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Championship Window Remains Open But Thompson Has Work To Do

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Championship Window Remains Open But Thompson Has Work To Do

The sting of watching his team lay a gigantic, historically awful egg in the NFL playoffs directly after watching that same team record the greatest regular season record ever in Green Bay Packers history, will not fade any time soon for general manager Ted Thompson. He is now left with a litany of decisions to make, each important, each having an impact on the fortunes of the Packers going forward.

As long as Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers reside in Titletown, the Packers will remain one of the better teams in the NFL. The window for winning championships remains wide open. But as Packers fans remember only too well after watching their team fall to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl - just because you think your team has lots of time to get back to the ultimate game, doesn't mean they will.

Thompson, obviously, knows this. However, fans looking for a quick fix or dramatic moves will no doubt be disappointed. No Reggie White-like signing is on the horizon to bolster the anemic pass rush. No blockbuster trade is in the offing for a stud outside linebacker to pair with Clay Matthews.

No, Thompson will do as he's always done. He will deal first with his own pending free agents (Andrew Brandt has an excellent overview of the decisions awaiting Thompson in this area.) He will let the other teams spend silly money - hot dog stand talent for steak restaurant prices, as Tom Silverstein once put it - and take a look at the free agents on the second and third tier. And, of course, he will use the draft as a means of pumping in new talent into the roster.

A word about the draft - don't fall into the mentality that says Thompson "has to" use his first or second round pick on any one particular position. Thompson has proven time and again that he will take the best football player on his board, regardless of where they play. Yes, he went away from that a bit when the team was implementing a new defensive scheme, but with the schemes set and established, look for him to continue to stockpile picks and take good football players with each selection.

The deficiencies displayed during Sunday's game won't be fixed by one personnel move or by firing someone. They will be  fixed using Thompson's usual understated approach. Fans wanting splashy headlines are sure to be disappointed.

The Packers won 15 games and lost 2 this season. Drastic changes are not needed nor expected. Improvements will be made and the Packers will be right back in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy in 2012. That is a great place for any franchise to be and Packers fans should recognize how lucky they are to be in the position to cheer for such a quality organization year in and year out.

Aaron Rodgers was correct when he said after Sunday's game that championships are what's expected in Green Bay. Under Thompson and McCarthy, that will never change. But failing to bring home the title will not cause them to lose their heads the way Philadelphia's decision makers did last summer.

In Ted We Trust.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (91) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

Before my comment I'd like to state for the record that I believe 100% in TT and trust he'll do what's best for the team.

That said, don't you think the needs on defense this off-season are as great and clear as they were when he was first implementing the 3-4 in 2009?

chuck's picture

Maybe, maybe not. A lot depends on Collins. The year of the "move" we had a lot of guys playing (trying) new positions. All the linebacker positions were new for Hawk, Kampman. Pickett went to a pure nose takle, Jenkins to a DE. Plus the safeties were unknown how they would play in 3-4. I really think we have two needs, maybe three if Collins retires. Last time we took Burnett in the 3rd round. We need another capable DL, and another outside linebacker. We need a pass rush and a lot of the other things will take care of themselves. PS wouldn't mind to see Woody move to safety if Collins retires.

Evan's picture

Yeah, those are good points.

I just feel like the pass rush need (both from OLB and DL) is so dire, that I'd have to force myself into a "In Ted We Trust" meditation if I see another OT taken in the 1st.

As for Woody to safety, I honestly don't know enough about defensive Xs and Os to weigh in on that. At first blush, it seems to make sense. But I'd love to read a post by Aaron or Brian on it.

CSS's picture

Moving to safety is far from a slam-dunk. Fans take for grated how difficult it is to learn angles with the speed in the NFL. Playing the football as a corner when you're on top of the speed/athlete is far different than timing your game with that same fast athlete bearing down on you from radically different angle.

He may not be able to do it. It's not easy.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Dude, Collins ain't coming back.

Evan's picture

How can you be so sure?

Bob's picture

Can you name one player who has ever played football after spinal fusion.

jonnyo's picture

Ed Reed

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Damn close.

packeraaron's picture

Not really, Evan. A quality defensive end and a starting-caliber safety will go a long way to fixing what ails this defense.

Evan's picture

You think a quality DE is a bigger need than OLB?

packeraaron's picture

<em>You think a quality DE is a bigger need than OLB?</em>

Very much so.

Ruppert's picture

I think we really need 2 DEs, honestly. IMO, Ryan Pickett is the only quality DE we have. And even he doesn't bring any pass rush, and he's getting old.

packeraaron's picture

Right. Baby steps.

