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Packers Don't Want To Be the Bad Guys Again

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Packers Don't Want To Be the Bad Guys Again

Here's a storyline I haven't seen yet from the Combine, one that I think is fairly obvious but that no 'legit' guy is going to write.

I guess that's what I'm for.

The Packers don't want to be the bad guy when it comes to the departure of Aaron Kampman. Not again. Not after being perceived as villains by a large portion of the fan base during the Favre drama two summers ago.

Look, it's all well and good that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy got up and blew verbal bouquets Kampman's way on Friday at the Combine. All the right things have been said this entire offseason, from Thompson telling Greg Bedard that the team is planning on offering Kampman a contract to McCarthy talking glowingly about how much better Kampman would be the second year into the transition of Capers's defensive makeover.

I'm sorry, but anyone who watches the game of football with any regularity and with even a modicum of honesty will tell you that Kampman was a complete fish out of water with his hand off the ground. He plays way too slow for the position, is incredibly stiff when asked to turn his hips and drop into coverage, and had trouble holding the point when defending the run without the benefit of exploding out of a three point stance.

And here's whats scary to me - the Packers may be so scared of potentially looking the fool if yet another popular player ended up playing within the division (hello, Chicago) that they may be setting themselves up to bring Kampman back so as to 'look good' in the eyes of the fans and indeed, the rest of the league. I know - it sounds absurd. But how else do you explain the theory I heard from one source in Indianapolis - that the organization may have gone as far as feeding Mike Vandermause the meme for his column in the Green Bay Press Gazette last week.

It's title? "Green Bay Packers Would Be Foolish To Let Kampman Go"

Now, I'm throwing a lot of smoke out there. But I tend to think there's a very small fire underneath it all. My guess is that the Packers are truly conflicted about this and seriously don't know what to do. More than one person I talked to this weekend made reference to the fact that, behind the scenes, Thompson is a lot more indecisive and prone to last minute decisions than his calm, bland demeanor would suggest. When I heard that initially, I pretty much dismissed it out of hand.

But then you look at things like the Ryan Grant signing, the way he basically caved at the last minute in face of the pressure he was getting during the Favre fiasco. Or you look at the cutting of Anthony Smith and then the attempt to claim him off waivers a few weeks later. There are plenty of other instances as well that hint at the depiction of Thompson as someone who is a little more reckless behind the scenes than the perception of Thompson as some emotionless automaton would suggest.

If Thompson is smart he'll let Kampman walk, even if it means the Bears get the defensive end they so desperately need. Kampman may or may not hurt the Packers playing for the Bears. His being on the Packers roster certainly will.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jack's picture

You mean the cutting of Anthony Smith?
I don't think there would be anywhere near the backlash if Kampman went to the Bears, than there was when Favre left. AK is popular but I think most fans understand he isn't a good fit for the 3-4. Just my opinion.

Jack's picture

BTW, do you think the Packers took notice of your presence at the Combine?

packeraaron's picture

Good god, yes Smith. Wow - have not slept. Thanks Jack. And yes, they took note.

FITZCORE1252's picture

74 won't be back.

Like you said, the GBP are saying all the right things... just lip service. He was a helluva Packer, but it's just not a match that makes sense for either side now.

We should all start preparing NOW to see 74 in a Bayurz uni.

GBP 4 LIFE

Drizzle's picture

Maybe they can offer him a few million to sign outside the division or retire as an "ambassador". Otherwise, they can sign him, keep him on the roster, and then dump him mid-season so no one will want him.. ala KGB. Wouldn't put it past Thompson. Not a fan of anything Thompson does outside of the draft and the obvious moves like resigning Rodgers and Jennings. He's treated veterans very poorly, and has missed some great free agents who were openly interested in coming to Green Bay. Oh well. At least he hasn't booted D-Drive yet.

Sunflower100's picture

I think people are reading way too much into this situation. I think its possible the Packers don't want to let Kampman until they have 100 percent sure fire better starter then him. I hate to compare Kampman to a punter but here me out on this. The Packers thought they could easily find a replacement punter. Then look at what happened. The Packers have had back to back sucky punters in Derrick Frost/Kapinos.

