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Seeing the 2017 Draft Through Ted Thompson’s Eyes, Part IV: Draft Review, and Why the Packers Will Keep Winning Forever

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Seeing the 2017 Draft Through Ted Thompson’s Eyes, Part IV: Draft Review, and Why the Packers Will Keep Winning Forever

Welcome back for a special Part IV of this season’s “Seeing the Draft Through Ted Thompson’s Eyes.”  In Part I, we identified the five factors that matter most when Thompson is deciding how to use his limited draft choices, roster spots, and salary cap space.  In Part II, we looked at Thompson’s current job postings for the Packers’ offense, and tried to identify a few leading candidates for each opening among the 2017 draft prospects.  In Part III, we did the same for the defense. 

Today, we take a peek at Thompson’s new hires for the job openings we identified.  Then, we step back to look at the bigger picture—and explain why the Packers will keep winning long after Thompson and Aaron Rodgers retire.

THOMPSON’S NEW HIRES

As we noted in Part I, the Packers are a company in the business of winning football games, and Thompson selects his 53-man workforce the same way other businesses do:  by identifying job openings that need to be filled, and picking the best candidates he can find for the price.  Here’s how Thompson filled those openings this year.

JOB OPENING NO. 1:  Big, fast defensive backs who can cover big, fast targets

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Chidobe Awuzie, Kevin King, Fabian Moreau

THOMPSON’S HIRES:  King and Josh Jones

ANALYSIS:  Enough was enough.  Last year, the Packers’ secondary made a weekly ritual of giving up career days to marginal 6’2”-plus speedsters like Adam Thielen, Marvin Jones, and Dorial Green-Beckham.  The 6’3” King can put a stop to that immediately.  And the sky’s the limit for him, if he can figure out how to use his NBA-caliber athletic gifts.

Thompson’s second pick, Josh Jones, unlocks the full value of Morgan Burnett.  Burnett’s safety instincts were wasted last year when forced into duty as a nickel linebacker, where he was responsible for the more mundane duties of stopping the run and covering speedy tight ends.  But Jones is tailor-made for those tasks, combining cornerback speed with coverage-linebacker size (6’2”, 220) and a mean streak.  With Jones in the fold, Capers can once again put Burnett to his highest and best use as a ball-hawking off-ball safety—and the sight of Burnett lurking deep ought to deter opposing quarterbacks from taking the deep shots that embarrassed the secondary last year.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 2:  A quality defensive lineman to square the Daniels-Clark-Lowry trio into a proper rotational quartet

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Dalvin Tomlinson, Chris Wormley, Larry Ogunboji, D.J. Jones

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Montravius Adams

ANALYSIS:  Thompson is probably thanking his lucky stars.  Three of our leading candidates were off the board by the time Thompson’s third pick rolled around, but Adams is more athletic than any of them.  Adams ran the fastest 40-yard dash—by far—of any 300-plus pound prospect at the scouting combine, and he was expected to be drafted a round earlier.  Adams’ quickness offers a different pass-rushing skill set than Kenny Clark or Dean Lowry, giving Capers the flexibility to mix and match on passing downs depending on the opponent’s pass-blocking weaknesses.  With Daniels, Clark and Lowry signed through 2019 and Adams through 2020, Thompson has finally replaced “Mike Daniels and Pluggers” with a more dynamic band.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 3:  A rare running back with the size and speed to keep coverage personnel off the field in two-TE sets

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATE:  D’Onta Foreman

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Devante Mays

ANALYSIS:  In Part II, we noted that Foreman’s 4.45 speed at 230 pounds could create unique problems for defensive coordinators, because Foreman was too big for coverage gnats to reliably tackle on their own—and too fast to be swarmed by them.  We also noted that if Thompson “misses out on Foreman, that’s it—there are no other backs after him with the size and speed to clear things out for Rodgers.”

Turns out, there was another.  Foreman went off the board four picks before the Packers’ third-rounder, but Packers’ scouts spotted Utah State’s Mays—who has the same size and speed—rumbling for more than 200 yards in early-season action against Weber State.  They didn’t see much more, because Mays hurt his ankle and sat for most of his senior year.  (He was a JUCO transfer who split carries as a junior.)  But backs with that kind of size-speed combo are hard to find in undrafted free agency, and a seventh-round pick is a low price to pay for someone who may be able to dictate defensive personnel.  Even if Mays can’t read a block to save his life, he’ll still make defensive coordinators nervous.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 4:  If they don’t draft Foreman, then a sturdy, reliable back who can handle full-time duty if necessary