Taylor's picture

Agreed. I was very hesitant to admit it, but the loss of Jenkins hurt us more-so than the lackluster play of Jones/Walden/Zombo.

That's not to say that position should be neglected. But 1st round talent may be better spent at DE, in my opinion.

FITZCORE1252&#039;s EVO's picture

We also need more than just 'a guy' at the other OLB spot.

Idiot Fan's picture

Well, the "good" news is that TT could draft pretty much any defensive player in the first round and it would help fill a need that we have.

Personally, I want JJ Watt's long lost twin brother in round 1.

jack in jersey city's picture

we still might have something with mike neal. yes, he was god awful when he played this season but he was coming off of an injury and i have a sneaking suspicion that he was playing hurt when he came back. give the guy a little time to get healthy and go through an entire offseason program. that said, yes, we need 2 DE's, a very good OLB, and possibly another safety or cornerback and we should be good to go. i really hope tramon and sam shield return to the great players they were in 2010. both of those guys were very disappointing this year.

CSS's picture

I have a question before understanding how Neal fits: What is McCarthy, Thompson and Capers's vision of what they really want this defense to be when it grows up (full maturity with personnel)?

Do they want a traditional 3-4 where they can run plays out of base? Then Neal is more of a situational nickle rusher to me, not a full-time 5-technique.

Do they see an NFL that's going to pass even more with RB &amp; TE athletic mis-matches? Then a true 5-technique isn't as important as nickle rushers and depth at DB in your nickle and dime formations.

That's my question, what is their final vision of this defense? No, not the version of what they 'have to do' following a personnel assessment in OTA's and training camp.

Then I think you have your answer as to what Neal is. Even as a nickle rusher he's basically a full-time player in today's NFL (majority of the snaps).

Jeremy's picture

I had basically the same surgery Mike Neal had and I can't fathom playing football in the trenches after just two months. I lost a considerable amount of strength in my knee because the nervous system sensed the intrusion and shut down muscles. I also lost a ton of flexibility because of the scar tissue. The human body did not evolve to be surgically repaired. As far as it's concerned when you damage a joint it's for life, and it's going to lock down to stop you from furthering the damage. Let's give him some time.

Oppy's picture

Jeremy, sorry to hear about your injury.

But to be fair, Nick Collins is almost assuredly getting a completely different level of care- both in terms of the surgical procedure itself, and the rehab- than you have had access to.

Virtually unlimited resources with the ability to put the absolute best surgeons and specialists who have focused their studies specifically on sports medicine... Well, that can make all the difference in the world.. Not to mention, there is something to be said about how the body of an average joe responds to and recovers from surgical stress compared to the body of a world class professional athlete.

It still may be a long shot for Collins to make it back, but I don't know that it would be accurate to compare your surgery/treatment/rehab with whatever it is that Collins has gone through or the results it will yield.

CSS's picture

Great article. The Packers have a talented top-to-bottom roster as a byproduct of staying 'true to his board'. They good teams (rightfully so) place a premium on staffing related to scouting the amateur ranks. You stack your draft board in ascending order of talent and athletic ability for a reason, reaching for prospects out of need leads to more 'misses' than hits.

I won't scream at my TV for 1 second on draft day if the Packers draft board has a #10 rated Guard or ILB slide to them at the 28 spot and they take him. Especially if the next rated 'need' prospect is rated somewhere in the 2nd round.

That being said, they'll pay a lot of attention to how their board is stacked horizontally by position this year. They've got the athletic bodies they need (finally) on special teams.

Two things that will be interesting:

1) Packers have a lot of picks and the financial burden of moving up is far less under the current CBA, so it's at least more feasible now to target a prospect your draft board says has 'trade value'.

2) You have to wonder how McKenzie with the Raiders will impact Thompson's maneuvering considering he's likely to look for personnel that will run a similar offensive/defensive philosophy. And he knows how the Packers were stacking their board pre-combine/pro day.

lebowski's picture

Thanks to the Raiders' previously inept regime, they only have two draft picks this year, and the first isn't until the 5th round. No need to worry about McKenzie this year.

CSS's picture

Great point.

fish/crane's picture

Poor McKenzie- if he were a bit more patient he'd be in Chicago right now with draft picks and a decent organization.