Maybe they just do not want a repeat of the same thing at an even more important position.

PackersRS's picture

Aaron, was Kampman BAD? He wasn't progressing? Just want those answers to see if I can remain making my point or not...

packeraaron's picture

PackersRS - was he bad? No. Was he progressing? You know what's funny, a lot was made of how Kampman was improving, at least when it came to rushing the passer. Well, how did he do that? By putting his hand back on the ground. This completely takes away the chance he might be dropping into coverage - the point of this defense is to create uncertainty in the qbs decision making process. So, if Kamp has his hand on the ground, you pretty much know he's coming. Again, is he terrible? No. Just not a good fit.

Sunflower100's picture

I wanted to add this. I don't live in Green Bay so my assumptions on this could be off. If the Packers were going to worry about taking a PR hit for not bringing a player back wouldn't it be Tauscher? Tauscher is a local guy. Rodgers has said publicly he wants him back. Wouldn't they be more worried about this then bringing Kapman back?

packeraaron's picture

Sunflower - I think they're worried about perception in general, and I agree that Tausch is popular. I was pointed to the Kampman situation mostly by things I saw and heard in Indy.

Dilligaff's picture

It is just the coaches and TT saving face on the fact that they made a bad call on Kampman. Should have been traded before the switch to the 3-4 or at least before the trade dead line. By making a bad call here, we lost Kampman's trade value, which before last season would have been very high. IMO TT has not done well with the so called high rated talent, Justin Harrell, AJ Hawk , and Kampman are all defensive players all worth first round picks in the last 4 years that will be producing next to nothing or very little for our defense. Image our defense with 3 additional first round picks that were producing. IMO making these kinds of mistake are costing the Pack the super bowl, but TT seems to find talent elsewhere to be competitive, but not super bowl bound.

dabearsstillsuck's picture

I have to agree the 3-4 is not for kampman and it will be hard to let him go. But if ol' teddy will make a big move (like getting tomlinson) And show he is not tring to suck the packer fans hope dry, i would be able to live with releaseing kampman.

BLACKHAWK's picture

I was surprised as anyone when Anthony Smith was cut...but when this stiff gets picked up by St. Louis and then can't even make the active list on game day, there's something wrong with either this guys talent or attitude.

packeraaron's picture

BLACKHAWK - agree to an extent on Smith - but then why try to reclaim him? Look, was/is he a superstar? No. Guy was a good fit for the defense though and worth having around. So much so that Woodson said his name after the first Viking game. That's gotta tell you something...

PACKERS.'s picture

Kampman will never do any good for the Pack while playing linebacker. ThePackers haw to let him go.

I've noticed that our fan base in general is very protective of it's players no matter how badly the Packers need to get rid of them. Sure, everyone will howl when the Pack actually get rid of Kampman, but why?

Go Pack Go!

Ruppert's picture

I'm sorry but I just cannot, in any way, see Ted Thompson making a personnel decision based on this type of public perception. He has never done it up until now, for one thing. And if he were to worry about this type of thing, Favre would have been the guy with whom to go this route. The opinions on TT amongst Packers fans have already been set. I don't see where this decision will change anybody's mind either way.

packeraaron's picture

Ruppert - while I agree to an extent, you'll notice the title of the post is 'The Packers' don't want to be the bad guys. Ted is an important component, obviously, but there are other things at work here...

packerslinbacker's picture

I say personal if we keep kampman he should be in a rotation on the D-line but im perfectly fine not keeping him on the roster cause he sucked in coverage and he couldn't really get to the QB from the two point stants

Jersey Al's picture

Yes, Aaron, this what YOU are for. To tackle the 800lb gorilla in the room. I've been struggling with making sense of the whole situation. You brought to light another scenario I hadn't considered.Nice work, but now I'm just more confused! LOL

ZeroTolerance's picture

Kampman's departure would be a hit for the organization, and your analysis of how he really does not fit is right on. I believe he's as good as gone. Better to keep the two tackles.

jerseypackfan's picture

Hand off the ground, hand off the ground, looking like a fool with your hand off the ground!