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Brian Hill, Jeremy McNichols

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Jamaal Williams

ANALYSIS:  Thompson had his choice of traditional, between-the-tackles backs at the end of the fourth round, and he went for the sturdiest option of all in Williams.  He doesn’t have electric speed or cut-on-a-dime quickness, but he won’t need them to pick up yards in Green Bay:  Aaron Rodgers + Martellus Bennett + Lance Kendricks in double tight-end sets = big holes for running backs.  McCarthy just needs backs who will take advantage without giving the ball away, and Williams is as reliable as they come.  He had only one fumble per 140 carries in college, a great ball-security rate.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 5:  A back-up for Ty Montgomery who can catch passes and squirt through big running lanes

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATE:  Aaron Jones

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Jones

ANALYSIS:  Jones is smaller than Montgomery, but he can do the same things:  catch passes out of the backfield, shoot through big holes, and make tacklers miss in the open field.  Montgomery has been oft-injured in his two years in Green Bay, and Jones ensures that McCarthy won’t have to throw out the playbook if Montgomery misses time.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 6:  Depth at linebacker

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Blair Brown and Dylan Cole (inside), Ifeadi Odenigbo and Samson Ebukam (outside), Vince Biegel (both)

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Biegel

ANALYSIS:  Biegel’s value comes from his pro-ready versatility.  He could line up for the Packers tomorrow at 3-4 outside linebacker without looking lost, though he’ll always struggle to beat NFL blockers at that position.  (He’s just not explosive or quick enough to easily overcome his smaller frame for the position.)  But Biegel is the perfect size for inside linebacker, where his instincts can be put to their best use.  That kind of two-for-one ability saves a roster spot, while Biegel’s work ethic and focus are perfect fits for the workplace culture.  If Biegel isn’t needed right away at outside linebacker, don’t be surprised if he supplants Blake Martinez or Jake Ryan in the starting lineup inside.  Biegel’s a little bigger than both of them, he runs just as well, and his smarts and instincts are off the charts.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 7:  Depth at outside receiver

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Chad Hansen

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  DeAngelo Yancey

ANALYSIS:  Darboh, Chesson, and Hansen were all off the board by the time Thompson turned his attention to this job opening.  So he filled it with Yancey, a slightly slower and less-polished version of Darboh.  Both are big and strong enough to escape the clutches of big press corners, and Yancey—unlike Geronimo Allison—is fast enough to make a clean getaway.  Yancey doesn’t profile as a future starter, because he doesn’t have the hands and fluid athleticism of Jordy Nelson or Davante Adams.  (There’s a reason they were second-round picks, while Yancey went in the fifth.)  But he should provide higher-quality depth at outside receiver than Allison.  So long as Thompson can re-sign Adams before next offseason, that’s all the roster needs.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 8:  Depth on the interior line

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Chase Roullier, Danny Isidora, Corey Levin

THOMPSON’S HIRES:  Jahri Evans (veteran free agent), Kofi Amichia

ANALYSIS:  This draft had fewer pro-ready prospects than usual along the interior offensive line, and Thompson decided to take no chances.  The day before the draft, he signed aging former Pro Bowler Jahri Evans, the most reliable veteran still on the market.  That one-year rental freed Thompson to draft an interior lineman without worrying about whether he would be ready to play.  Amichia isn’t ready—he started only two years against weaker competition at South Florida, and he’s still growing into NFL size.  But he’s smart, he’s a great athlete, and with Evans around, the Packers’ staff can afford to give him a year to learn.  If Amichia hits, then Thompson will have a waiting replacement when Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, and Evans all hit free agency after the season.

 

JOB OPENING NO. 9:  Developmental wide receiver

OUR LEADING PRE-DRAFT CANDIDATES:  Mack Hollins and Krishawn Hogan

THOMPSON’S HIRE:  Malachi Dupre

ANALYSIS:  Dupre is Hollins, minus 25 pounds—which is likely why Hollins went in the fourth round, while Dupre was still available at the end of the seventh.  Like Hollins, Dupre is tall, fast, and great on deep routes.  He just hasn’t mastered any of the short and intermediate ones.  But Dupre is a better overall athlete than Yancey with more natural receiving skills, and he may pass him on the depth chart after a year of weightlifting and route-running work.

*             *             *

WHY THE PACKERS WILL KEEP WINNING FOREVER

When the NFL implemented the salary cap in 1994, it gave every franchise the same chance to succeed.  The 32 teams share revenue and play by the same rules, including a worst-to-first draft order to help downtrodden teams reload.  By design, every franchise ought to go through alternating waves of success and rebuilding, with an average of eight wins a year.  And for most teams, that’s how it’s worked.