CSS's picture

It's an organization of dysfunction when the owner insisted on the retention of the coaching staff without analysis from an actual football person (presumably the future GM). I realize those jobs are few and far in-between, but that's reason enough to not take the job.

hobot's picture

I actually think with the new CBA that the financial burden of moving up is GREATER. High draft picks are not acquring albatross contracts anymore and thus higher picks are not as much of a strain on bad teams.

CSS's picture

The full-term of a modern CBA rookie contract is less than the guarantee in a rookie contract alone under the prior CBA, let alone the life of that contract. I don't understand.

Idiot Fan's picture

I think (or I'm guessing) that s/he's saying that, since the monetary burden is smaller now for those top picks, teams want them even more than before, which means that it could cost more in terms of draft picks in order to move up. That's my thinking anyway.

Josh Griesbach's picture

I disagree with the premise that Ted takes the "best guy available"; at least in the first round. It seems that Ted only uses the pick on certain positions. I don't think we'll see him draft a WR, RB, MLB, or S that early. Typically, Ted's first round has been reserved for football's premier positions. (OT, DL, Rush OLB, QB). The only outlier was AJ Hawk who Ted took because he was the surest bet of anyone else available at the pick. (Vernon Davis, Michael Huff, Donte Whitner, Ernie Sims, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler) Also partially why Ted seemed so enamored with Vince Young. I'd be surprised if TT doesn't take an OLB or DE with his first round pick, assuming there's one available that is remotely close to a 1st round grade. I could see the Packers target OLB Melvin Ingram, OLB Whitney Mercilus, DE Jared Crick, OLB Nick Perry, or DT Dontari Poe assuming they stand pat and draft at 28.

packeraaron's picture

That's fair, and you're right - he certainly doesn't just take the top guy on his board regardless.

CSS's picture

I would honestly love to be on the inside and know what, 'remotely close' actually is. He places a premium on round 1&amp;2, but we watched him trade out of round 1 on the Jordy Nelson pick because, all things being equal, he had a bunch of prospect left on his board that had the same 2nd round value.

P.S. - Crick is terrible, even before injured he had his hype playing next to Suh. I wouldn't look at him until round 4.

Idiot Fan's picture

I think about this every year - I would pay a large sum of money just to sit in the draft room one year. I would sit in the corner and not say anything the whole time. I could sign non-disclosure agreements or whatever. Just to observe would be amazing.

Evan's picture

Million dollar raffle idea.

john driscoll's picture

along with the extra pick due from Jets for Caleb Shladspelchk(sorry) , arent Packers liable to receive picks from the FA losses of Cullen Jenkins and Daryn Colledge? maybe 3rd or 4th rd? possible trade bait Matt Flynn...about time for Ted to wheel and deal up a little like the Clay M# pick?? at this point the team is young and good, quality instead of quantity? he will still find a few diamonds amongst the lumps of coal in later rds...

Bob's picture

and Brandon Jackson, it won't be much, he spent the year on IR, probably a 7

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

I am praying nightly that Philbin gets the Miami job and encourages them to trade for Flynn (and maybe James Jones so they can keep Driver for 1 more year and sign Gurley + get draft picks)

Chad Toporski's picture

Ted doesn't reach for guys, but I think positional needs do still matter. If there's not a good value to be had when their pick comes around, they will look to trade down for what they really want.

Yet, as I said last year, they traded up for Burnett, so it's not like that's out of the realm of possibilities.

Bob's picture

My draft wish list is a linebacker you can build a defense around. Someone who has a mean disposition on the field and that special quality that makes other players respond to him.

jack in jersey city's picture

we already have him. his name is clay matthews

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

Someone to take pressure off Matthews. Personally, I'm drooling over Bruce Irvin out of WVU... So much speed off the edge with a bunch of power.

Bob's picture

I'm talking more, Mathews is good, yes. Not a leader, if he had been we would have seen it by now. I want a Urlacher, Lewis, or Taylor type. One mean SOB that other players listen closely when he talks.

NoWayJose's picture

The common denominator this year among the final four teams is front seven / pass rush talent (49ers, Ravens, Giants) -- the Patriots being the exception. Last year, the final four ALL had a strong suit in that area (Jet, Steelers, Bears AND the Pack).

You win in the playoffs by putting heat on the passer, and the Packers weren't up to it this year.

Aaron's right. Ted may not take that guy we all think is great at OLB in Round 1, but he will address the pass rush, most likely taking 3-4 players on DL/LB this year. Guys like Wynn, Green, Wilson, Zombo, Jones, and Walden all may have hit their ceiling or come damn close without fireworks and the cabinet needs to be re-stocked.

