly in today's NFL. After a 4-12 record last year, can you see that happening?

    A: That does occur from time to time. Again, you never know how this team is going to be. Every year is different. This team has changed drastically from the final game last year in terms of our personnel. Whether that means we're going to win more games or not win more games, I can't predict that.

    But I think the fans are going to enjoy watching this team play.
     
  4. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    LMAO, what is this Bruce, a mini-series? I love it!
     
  5. 4packgirl

    4packgirl Cheesehead

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    i've read the entire article & i have come to one conclusion...



    ted thompson is...gay!!









    ok, ok...i'm just friggin joking! thanks for the very informational posts, bruce - we can always count on you to find the good stuff!! :)
     
  6. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    Perhaps it's just as well TT isn't married. A GM job is too time consuming to give a wife the time she deserves. In reading about Lombardi, I was disappointed that his wife and family were give short shrift because of his total dedication to his team. I'm sure she was a lovely lady but her life must have been hard. I recall a TV interview some years ago with his son. You could tell this guy didn't appreciate his dad as much as he could have. Besides, some guys don't mind being alone. Me? I need my family.
     
  7. Lare

    Lare Cheesehead

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    I thought everybody knew that!
     
  8. pyledriver80

    pyledriver80 Cheesehead

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    Ditto Lare.

    The Robinson thing confused me as well. Then Again so does going into the season with 4 Wr's,4 TE's, 2 rookie OG's, not resigning Wahle, bringing in Borighter,Little,Freeman,Thompson,O'Dwyer, hiring MM, saying OG's are easily replaceable, on and on and on.
     
  9. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    thats the pot calling the kettle black, isnt it coach?
     
  10. PackwillBEback

    PackwillBEback Cheesehead

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    jeez that sounds depressing...he is single and a workaholic?

    Atleast he is a general manager in the NFL....so it isn't all bad for them.
     
  11. WinnipegPackFan

    WinnipegPackFan Cheesehead

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    I, for one; am glad we have a "happy" GM !!!
     
  12. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Cliff contradicts himself there. Nothing wrong with taking a look.

    Who knows, perhaps K-Rob experienced something covert and failed to show overt propertites to lead others on that he was having to deal with depression, sorrow, etc.

    TT has a better understanding of K-Rob the person than most since he scouted him heavily and got to know him as a player. Perhaps he knows something that other people do not, something which might make him think there is hope for K-Rob.

    With the current group of WR's, anything would be an improvement and I would be worried if TT had sat pat and brought in no one.
     
  13. SuperRat

    SuperRat Cheesehead

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    Also we need to keep in mind that if he is signed after week one his salary isn't guaranteed so the team can pull the plug at the first sign of trouble.
     
  14. WinnipegPackFan

    WinnipegPackFan Cheesehead

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    Good points aadp,

    I see a nothing to lose but everything to gain situation here !!!
     
  15. PWT36

    PWT36 Cheesehead

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    According to an article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Koren Robinson was in Green Bay for a visit not a work out, this was put into the official report to the NFL by the Packers. Maybe, Green Bay may be interested in Robinson, if he can get his "life together" in the future. (next year?)

    This does not sound like Packers had any intention of signing him to a contract this year. I don't understand Cliff's Christl's " take" in his article.

    As for Rich Braun article in Packer Plus on Ted Thompson ,there is nothing new in it , if one has been following the Packer's closely, this information on Thompson has been in Green Bay Press-Gazette during the time he arrived here in 2005 to the present.
     
  16. packerfan4ever

    packerfan4ever Cheesehead

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    i have he is a workaholic as for robinson he has a drinking problem and it seems he goes off the wagon for what ever reason if he can sort out his life okay
     
  17. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    I don't understand this comment. What kind of "trouble" could Cliff be in for questioning these actions by Thompson? He has raised a lot more serious questions than that about people in the Packer organization, and so have many others. Do you think he is running the risk of being fired, or harrassed by fans, or what?

    I do agree that both of these actions by Thompson were questionable (interviewing Wade Phillips and meeting with Koren Robinson), and I was very relieved when Thompson chose not to hire Phillips.
     
  18. Bruce

    Bruce Cheesehead

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    Greg: I agree with Cliff and you that both these moves were questionable (at best). I was planning to post both the Christl blog and the Thompson interview so I was just having some fun with the folks who go ballistic anytime anyone dare question Thompson. :wink:
     

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