But not the Packers, Patriots, and Steelers.  They’ve averaged more than 10 wins a season in the 23-year Salary Cap Era, beating the odds by 25 percent—despite always picking at the back-end of the draft. 

Lazier media members dismiss their sustained success as luck, the byproduct of stumbling onto great quarterbacks and riding their Hall-of-Fame talent to the playoffs year after year.  But good quarterbacks didn’t end up on those teams’ rosters by accident.  Bill Belichick, Ron Wolf, Ted Thompson, and Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert all recognized that a good starting quarterback is an absolute requirement for NFL success, and they all made it an immediate priority to find one.  They didn’t fool themselves into believing that Don Majkowski or Charlie Batch was a long-term answer.  Nor did they assume that aging QBs will play forever.  As soon as Favre, Brady, Roethlisberger, and Rodgers hit their mid-thirties, those GMs immediately began drafting and grooming potential successors.  They know that acquiring a decent starting QB is Job One for an NFL general manager, and it always will be. 

Finding those quarterbacks didn’t require talent-spotting genius, either.  Wolf didn’t know that Brett Favre was headed to the Hall of Fame; if he did, he wouldn’t have stood pat in the 1991 NFL Draft and allowed Favre to be taken one pick ahead of him.  (Wolf, then the personnel director for the New York Jets, wound up taking the illustrious Browning Nagle instead.)  Thompson let other GMs have 23 chances to take Aaron Rodgers; Belichick gave them 198 chances to grab Tom Brady.  They didn’t know that those prospects would be stars.  But they were educated enough to know the traits that good starting quarterbacks possess, and they knew they had to immediately look for people who had them—and keep looking, until they found a long-term answer.  And then they had to start looking again, the same as they do with every other position.

Setting and sticking to priorities is not organizational luck or genius.  It is organizational discipline, and most franchises don’t have it.  Many have owners who bought teams to make a big splash, and they can’t resist wedging their noses into football operations.  Other owners lack confidence in themselves and their GM hires, losing trust after early failures or media criticism.  Those owners prevent their GMs from feeling secure, and insecure managers are more concerned about keeping their jobs than making the best long-term decisions for their companies.

That’s not the case for the Packers, Patriots, and Steelers.  They all hired GMs with the patience and intelligence to think long-term, and enough training and experience to never doubt they were better-positioned than anyone else to make good roster decisions.  Wolf, Thompson, and Colbert spent their careers in NFL personnel departments, while Bill Belichick’s father literally wrote the book on football scouting.  The Krafts, the Rooneys, Bob Harlan, and Mark Murphy all lacked that training, and they all had the humility to recognize it—and the discipline to stay out of football decisions.

Many of today’s owners are saying the right things, and promising not to meddle.  Some may succeed, as the Krafts and Rooneys have done in New England and Pittsburgh.  But those franchises will always be one inheritance or sale away from organizational discord. 

Packer fans are the only ones who never have to worry.  There will never be an all-powerful owner in Green Bay, and Harlan went to great lengths to remove football-decision power from non-football people.  Thanks to Harlan, the Packers are the only contestant in this 32-team business competition with a structure that is fire-proofed against ill-informed, impulsive, or egotistical decisions by people who aren’t qualified to make them. 

For that reason, there’s no “window” that’s closing for the Packers.  Aaron Rodgers’ career will end, just like Brett Favre’s did.  When it does, good football people will have someone ready to take his place.  Rodgers, Favre, and everyone else were acquired and re-signed by GMs who were well-trained in the business of building winning football organizations.  (It’s no coincidence that all of the former Packer scouts who are now GMs—including Seattle’s John Schneider, Kansas City’s John Dorsey, and Oakland’s Reggie McKenzie—quickly constructed rosters good enough to make the playoffs.)  As new ownership shuffles through Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota in the decades to come, making headline-grabbing moves to create the air of success, we can all shake our heads and rest comfortably.  So long as the Packers maintain the humble, organization-first discipline established under Harlan’s watch, they will keep winning more often than just about everyone else.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (67) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Since '61's picture