CSS's picture

I honestly hope you're wrong on this one, Aaron. The day a GM caters to a fan base or worries about his 'image' he has failed at his job. Even well informed fans have a minutia of the relavent information required to make personnel decisions.

Interesting thing is, Thompson and Company need only go to the 'Big Show' and any decision (Favre included) that he has made during his tenure will be instantly vindicated. So, I hope he could care less what the fans think.

packeraaron's picture

CSS - while I agree in theory, as I said earlier, it's not only Thompson on this one. That's my hunch anyway. And it happens all over the league all the time. Adam Schefter said there were two teams that seriously considered Chan Gailey for open head coaching positions last year, but didn't pull the trigger because they were worried how it would play with the fan base. THAT is absurd.

BLACKHAWK's picture

Unless he's willing to take a paycut, let Kampman walk, many more pressing needs to address.

PackersRS's picture

Aaron, in soccer, when you try to teach a kid to kick with it's left foot (or right foot, if he's lefty), you ONLY make him kick with the left foot. Eventually, he'll be able to shoot with both. He'll still be better with his strong foot, but he'll be able to do both.
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Don't you think there's the slightest possibility that the coaches were asking for Kampman to mainly play standing up so he was forced to learn quickier, so that they later could utilize him both ways?
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About the thread, I really doubt that it's all about PR. But I'm naive.
However, couldn't it be that their evaluation of Kampman (you know, the same internal evaluation that thought Aaron Rodgers could play) is solid, that he was ACTUALLY progressing, and that they really think Kampman would be a great addition? While, of course, thinking that Kampman on the other teams would be an unnecessary added challenge?
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Couldn't they think that, by retaining Kampman, not only would they get an improving player, that is a proven nickel and dime pass rusher, but also restraining their opponents of improvement???

Glorious80s's picture

It will depend on whether Kampman wants to move forward with the 3-4 or go back to the familiar. In any case, the Packers should not just let him walk. If the Bears want him let them pay.
I am somewhat at a loss about the ability of Capers to find a way to use him, unless as PackersRS suggested, they were attempting a total immersion teaching method. During the hiring of Capers, wasn't it the goal for him to blend the two systems, be flexible, based on talent rather than sticking with a system? Certainly the lack of pass rush against certain teams suggested that the coaches had no answer, in personnel, perhaps, but maybe ingenuity. NO DC was quoted as not being committed to any particular system. Weren't we supposed to get that in Capers? Maybe it wasn't all Kampman's fault. IIRC LeRoy Butler suggested even using Bush as a pass rusher rather than in coverage.
The Ryan Grant signing may also have been a result of a desperate need for a running game since Rodgers was in his firt year? Grant took advantage of it.

gratif's picture

If Julius Peppers is "worth" 20M/yr then paying 5-6M a year for Kampman is fine by me.

PackersRS's picture

I agree with Glorious80s, BTW (what a weird nickname. Unless it's a sarcasm that I didn't get). I think, as much as the D improved, and that's why he's not getting bad rep, and is staying with us, Capers failed against elite QB. The lack of any bump against AZ, letting Warner get rid of the ball under 3 seconds, was inexcusable. It only made matters worse that Capers was sleeping at the boot.
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I don't think that was the case particularly with Kampman, but facts are Capers failed to adapt in crucial times...

Dilligaff's picture

I think we are missing the thing that bothers the Packers organization, it is not losing Kampman, but Kampman coming back to beat you. I am over the BF thing, but it stings and hurts that he came back and beat us. We lost the division and possible a first round bye because the vikings got a good veteran QB. What a big story it would be next year if we lose a game or two to a divisional rival on a Kampman sack or sacks, thus putting a divisional rival in the lead? Its just embarrassing

Dilligaff's picture

I believe with the current status of our O-line, Kampman going to a divisional rival is even more significant, he would be a upgrade to any 4-3 team going against our weakest link. Thats the dilemma facing TT.

longtymefan's picture

I personally do not think they will keep Kamp around just because it will look bad...They showed once with Brett they will not just keep a player for "pr" means

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