A Black Eye on the Thompson Era

Today, we discuss the comments of Brady Poppinga on "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd.

When you start off the season 3-0 because your often-maligned defense carried your team to victory, negative publicity magically disappears.  After an offseason filled with controversial pieces and tales of dissension within the organization, the Green Bay Packers desperately needed to get off to a quick start to limit any additional negative publicity.  

The first 3 games showed the strides this organization has taken over the last two seasons to improve their roster.  After the Packers defeated the Bears in a 10-3 slugfest at Soldier Field, Aaron Rodgers smiled in disbelief saying "we have a defense".      

So, Why was Aaron in such disbelief that he had a defense again? Former Packer linebacker Brady Poppinga shines a light on the philosophy Ted Thompson decided to implore after the Packers won the super bowl in 2011 on "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd. (4:30 mark for thoughts on the Packers)

Before we break down the magnitude of these statements, let's just acknowledge that yes, Brady Poppinga has lived a relatively quiet life after football, and yes, I'm sure he had an ax to grind because he was cut by Thompson.  However, despite the ill feelings he still may hold towards Thompson, his comments should not be brushed aside.

For a moment let us speak to the validity of these comments.  

How many years after the Superbowl run was Thompson criticized for the abominable defenses he put on the field?  How many times did Thompson refuse to add a key veteran to the defense in either the offseason or when his secondary was decimated with injuries?  Finally, how many times did you watch a game and sarcastically think to yourself, "hmmm, I wonder if Ted gives Aaron the worst defense possible to show what a superstar he is?" When you think about the answers to these three questions you will realize that Brady Poppinga is 100% telling the truth.  

The addition of Julius Peppers only furthers the point that Thompson could have found productive veteran players to fill key holes on the defense, but routinely chose not to.  

Just like that, our sarcastic internal muses were realized when we were complaining about the Packers defense while they were busy choking up a lead late in the game. These revelations are particularly hard to take now that we know for a certainty that Ted really didn't give a damn about the defense.  

We also understand how frustrated Aaron has to be with the organization for years of failing to equip him with a defense capable of helping the team win a Superbowl.  

Yes, I understand Thompson supporters will cite Aaron's big contract extension in 2013 for the reason that the defense was neglected, but after seeing what Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball did in free agency and the draft over the last two years, we all know that those excuses are just a load of shit.  The bottom line is, Ted could have done more to help the defense.   

At this point, we all just need to be honest and call it for what it is; Ted Thompson did an incredible job of rebuilding the team after the Sherman era but chose to neglect the defense in the following decade which ultimately lead to his demise as general manager, as well as the deterioration of the franchise after the 2016 season.         

If these latest revelations are confirmed (which I'm sure they will be), this should definitely cause us to reevaluate the tenure of Ted Thompson from a peculiar folk hero to a successful general manager who became complacent after his initial success with the team.

Sound Off:

Thompson supporters give it your best attempt to discredit Brady Poppinga and defend your man.  Thompson bashers, take your victory lap and tell us you knew it all along.  Rational people, tell us what the middle ground is and whether these revelations should be a mark against Ted Thompson's legacy.

-------------------

David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

NFL Categories: 
6 points

Comments (43)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
zoellner25's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:17 am

Ted's last several drafts were mostly abysmal. Ted was GM 2005-2017:

http://www.drafthistory.com/index.php/teams/packers

+ REPLY
9 points
10
1
Adorabelle's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:11 pm

After the 2011 season when the d was so bad the packers have done almost nothing but draft d players. They have not drafted an offensive player first in the draft since 2011 and it became almost a meme that the team was going to draft 3 defenders and then a receivr or offensive lineman after that. So the attempts were made to fix the holes, they just didn't work.

The packers under TT didnt go after free agents? Wow never heard that before. They just kept trotting out james starks and insisting he was good. That was the plan on both sides of the ball.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Brandon Fick's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:28 am

Packers first round draft pick positions in the Thompson era:
QB
LB
DT
DT
LB
OT
OT
OLB
DE
S
S
DT

9/12 on defense. But sure, let's assume that he deliberately decided to ignore one side of the ball completely because of one comment with no context from a single former player.