Matt - since the free agency era began the Packers have been the most successful franchise in the NFL if we define success by making the playoffs. They have made the playoffs 19 times since 1993, more than any other team. However, with 19 opportunities we have won only 2 Super Bowls, and made it to three. The Patriots have 18 playoffs appearances over the same time with 7 SB appearances and and 5 SB wins. Denver has 5 trips to the SB with 3 Lombardi's. The question is how do you define success in the free agency era. The record proves that the Packers have been a very consistent team but an infrequent champion. There is an old adage in sports that everyone remembers the champion but no one remembers who came in second or worse. As Packer fans we know the Packers have been and remain to be a well-run, successful, winning organization. But beyond Packer fans the Packers are not thought of as champions, like the Patriots, Cowboys and Steelers are. We are relevant as a playoff team but not as a championship team and that is a significant difference. In our last 2 NFCGs we choked in one and were blown out of the park in the other. That's what non-Packers fans remember about our team. Not the 8 game winning streak and Rodgers brilliant play that got us there in 2016 and not Rodgers playing well on one leg during the 2014 playoffs. What success we've had in winning the SB has been due to 3 players; Brett Favre, Reggie White and Aaron Rodgers. Those players are generational players and we may never see their like again after Rodgers is done regardless of who is making the decisions at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. Sports have been and always will be about winning now, today, not tomorrow or 10 years from now because no matter how good your personnel people are it's still about what happens on the field. Championship opportunities are rare and teams need to cash in on them when they have their opportunities. The Packers while consistently a playoff team have failed to cash in on their numerous championship opportunities. We've had a great run since 1992 but history has proven it will not last forever and the time will come when we will wish we had another 2-3 Lombardi's in the trophy case by now. Thanks, Since '61

jh9's picture

Since '61 - Excellent post. Thank you.

Since '61's picture

jh9 - appreciate your feedback. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Well, Since, in your post there is the reason why Packers do not have more SB wins - injuries.
Put together all other teams (special mentioning of Patriots and Broncos) and check their injury reports when they were reaching NFCCG, SB and SB wins...
No other team had more injuries than Packers.
Why is that? Nobody knows. I'm sure that Packers would address the problem if anyone can give the reason for that injury rush.
But, as always, life tends to balnce everything, so when you are doing things correctly, at the end of the road you'll have your balance achieved.
My bold (very, very bold) claim is that Pacxkers will be SB winners 3 times in next 5 years span, all with Aaron Rodgers as their QB...

Bert's picture

injuries have hurt for sure but let's be honest. We have not won more SBs because we have typically lost to a better team to end the season. Including this past year to ATL.

Finwiz's picture

That's a pretty bold prediction considering the biggest problem with getting to, and winning the Super Bowl lies with the defensive coach whom has a job for life in GB. They might get lucky and win 1 in the next 5, but 3 in 5 isn't happening with this defensive scheme.

Since '61's picture

Croat - I hope that you are correct about the future SBs and yes, injuries have been a factor. But in the end no one (other than us Packer fans) care or know about the injuries. Every team has injuries come playoff time, maybe not as many as the Packers but they have them. The results are all that matters. Injuries, penalties, strength of schedule can all be factors but they can't be excuses for the final results. You take the field you play to win. If you come up short it's wait 'til next year. Here we are waiting again. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Since '61, you are correct that nobody care about injuries, I will add not even Packers fans, but last season NFCCG was especially bad, when Packers lost 3 starters on D in the first 20 minutes...
However, my bold statement came from several years of rebuilding team after 2013 season. When you look who Packers have on the roster, you can not be that pesimistic... There is a lot of young players that already have substantial experience playing in NFL. I think level of talent Packers have, starting from 2013 is constantly rising up with good drafts or UDFA and FA signings made through that period...
I expect explosion of talent this and next season...

DThomas's picture

Croat,
It's one thing to be a fan but another to be delusional. Three SB appearances in five years would be going out on a limb. You're not even finding the tree with your prediction.

Finwiz,
It's one thing to have a short attention span, it's another to broadcast it to the entire board.

Since '61,
That was a good response to the opening post.

The Packers do have an organizational advantage but they also have a couple of disadvantages. The first is no rich owner available to pump money into the team if that's ever required. Another is Green Bay itself is not a desired destination for free agents. But as Since '61 wrote, having HOF QBs isn't something that can be counted upon. And while whoever the VP of Football Operations/GM is won't have to bow to an owner, there's no guarantee that person will be skilled at building and maintaining a competitive roster.

However, I did appreciate the tip of the hat to Harlan. Packers fans should be forever grateful to him for creating the position Ron Wolf accepted. Wolf turned down the job a few years before because he wouldn't have had complete control of football operations.

Apologies to Finwiz for going over 140 characters.