Evan's picture

That and sure tackling.

I was amazed watching the 49ers take down Sproles and other Saints players in their tracks. I thought everyone got dragged for 3-5 yards while trying to make a tackle.

Bob's picture

Indication of the problems on defense. Peprah says after season, "I didn't think our tackling was that bad"

Bearmeat's picture

Remember this:

Things are rarely as good as they seem. They are also rarely as bad as they seem.

Defenses change drastically from year to year. Last year the 49ers could not stop anyone. Last year the Seahawks were a tough out.

1. Collins could come back - no one knows.
2. Neal will get better - but no one knows how much.
3. Shields WILL get much better with an offseason working under Darren Perry.
4. Ditto that for Morgan Burnett.
5. Lawrence Guy has the body for DE. He could progress exponentially.

There are more I could think of - but these came immediately to mind.

TT will draft for talent before need. We all know this. BUT if the grades are equal, he takes the position he needs. Remember Crabtree/Raji? TT said Crab had a higher grade...

Let's all hope for an impact DE/ROLB. But if it doesn't happen, we're not "screwed" next year. There are other options. A football team grows organically - as guys improve or diminish with injuries/age.

Yes, there's work to do. But there was work to do last year too. I'm not worried - and I'm convinced that multiple Lombardi's will make there way HOME before AR/MM/TT retire.

Yes, losing sucks. Yes, We'll be fine.

Brian's picture

Add Davon House to this list...hoping he can show something after an off-season, too.

markin montana's picture

I think the priority on drafting defensive guys should be defensive end, safety, then OLB. If we can beef up the defensive line with penetrators and space-cloggers, that should be sufficient to help one of our current "scrappy" OLBs opposite Matthews to get to the QB or stop the run. Safety should be the second priority, regardless of whether Collins returns, just because of the "learning curve" associated with safety (all of our recent good safeties such as Collins, Sharper, etc. haven't looked good the first couple of years). For this same reason, I think Burnett will show improvement next year, and will hopefully be a stud in 2013.

redlights's picture

Yes! And draft more than one of each, too.

I'd put CB ahead of LB, you need three cover corners to match up with Saints, etc; not to mention injuries.

Idiot Fan's picture

Good article. I'm so thrilled to have the leadership that we have on this team. If you look at the teams that repeatedly are/were contenders for the Super Bowl over the last decade - Patriots, Steelers, Colts (those three teams have represented the AFC in the last 9 SBs) - they all had excellent QBs, strong coaching staffs and systems, and GMs who didn't overreact and built largely through the draft. Each of those teams have had disappointing playoff losses, but they were intent on building a strong program, not building the strongest one-year push for the SB. There's no guarantee that we'll be in or win another SB with this crew, but I couldn't be more optimistic about the future.

In TT, MM, and AR I trust.

JJB's picture

If TT drafted Brooks Reed last year and he played as well as he did for the Texans this would be a different defense.

CSS's picture

Reed is the beneficiary of playing behined what might already be the best 5-technique in the NFL, J.J. Watt. How good would Reed have looked behined Wynn, Wilson or an injured Neal?

They need a strong 5-technique to emerge. Packers scheme would have asked Brooks Reed to set the edge far more in Green Bay then he did in Texas. Texans played far less nickle than the Packers, they played a ton of base. Reed made plays because Watt kept him clean and drew double teams.

Two years ago I said OLB was far more important than the 5-technique in the 3-4, I was dead wrong....

JoePackersNYC's picture

I was geting ready to post about this and bam, there it is. I agree completely CSS.

Aside from QB, the most important in building a team is first acquiring and then keeping quality players on both the offensive and defensive line. In my opinion, at least.

In the 3-4 defense, this is even more important. They certainly need to upgrade the depth at the position. This alone would make the defense much more effective, especially the OLBs, whoever they may be.

Basically what Aaron said. You would think TT would select a few D-linemen this year. Maybe...

Keith's picture

What about drafting a truer nose tackle and shifting Raji to DE?

jeremy's picture

Raji has been shifted to DE and that's a big part of the problem in my opinion.

jf0314's picture

Down here in Houston, the talk is all about Mario Williams and a possible FA ride out of town. I know TT doesn't spend a lot in FA, and memories of Joe Johnson abound, but he might be an interesting pick up.

CSS's picture

Some 4-3 team is going to break the bank for him. He's too rare and too expensive to play in a 5-technique. His body-type and athleticism is so rare, far more dangerous in a 4-3. That's where he's going to get big money.

overkill's picture

Missed ya, Nick. Get'cher ass healthy and get back.

