I'd like to respond to, if that's the right phrase, Tom Silverstein's assessment of Ted Thompson's approach, or lack thereof, to free agency this offseason. In this morning's Packers Daily Briefing, Silverstein states:
The problem I see with this philosophy is what happens when one of your draft classes isn't any good? There is so much pressure on you to be right in the draft that if you have an off year, it absolutely destroys you. There's no room for error. To me, that's exactly what happened with the 2007 draft class.
DT Justin Harrell, the guy who should have provided the most impact, has offered nothing for two years. RB Brandon Jackson came out of college too early and wasn't ready to be anything more than a spot player. WR James Jones was the bright spot of the draft, but an injury ruined his development last year. S Aaron Rouse and OT Allen Barbre have been disappointments. FB Korey Hall has been solid, LB Desmond Bishop flashed ability last year but clearly wasn't ready to start, K Mason Crosby has had his ups and downs and RB DeShawn Wynn is a developmental player.
If you want to know part of the reason why the Packers were 6-10 last year, there it is.
I would point out that Silverstein has some very conveniently colored (for his argument) assessments of the players in question. With Harrell, of course, he is spot on. With Jackson, however, he is way off. Sure, Jackson was not ready in 2007 - but last year he was the best back on the team. He should have at LEAST made a push for more carries after the Carolina game, if not been handed the starting job outright. But for whatever reason, McCarthy, Philbin and Bennett feel the need to stick with Grant as the featured back. That's not Jackson's or Thompson's fault - that's mishandling the personnel on hand - that's one of the many coaching decisions that produced a 6-10 record. Next he points to James Jones and how his injury 'ruined his development'. Um - so what? It's not like Thompson didn't have a deep stable of receivers at the ready in case of such a development. In fact, I would counter that Thompson's drafting of Jordy Nelson, in the face of a lot of criticism, offset whatever loss was felt from Jones' injury. And on and on...
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."