Since '61's picture

DThomas - thank you for your thoughtful comments. The Packers may not have a rich owner to pump money into the team, but they do have their fans for that. The purpose of every stock sale the Packers organization has ever held has been to pump money into the team. The last two times we received shares of stock relative to our contribution amounts. Now I realize that our shares are nothing more than glorified thank you cards for contributing to the team but I'm confident that most of us would gladly contribute again if the need arises with or without the shares. I know I would. Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

With revenue sharing operating at the level it does, and a salary cap, who really needs a wealthy owner? If anything, the NFL pads their pockets, not the other way round.

DThomas's picture

Since '61,

You're right about the stock sales, but remember that money can't be used for football operations, just capital improvements. Of course the capital improvements can increase the Packers profit over time, but it's not the same as a billionaire owner writing a check to fund football operations. The Packers cash reserve fund is about $275M, so there are no immediate concerns, but if the NFL's sharing TV revenues change or if those revenues decline it could be a concern.

LayingTheLawe's picture

I don't understand this concern as the Packers are right near the salary cap. What is Jerry Jones doing that the Packers aren't that you are worried about?

Finwiz's picture

Jesus - write a novel Since '61, or apply for a job with CheeseheadTV?
I couldn't get through it. You need to learn the art of brevity.

The measure of success is Super Bowl appearances and wins.
Making playoff's is fine, but you can be pretty much a bit above a mediocre team and still make the playoffs these days. Not sure that has the positive aura it once did.

Bert's picture

Amen to that Finwiz......

Worztik's picture

Oh, I'm sorry, Bart...

Worztik's picture

Finpiss... you need to just cut your fingers off or burn them at times!!!!!

Worztik's picture

You too Bret...

Bert's picture

LOL!!! Not very nice Worztik. Kinda funny though.

Since '61's picture

Fin - you are under no obligation to read my posts. Having said that the Packers are a very successful franchise, both in terms of their on field performance and financial stability. In this era of the NFL success is measured by consistency. That doesn't mean I'm satisfied with just making the playoffs but if you compare the Packers with every other team in the league during this period they are second only to NE. So I think they fit into the successful category. As for achieving championship status that is a disappointing story, I agree with you. Hopefully this meets your brevity parameters. Thanks, Since '61

Finwiz's picture

Since '61....that's true, but you clog up all the threads with those lengthy dissertations, fit for my priests Sunday sermons. He drones on and on too.

Worztik's picture

Jeez Finweasel... SMH!!!!

Finwiz's picture

As the city of Milwaukee is just FINE with having a baseball team that NEVER competes for anything, the Packers appear to be FINE with making the playoff's, and breaking the fans hearts in the process.

LayingTheLawe's picture

No one is just FINE with any of this. Everyone wants the Packers to improve and win more. Just because we don't agree with you on how to do this does not lessen the desire to win.

FINE?

FINE!

LayingTheLawe's picture

FInwiz. No you can't. Packer fans think so because their team is always there but the playoffs are still difficult to make. Only spoiled Packers fans believe this. The strategy in the NFL is still to beat the other teams in your division, make the playoffs, and then see what happens from there.

Worztik's picture

Very, very well said and written '61... I applaud you for expressing my sentiments... perfectly!!!!!!! I'm new to this arena and as you've witnessed, I'm outspoken and, while I don't intend to, I really piss people off at times due to this. You're more diplomatic than I but, a true fan I believe, and I'll continue to express my thoughts, although not as eloquently as yourself, and appreciate your comments at the same time!!! Good article overall, though.

Since '61's picture

Worztik - I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Working on 56+ seasons as a long distance fan from NYC originally, now living in NJ. Became a fan during the Lombardi era and I've never looked back. I get to Lambeau and to some away games as often as possible but either way, win or lose, I'm in for the duration as a Packers fan. Glad that you've joined us. The more the merrier for me. Great to be able to share thoughts and comments with Packer fans from all over the U.S. and the world. Thanks, Since '61

Worztik's picture

Thanks Since'61... I can still remember (clearly!!!) when Bart snuck in behind Jerry!!! Kind of a Jack Del Rio type call... 15 yo then and loving the Pack still... I wish you continued good health buddy!!!!

Since '61's picture

You have a year on me then. I was 14 when Bart went in for our 3rd in a row. Best of health to you as well. Since '61

PETER MAIZ's picture

Frankly, I like since 61. I've learned from his comments. It's nice to have a man, since 61, who is realistic and insightful. However, I see the Pack going places this year. Thompson adjusted to reality this year and added speed.