Ted, of Bill and Ted's picture

1) Melvin Ingram (or a 5 technique, aren't too many i'm truly high on that will be available late in the first), 2) Bruce Irvin, 3) Russell Wilson...after that TT can go secondary/d-line/o-line as he sees fit. in ted we trust.

BubbaOne's picture

What about DL Michael Brockers, Brandon Thompson, Dontari Poe, or Fletcher Cox.
(Like CSS I don't like Crick...or Jerel Worthy).

W/ Clifton possibly retiring and Sherrod maybe starting the season on PUP TT could take a T in the 1st round for the third straight year.

Idiot Fan's picture

I think with Newhouse, Sherrod, and Bulaga in the fold (plus Lang in a pinch), we're probably set at tackle, as far as drafting high goes.

I would mind seeing Devon Still from PSU in green and gold.

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

I'm on board with your list, especially Irvin, but isn't Wilson projected a little further down in rounds? Russell did look very good and I love his mobility, but I believe the knock on him was his height, but not sure... Not really a college fan. Either way, how would that affect Harrell's perspective with the team?

denniseckersly's picture

My only hope is that Ted makes moves that will initially befuddle me. That seems to be the golden ticket; it works every time. Well, except for that whole Derrick Frost thing.

jeremy's picture

We're talking about the draft already, same as the shitty teams. This really sucks.

jack in jersey city's picture

nope. they got an earlier start than we did :)

NoWayJose's picture

Yup. It sucks. Plus, there's not really a lot to say about a draft three months away.

Ted should focus on the interview process this year. Don't take anyone who says that they are great in the regular season but will play with his head up his ass in the playoffs. That should do it.

Will's picture

I am thinking thompson will take someone none of us have ever seen play. We will bitch and bitch and he will turn out to be a pretty good player.

that said DL, OLB and Safety.

Point Packer's picture

Packers I don't want on next year's team:

1) Mike Neal
2) Howard Green
3) Charlie Peprah
4) Jarett Bush

All defense.

Point Packer's picture

Missed one:

5) Pat Lee

Bob's picture

Don't give up on Neal yet, some of the problem is the rigid gap coverage. Hard to rush a passer when you only have a 2 foot wide space to use.

Evan's picture

Including Neal and Bush on that list is incredibly short sighted.

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

Agreed. I want Bush back if he can be retained at an acceptable level. I'm wanting to give Neal 1 more year on a short leash.

Lumpy Gravy's picture

Bush was a special teams demon; he won't have a high asking price so I believe it's more than worth bringing him back.

Point Packer's picture

The only thing "demonic" from Bush this year was his exaggerated celebrations and his hot headed on the field antics.

Neal's leash should be broke after the way he got pushed around this year.

Oppy's picture

Both Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush are excellent special teams players. They are both superb.

Quit thinking of Lee and Bush as starters on this team, and look at them for what they are- important role players.

Bush in particular is an important player on the Packers. Besides being the heart and soul of the STs, he's got valuable versatility on defense. As McGinn wrote today, he's an exceptional tackler, great slot blitzer, ST ace, and can play both CB and S in a pinch.

Do you want to see Lee or Bush counted on to play a ton of snaps on defense? Nope, but that doesn't mean there is no place on the roster for them. 22 starters on offense and defense on an NFL team, 53 roster spots.

Hands's picture

I thought that Green bay was the third youngest team in the league last year. They won15 games. They absolutely stunk it up on game day. Was it due to lack of talent? Too old? Too many people hurt? Maybe it was due to the team laid an egg. There was no excuse so drafting isn't going to help a team that blows up in the playoffs. TT will keep doing what he does and MM will look at the game and try to figure how it got so bad so fast.
Some things seem natural like moving Woody to FS but has he lost the speed to do even that? I don't think Collins will be back but I do believe that Shields/Lang/Newhouse/Zombo/House/Neal will be better because of the off-season workouts and the improvement from being rookies to 2nd year players. I know many I pointed out aren't rookies but they never had the off-season with position coaches to take that next step. Lang got hurt between his 1st and 2nd year so he didn't get the benefit.
Everything being said, could be a rookie or two who could make a difference and there is a lot of opportunity.

PackRat's picture

Raji wore down due to the tremendous number of early snaps he was taking. He is a load but has to be used well.

I'd favor a good 6 man rotation with Raji/Pickett splitting the nose.

