Lounge lizard Asshalo recently found an article by Kevin Seifert criticizing Ted Thompson and said he’d like to hear an objective response, something I couldn’t do.
“It would be nice to hear an objective response on this one. No offense but we already know how Dale Z is going to respond,” asshalo said. Oh snap!
Let’s ignore the fact that I’m letting something said by a person calling themselves “asshalo” bother me. Let’s just ignore it. Let’s blow right by it and move on to the issue at hand.
I didn’t know who Kevin Seifert was (I only know who Dale Z is) but I was looking forward to reading his article. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it in the way I enjoy “Jason Goes to Hell” – so bad it’s awesome.
Now I’m going to break Seifert down, paragraph by paragraph, and by proxy, break down Seifert fans asshalo and Alex.
“They tricked us. Or, at least, they fooled me.
When Green Bay acknowledged this winter it was shifting to a 3-4 defense, my thoughts moved immediately to free agency. Finally! Packers general manager Ted Thompson would be forced to dabble in a market he has historically disdained. After all, the Packers were built as a 4-3 team and it’s unreasonable to expect every player can make the transition. You figured the Packers would need at least one or two new veteran starters to smooth out the makeover.”
The thing about that 3-4 switch which surprised some people was that we had a good core of players that can play in it. I was as shocked as anyone. Kampman got moved to LOLB and it was a crazy and awesome stretch as we learned more about the 3-4.
“Tuesday, however, marks the 33rd day of free agency — and Thompson has changed nothing about his offseason approach. The Packers have signed two veterans, but safety Anthony Smith and offensive lineman Duke Preston project as backups and play positions that don’t impact the schematic transition.”
Yeah I touched on that already. Why is he so worried about the “schematic transition” only? A lot of folks think the offensive line needs some depth as well, but it has nothing to do with the 3-4 so that signing can go to hell I guess. Go to hell, Duke Preston!
“So what gives? How could Thompson justify such a passive offseason approach following a 6-10 season that spurred the defensive overhaul?”
There’s that word “Overhaul” again. We were 6-10, one year removed from 13-3 and had tons of injuries and Bob Sanders’ incompetence stood out and was addressed. That’s right, Seifert, the key reasons we were 6-10 were already addressed. After that point it’s just tweaking the roster a bit, not an overhaul.
“I missed Thompson at last week’s NFL owners’ meeting, but he told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he is satisfied with the personnel makeup of the team. “We’re pretty solid in our starting lineup,” was the way Thompson put it. Later, he added: “I think our team is built as such we don’t, in my opinion, have some glaring needs.” In essence, Thompson stood pat. In poker terms, he checked. Many fans and observers are bewildered by the paradox between changing schemes and sitting tight on personnel; in the end it represents a staunch and perhaps stubborn display of confidence in past drafts and the prospects for this year’s affair. But let’s be clear: The approach has left the Packers with no room for error in the April 25-26 draft and little doubt about how to judge the 2009 season.”
Glaring Needs? Little room for error? Did Seifert write this in his ‘end of the world’ bunker eating a cold can of beans? And why is this guy taking Ted Thompson’s words so seriously? He never really says anything that means anything. He never steps on players toes. He says the team is a talented bunch, he likes his coaches, etc, etc. Then he can go ahead and boom, cut a draft pick(Cory Rodgers) or coach(Mike Sherman). Taking Ted too serious in these situations is a little silly. What’s he supposed to say?
“That final clause is the part that intrigues me the most. The Packers aren’t the only team that stood on the sidelines of free agency this year. You don’t have to look further than the NFC North to notice that Minnesota has done nothing more than trade for a career backup quarterback and sign a nickelback. Chicago has quietly revamped its offensive line but hasn’t addressed its defense in a meaningful way.”
Damn that Ted Thompson!
“The Vikings, however, will return a team that won 10 games last season. The Bears went 9-7 and lost three games after leading late in the fourth quarter. The Packers, on the other hand, dropped seven of their final nine games and produced the ninth-worst record in the NFL. To stand pat after a 6-10 season is to stake your career on the idea that it was an aberration rather than a sign of long-term trouble.”
Is he serious? Does he not know we suffered tons of injuries? I know he realizes Sanders and Stock are gone and replaced with Capers and Slocum. He does realize it’s not Madden, right? There are a lot of changes outside free agency moves. I think it’s very safe to say we would have won more games had we been a tad healthier and had better coaching on defense and special teams. I’d love to see someone argue that. Oh wait, this guy is…yikes.
“Sure, the Packers hired a new defensive staff led by coordinator Dom Capers to revamp the scheme. But those changes are tied to the flexibility of the personnel on hand. Speaking earlier this month at the Packers’ FanFest, Capers said the transition will be a “process” and added: ‘I wish I had a comfort level where I could stand here and say we’ve got everything we need, but you probably couldn’t get a coach in the league to say that.’”
There we go. About time he mentioned Capers, too bad he’s mad that Capers gave a reply to a question that was straight out of the Ted Thompson book of “say something but say nothing.” Oh no, he’s not comfortable! And neither is any other coach in the NFL! The 3-4 WILL be a process, whether we make minimum moves or a dozen moves. There will be struggles early on and things will clean up as the season goes on. I look forward to the early struggles and hearing “This wouldn’t be happening if Ted would have picked up more players in free agency!” Yes it would have.