Since '61's picture

Peter - I appreciate your generous comments. I agree with you that we have a good shot this year to go deep into the playoffs and hopefully get over the hump. It would be good to finally chuck the injury bug as well. Thanks, Since '61

LayingTheLawe's picture

The Packers have no doubt been successful over a long period of time. But what may be most recalled by fans are the heartbreaking playoff losses. The NFL network's top 10 playoff finishes program features three heart wrenching Packer losses in overtime. And this does not include the two home playoff losses to the Giants, games Packers fans certainly feel they should have won. These losses fuel the MM and TT haters.

Spock's picture

Nice continuing article in the series. Definitely didn't know about Bill Belicheck's dad writing that scouting report "bible". Wow, cool information!

Nick Perry's picture

The thing that sticks out to me about this entire "Offseason" is Thompson was able to address several needs of the Packers while drafting some players who can step right in and contribute right away. Not only that but he actually improved the Packers during FA at other positions as well.

King, Josh Jones, and Biegel could all play significant snaps this season on defense this season. Same could be said for Williams and Jones on offense. Throw in Bennett, Kendricks, and Evans the Packers have a top 3 offense that could score 35 points on anyone, anytime and a defense IMO who can finish in the top 15.

There will always be a feeling more could have been done and it's quite possible that could still happen. So far TT has signed 5 FA, that's more than he's signed the last several years combined. He worked the draft and picked up 2 extra picks than what he had at the start of it. AR wanted Ted to go "All In" this offseason. Signing 5 FA is about as "All In" as one could hope for given TT history in FA. All in all some excellent "New Hires".

RCPackerFan's picture

'AR wanted Ted to go "All In" this offseason.'

I think Rodgers will be very happy with the additions of Bennett, Kendricks, Evans, Williams and Jones on offense.
Also with Yancey and Dupre added that should at the very least get more out of Davis, Janis and Allison.

Nick Perry's picture

I really like Dupre . He was the #1 WR coming out of HS when he signed with LSU. I like his size too. Unless Davis jumps big time he might be gone.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think Dupre is still raw. He isn't the fastest, but not the slowest. One thing that i do like about him is that he really knows how to get open deep or adjust to throws deep.
Todd McShay said he had Dupre as one of the top 2-3 WR's as far as hands go. They got him at the very end of the draft. He has played with very bad QB's, so that definitely hurt him.
I think he could be a steal for them. I'm not saying he will be, just think he has a chance to be.

I still like Davis. But he has to step up in year 2. Hopefully a full offseason will really help him.
The other guy that maybe gone is Janis. This is now year 4. He needs to step up or could possibly be shipped out in favor of younger guys to be developed.

dobber's picture

I'd love to be proven wrong, but I just don't see Dupre or Yancey as being much more than extra bodies in that bottom-of-the-roster WR mess. TT is mining for gold but finding gravel. Maybe one of those guys pans out, but they're mostly warm bodies that will rely on an HOF caliber QB to make them look good.

RCPackerFan's picture

The thing to really remember with these guys, is that they played with awful QB's. So it is tough to get a true read on them as players.

I know one thing. The Packers have been very good at drafting WR's. If they see something in these guys, then I will definitely trust them.

Like I said earlier, maybe they won't be anything great, but at the very least it will help push the guys ahead of them.

BPEARSON21's picture

I agree I think the FA's that were brought in, at least from a quantity standpoint are helpful for depth and will greatly improve our offense (thank you Bennett and Kendricks) but would you consider that one of our "needs" from last season...?

We got waxed in the NFCC game because of our defense. Guys lit up our defense all year. Here are a few stats to illustrate our miserable defense last season: they finished 31st in passing yards allowed (4,308), tied for 29th in passing touchdowns surrendered (32), and last in yards per attempt (8.1). So what did we do to fix that? People get SO blinded/excited that TT signed a few defensive FA but we fail to recognize that these were quantity/depth adding moves, not quality moves. Davon House was cut by the Jags... the Jags and Francois is old. I thought we drafted really really well but I never buy into the idea that you can completely fix your needs by adding a bunch of 19-22 year old rookies and expect a ton of production. Don't believe me? See Rollins and Randall.

I can't get on board with your assertion that the Packers defense will finish top 15 after they were 31st in passing defense and 23rd in overall defense. All we did was add a few rookies and a few older "plug" players.

In my opinion we did not address our needs. Our offense wasn't a need we finished top 10 in total offense. Numbers don't lie, our weakness is our defense and I don't think it's a good idea to just "hope" Rollins/Randall figure it out and "hope" a few rookies can step in and be impact-full. After-all, they're rookies they haven't even played a snap.

dobber's picture

"I can't get on board with your assertion that the Packers defense will finish top 15 after they were 31st in passing defense and 23rd in overall defense. All we did was add a few rookies and a few older "plug" players."