Wilson, Wynn, Neal, Green and Guy...You need a stud to add to the group. I keep seeing these wonderful posts about CJ and Jarius but nothing that leads you to believe they can tie up two defenders or make an inside move to get the QB.

The Neal we saw last year and in the preseason was the reason the Pack let Cullen go (Can you believe TT was talked into paying for Jones' 37 catches at 3 yrs/10 (by AR12) and not for Jenkins 5 yr/25). You can't go into next year praying for a return to form.

KennyPayne's picture

Can you believe Ted gave Hawk 5 years and $33 Million when he could have kept Barnett (who was still under contract) paid Jenkins and still had $8 million at his disposal.

Why he paid big bucks for an ILB who makes no impact plays is a real head scratcher.

asshalo's picture

I don't expect Thompson and crew to clean house, but I do worry about players not having the right mentality for games like this past Sunday. The packers draft philosophy obviously mitigates complacency like this just by the sheer volume of players they bring in through the draft. I just think it's likely the game this past sunday really changed how the coaches and scouts view a player or two. Again, this doesn't equate to cleaning house, just maybe letting certain players walk or cutting them before their contract expires. I just don't think a game as poorly executed as this one goes by without some significant change of opinion occurring in a player or two.

Bob's picture

The coaching staff is also reluctant to play young players. If your a starter in GB you have to show up not breathing with no pulse to get benched.

Sam's picture

A solid DE should be the top priority in my opinion. I know at least in th 4-3 having a good DE makes the OLBers job a lot easier not quite sure how that correlates to the 3-4 but I would assume it's about the same. If you had a DE creting havoc in the backfield a la Jenkins from last year I think Walden and Zombo could be more effective at least buying the Pack another year to develop So'oto or find another suitable olb.

Derek in Madison's picture

I think it's time for Capers to go. Sure, he's a legend and built this defense from nothing. But he also oversaw a complete and utter collapse this year, and had all year to make corrections, but the defense played the same all year. I believe losing Jenkins and Collins hurt alot, but there are still 9 other guys there, and they played much worse. Capers' lack of pass rush, playing too far off WRs at the line of scrimmage and soft zones left the field wide open for huge yardage, and it cost them. Bad tackling and stupid mistakes and penalties also cost them. time for a fresh outlook back there.

jack in jersey city's picture

let's give him the guys he needs before making a hasty decision like this. i agree that some of the blame goes on capers but we had a top 5 defense last year under him and i believe we can be really good on D next year. just be patient.

markin montana's picture

Agree to keep Capers around. He's not blameless in this year's defensive struggles, but his long-term track record indicates that this is not a situation of a guy over his head or unable to adjust. With the possibility of the coaching staff getting raided this off-season, I think maintaining as much consistency as possible would be a good idea.

Wagszilla's picture

He has two bargaining chips he could potentially use in Flynn and Finley to tag/trade for draft picks.

Tori Gurley is raw but I wonder if they could use him in a "Finley" type role. Finley while a TE, isn't really that good at blocking, so I don't see why it's not an option. Obviously Gurley is far less proven/known quantity.

To me, the two most important positions to build are DE and ILB. DE reasoning is obvious. I think Neal will improve next season after he gets over the injury but you still need depth at the very least and Wilson/Wynn aren't getting it done. The OLB spot can be Zombo's. He'll also benefit from getting healthy.

Melvin Ingram could play DE from South Carolina. Sounds like a guy Dom would be interested in from what I've heard/read.

Hawk's gotta go though. Late to the ball. Can't cover. Too expensive.

Let's hope #36 can come back healthy...

Evan's picture

FWIW, Gurley is currently mulling offers from several teams. He hasn't accepted the Packers offer yet.

Lumpy Gravy's picture

Anyone want to speculate on the chances that Hawk is traded elsewhere? I'm guessing they're nil, but boy, wouldn't that be a nice surprise?

Kennypayne's picture

Hawk is an expensive liability. Why TT gave this stiff a huge contract last year is a mystery to me.

Bob's picture

A 6 game run last year. Looked like the pack had something with Hawk &amp; Bishop same with Williams.

Loren's picture

I read where maybe we could get back Cullen Jenkins from Eagles. They may not want to pay him the big bonus due him. would TT want to swallow his pride and get him back? Peprah is not that good and Bush is good enough to keep around. Woodson and Driver may have hit the wall and maybe should retire.

Alex's picture

Woodson is not going to retire, nor should he. He is still an effective playmaker from both the LOS and while in coverage. I think TT would admit he was wrong and if given the chance and at the right price, would bring Jenkins back.

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