“Before free agency began, we noted the change would be a step-by-step process. But a little more than a month later, the Packers don’t seem to have made any progress from a personnel standpoint. They haven’t taken any steps. We’re not any closer to naming their four-man group of linebackers. We don’t know who would replace nose tackle Ryan Pickett if he were injured. We have to wonder whether Johnny Jolly can handle left end — and, even if he can, whether he will face NFL discipline as a result of an arrest in Houston last summer. That’s a totality of uncertainty you don’t want to be facing a year after finishing 6-10.”
Yeah, this is when he lost it. He was trying hard but this is when it fell apart for ol’ Kevin. Yes, we’re not close to naming our four linebackers or our defensive line. That might have something to do with the fact that we haven’t had any camps yet. Green Bay has been notorious the last few seasons for having hardcore competition and some surprise upsets (tell me you knew Atari Bigby was going to become a starter 3 years ago). Again he assumes lack of changes means we’ll be 6-10 again, video game style.
“If nothing else, free agency could have provided alternatives worth embracing with more enthusiasm than Thompson has. That doesn’t mean the Packers should have paid $41 million in guaranteed money to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. It doesn’t necessarily mean they should be pursuing a trade for Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers.”
I knew Haynesworth and Peppers would be mentioned before I finished this thing.
“But even if it meant overpaying a bit, wouldn’t you feel a bit better if the Packers knew they could turn to, say, Kevin Burnett at linebacker or Igor Olshansky at defensive end? Even from a standpoint of pure principle, it would demonstrate the Packers were pursuing every option available to improve their team and, consequently, transfer one less position of pressure to the draft.”
We have ONE hole in the LB core and you never know, Poppinga might be able to step up. Wait, he was on the team last year and we were 6-10 so that won’t work. Nevermind. My bad.
“What I’m building to is this: Thompson should face serious questions and be exposed to high accountability should the personnel group he is endorsing not generate a significant improvement from last season. If the Packers produce another losing season, Thompson’s failure to address the 2008 performance more aggressively will prove to be a grave mistake.”
Be exposed? Kevin sure is a fan of being dramatic. Failure to address the 2008 season? We fired our defensive coordinator, dude. We fired our special teams coach, buddy. Kevin, as well as a lot of others, are underestimating how big it will be to not have Bob Sanders on the Green Bay sidelines in 2009.
“This tack ultimately will validate or revoke the philosophy of setting a base, as Thompson did in his first season, and then building almost exclusively through the draft.
I did catch up last week to the man who ultimately will evaluate Thompson’s performance. Team president/CEO Mark Murphy expressed no regret about the approach to free agency but made clear it was an option if Thompson wanted to use it.
Here’s the exchange Murphy had with Silverstein and me:
What’s been your assessment of the offseason?
Mark Murphy: Well, to me the biggest change was following the season, [coach Mike McCarthy] changing the coaching staff. I’m very encouraged. I’ve been very impressed with Dom Capers and the staff he and Mike have put together. I think you’ll see a difference on the field. We haven’t been big players in free agency, obviously, to this point.
Did you know that going in?
MM: We’re always looking for opportunities, but we want to make sure it makes sense and fits into our long-term plans.
Did you expect more out of free agency?
MM: Free agency isn’t over yet. It’s not a one-week event. It goes on for quite a while. I still think you look historically and the better teams are built through the draft. And then filling needs in free agency.
Were there any financial restrictions on Thompson?
Did the football budget remain the same?
MM: Yeah, we haven’t dropped off.”
Basically Murphy said what I just said, but shorter and like less of a jerk. But this won’t stop Kevin. He’s resilient like that.
“I didn’t sense any impatience or exasperation from Murphy, but he has a long history in the NFL and knows how successful teams are built. He understands the risks and rewards of Thompson’s offseason gambit and no doubt will judge him accordingly.”
Once again someone is acting like there’s a recipe to success. He KNOWS how successful teams are built. Okay, Kevin. If you know what he knows, why aren’t you a general manager in the NFL? I don’t pretend to know how to do it. I just root for my team’s management and acknowledge the talent level on this team, the coaching changes, and the importance of health.
“Thompson prefers to focus on the draft, and the Packers have a chance to grab an immediate starter with the No. 9 overall pick. But a great draft would produce two or three starters across the board. Is it reasonable to expect immediate defensive dividends from one draft? Consider that last year’s draft produced two immediate starters in the entire NFC North. Both were tailbacks: Chicago’s Matt Forte and Detroit’s Kevin Smith. Otherwise, it’s a crapshoot.”
One of the things I learned about the 3-4 is that it’s much easier to draft impact players, especially linebackers. Drafting “tweeners” out of college (DE\LB) and molding them from there is a much easier process, and this sets up well for Thompson, who drafts well. It’s like we switched to a defense that goes hand in hand with our GM’s strength. That excites me.
“Thompson isn’t the only NFL general manager who shies away from free agency. But the combination of last year’s 6-10 record and the defensive changes have put his approach into critical focus moving forward.”
Yes, we were 6-10 last year. We get it, Kevin.
On one side of his mouth, the 3-4 is a big deal and we should bring in many players. Out of the other side he says it’s not a big enough deal (along with bringing in Capers) that will improve the team. Pick one, Kevin. Pick one.
For the record, this is what it said on Kevin’s ESPN bio: Seifert joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for eight years. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and daughter.
That’s right. Asshalo and Alex were agreeing with a Vikings fan on how the Packers should run things.
I enjoyed this read and will look forward to more of Kevin Seifert’s work.
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