At this stage, Packer success on defense for 2017 has been predicated on younger players stepping up and 'addition by subtraction', by and large. If that works, TT and the coaching staff will look like savants. In many ways, it's as if they said, "Well, we can't get much worse, so why not try this?"

BPEARSON21's picture

I totally agree with you. That certainly seems to be the plan for 2017 but are you comfortable with that? Or more importantly are you confident in that? I think TT is one of (if not, the best) at budget management. But let's be honest, that is a blessing and a curse. You rely and hope that young players on their first contract or older veterans on team friendly contracts can get the job done.

It hasn't worked the past 2 years so I am not comfortable or confident in the plan. The one year we won a title with Rodgers was the 1 year we had a top 10 defense. He's proven what he can do, given a solid defense.

So I agree with you and I understand the game plan for 2017, I just don't really buy into using the same old tactics that have been failing and expecting a different result. Just wondering how many more failed defensive seasons we can have before we decide to change our process.

Nick Perry's picture

You have to remember where the Offense was before Rodgers "Run the Table" statement. When the Packers were 4-6 in 2016 they had played 26 straight games where the offense couldn't put together 4 quarters of quality football on the same afternoon.

The Packers got better about the exact same time Nelson started to trust his knee 100% and most importantly when Cook came back from his injury. Replacing Cook with Bennett and Kendricks makes the Packers a better football team, IMO much better at that position. Throw in Montgomery training to play RB for a full offseason plus the experience from last season and I think the Packers have a more potent weapon.

The Packers got better with House, King, and Jones. This season they'll have options if the starters struggle. Last season they had no other options in the secondary, that's not the case now. Last season Matthews played about a third of it with a separated shoulder and Perry with a huge ass club. If both can hold up for the year that will help too. The difference between 15th and say 25th isn't always that huge, but it might be just enough.

Packmaniac's picture

Excellent work. Informative commentary.

Lphill's picture

Since 61 I think unfortunately success is measured by SB wins like in baseball World Series rings I compare the packers to the Yankees , we expect both teams to be in the post season but we don't realize how difficult the journey is. Some teams just making it to the post season is victory enough .

Finwiz's picture

@Lphill....not unfortunately - it's called expectation of greatness, and not settling for mediocrity. Unfortunately the Brewers haven't even mastered the ability to field a mediocre team on a consistent basis.

dobber's picture

The playing field in MLB has not been leveled to the extent that it has been in the NFL.

Finwiz's picture

@Dobber - that's true, but that blowhard Bud Selig said "build Miller Park, so we can compete", and taxed us into perpetuity in the process. I'm seeing the taxes, but missing the competitiveness. But I digress.

dobber's picture

The opportunity to compete doesn't guarantee competitiveness...unless you're talking about 2007 to 2011, not too long after they opened Miller Park, when they were able to log a couple playoff appearances.

Worztik's picture

I lost much of my interest in baseball when the teams (and players), once again in sports, went for the big bucks as free agents! I really enjoyed playing and watching baseball before teams like the Yankees and (???) started buying championships! Milwaukee can never be competitive until caps are in place like the NFL. I don't even recognize the names of most players this year. I recognize the dude in the front seats on the 3rd base line easier than the players!!! Is that long enough finster?

Finwiz's picture

@Worztik...yeah, good post.
I don't disagree. I recognize Brewer Amy (unfortunately) more than 3/4 of the roster.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Great article!
My concern for the current team is what appear be a lack of high-quality backups at center and guard. Maybe the staff sees some of the current roster as good enough, but we've had years in the past where one bad interior lineman results in a broken offense. I'm especially concerned about backup center--maybe Barclay is good enough...

dobber's picture

If they open camp in July and find that they have a real train-wreck issue at G/C, I think they'll go find someone. Maybe at cutdowns in August, but I think they'll find someone. In the end, I think you hit the nail on the head: for some reason, this staff is comfortable with Barclay in a key backup role at several positions. Maybe Lucas Patrick has learned to snap...

RCPackerFan's picture

I really like the people that were brought in this offseason.
I like that they didn't solely rely on the draft this season. They actually went out and got proven veterans to come in and play right away.
Going out and getting Bennett and Kendricks will have a huge impact on the offense. Also bringing in Evans will help the loss of Lang.
Bringing Francois in on defense will really help solidify the DL. And House will provide a physical presence they have lacked.

I also like the rookie class they have.
King could be a starting CB from day 1. (not expecting him to, just think there is a chance).
Jones could play a big role in subpackages for the defense. His speed will definitely be an added asset to the defense.
Adams and Biegel will at the very least add a rotational player.
Williams and Jones could be huge for the offense. While I love Montgomery it was imperative they add RB's to the roster. Williams could be a really good RB in GB. The more I see from Jones the more I like. He is a RB that could be taylor made for the offense. Similar to Montgomery. He could be a great RB in the passing game for GB.

dobber's picture

I think that if King is not starting day 1, and he continues in a nickel/backup role for the bulk of the season, that will mean good things for this Packer defense. Namely, that House, Rollins, and Randall were good enough to keep him on the bench.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do agree.
I am looking forward to seeing how this competition turns out.

Handsback's picture

The difference between winning the SB and getting to the playoffs is pretty wide. To win the SB, your team has to be strong and play as a team. I see Green Bay having issues with their roster and teams taking advantage of those weaknesses. The Patriots’ have well rounded teams that have the capability to make stops on defense. That has not been the case with Green Bay's defense. Team's win by coming together and covering those weakness, example in the Packer's last SB Woodson goes down but a third string CB (Bush) makes the plays of his life so that the team can win the day. That is very Belichick like.
This isn't pointing a finger at TT and saying you haven't done enough. Nor is it saying Capers, you defense scheme is horrible. Green Bay just has come up short in the playoffs because they haven't had the players capable of winning the SB. The year they got bounced by Seattle.....Rodgers was on one leg. You can blame it on the defense, but the offense didn't get it done at the end. Also if they had won that game, could a one leg QB win the SB?
Green Bay is good enough to compete for the SB, they just don't have the horses to win it. I think this year the DBs will be better as well as the LB corp that the Packers can win the SB if the injury bug doesn't wipe out either the QB or a segment of their team like last year.

Finwiz's picture

I refuse to believe it's all on the players. It's as much scheme as it is the players on defense, if not more. If the players are all bad, then it means the GM has been drafting defensive garbage for 4-5 years, correct?
I don't buy it, sorry. Look at the coaches for the primary source of the problem.

dobber's picture

I'd like to know how many teams out there play a 3-4 similar to the Packers. Of the top 10 defensive teams last year, I think Houston, Denver, Arizona and Baltimore all play a 3-4 as their base defense, right? Pittsburgh, the Jets and Chicago were 12, 11, and 15.

dobber's picture

I all but quit comparing anyone to the Patriots. They will go down as being the best-coached, most flexible, and perhaps having the most intuitive front office in the history of the NFL. People keep saying, "Look at the Patriots." "Do what the Patriots do." Well, the NFL is a copycat league and teams have been trying. The problem is that the Patriots have fundamental pieces that can't be replicated and it starts with the evil one at the top (and includes the guy throwing the football). It's an apples and oranges comparison and it just doesn't work unless you can locate your own evil genius. That's a pretty tall order.

LayingTheLawe's picture

And you get posters here that seem to espouse the idea that if you can't be better than the GOAT coach and QB then you should all be fired.

2020hindsight's picture

Coaching the problem.
I have a hard time believing people do not see this.
If you look at the play of the defense in the 4th quarter
over his entire tenure it is simply BAD. Three statistics bear this out. 4th quarter stats only. Those are punts forced, 3rd down percentage and points per possession.
GB finishes in the bottom 1/4 of the league as a general
rule. Think about how many games the defense has given away in the fourth quarter under our current DC.
Then try to remember how many games they saved by shutting out a team in the 4th quarter.

Finwiz's picture

Someone gets it. Congrats.
It's a rarity around here.
The players are all bad, and the GM's an old fool.
Couldn't possibly be the old DC that's had the game pass him by.

sonomaca's picture

I think it comes down to the fact that Packers don't draft defensive players nearly as well as the do offensive ones, although they still do a decent job.

PETER MAIZ's picture

Very visionary article. It's given me faith that the porous defense will be fixed. Thompson has added speed and talent. With Rodgers and added talent on defense, the Packers will definitely be contenders for the crown. Thompson did a good job. The players are faster and show talent especially after a year of coaching.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Excellent. Excellent series.

My top two needs were CB and pass rush. Check on the CB/Hyde role. But I think you kind of glossed over the pass rush/OLB part.

I am not at all sure Biegel is an OLB. I think he should play ILB in practice and some OLB.

I think our OLB situation is not good.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Double post.

Having a lot of problems with this site lately. Froze up 4 times just in this article - refresh doesn't work, have to close the tab and shut down chrome.

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