"The addition of Julius Peppers only furthers the point that Thompson could have found productive veteran players to fill key holes on the defense, but routinely chose not to."

So the fact that he signed a player to help the defense... proves that he didn't sign players to help the defense? Also conveniently ignoring Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Howard Green, Letroy Guion. This article is such hot-take silliness. Did Thompson run over the writer's dog or something?

+ REPLY
3 points
11
8
Spock's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:46 am

DT, Wait, you're disputing the author's viewpoint with FACTS? :) I don't know exactly what was said on ""The Herd" with Colin Cowherd" because I refuse to follow the link to hear ANYTHING from that b.s. show which is just a click-bait haven. Anybody who's followed T.T.'s drafts has complained plenty about MISSES on defensive players. How anyone can say TT was ignoring the defense is laughable. TT's biggest fault was his disdain for FA. When he did go FA it was to get affordable guys only. Gute uses FA much more, and so far has hit more than missed at this. With GB up against the cap next year I don't see a lot of FA's coming to GB next year, but that's a different discussion.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
DavidMichalski's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:26 pm

The point Poppinga makes is that Ted neglected the defense AFTER the Superbowl. And then when he finally signed Peppers after 3 years of neglecting the defense, it gave them a real chance again (that proves he neglected the defense for the 3 years prior) Then in 16 and 17, the defense was a mess again, with aging players and injuries. I particularly remember saying to myself, he couldn't of at least picked up Vontae Davis? I know he's at the end, but he'd damn sure be better than the crap we currently have on the field. Then Atlanta lit us up like a Christmas tree and Ted let more members of the secondary walk and they thrived and became pro-bowlers.

The fact that Ted blatantly neglected the defense for any amount of time should piss someone off. The fact that he showed he could build a defense and just didn't because he planned to rely on Aaron to outscore teams is ridiculous.

+ REPLY
2 points
4
2
jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:12 pm

Put it down David! You Bee saving my fingers, Keep up the good work.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
SterlingSharpe's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:38 pm

Thanks for the FACTS.

Now what is also TRUE about this article is that TT did fail to add veteran pieces.

He hit the home run in Woodson (lucky nobody else wanted him). Peppers was a good addition too and that 2014 team he assembled should have won a Super Bowl. That failure was Bostick & McCarthy & the schitty special teams coach.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
Leatherhead's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:59 pm

Plenty of teams wanted Woodson, but Green Bay was one of the few that could afford him.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Leatherhead's picture

October 02, 2019 at 10:56 pm

I think you are on target Brandon. We spent resources on defense with people like Datone, Clark,
Perry, King, Dix. Those are just first rounders post SuperBowl. Add Martinez, Lowry, Fackrell....the notion that we didn’t pursue a better defense is nonsense.

We lost Shields and Collins prematurely. Woodson got old. We had some picks that weren’t as good as we hoped they would be along with some bad choices. We let guys like Hayward and Hyde leave in FA. When you combine bad luck with a few bad picks and questionable decisions then you get what we had....A defense that couldn’t be depended on.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
Handsback's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:48 am

In fairness you have to say that TT wanted to improve the defense through the draft.....just couldn't get it done. Bad choices and leaving 1st and 2nd round picks on the table because they didn't pan out created the hot mess that led to two losing seasons. Think for a moment if instead of 9/12 had been defense just 6/12? That would mean that maybe the offense may have been stronger with three possible starters.
The problem wasn't focus as much as follow through...Ted just didn't make good choices for several years. Now I think we know why.

+ REPLY
11 points
12
1
Mvlc1's picture

October 02, 2019 at 11:59 am

There was a "guy" from Packers.com, who would always defend Thompson by saying, "Take care of the cap, and the cap will take care of you.". Season after season I would watch our team roll into the playoffs, with great hopes they would get to the Superbowl again, only to have the Defense fail us at the most inopportune time, to the point it became expected. I tried to buy into that philosophy, tried to convince myself it was the correct way to do it. Sure, making the playoffs each year were awesome, BUT DAMN IT! I AM TIRED OF NOT WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP! THAT's WHAT WE WATCH THIS GAME FOR....No More Excuses. WITH THE EFING SUPERBOWL, thats it. THIS IS THE GREEN BAY PACKERS, ACT LIKE IT! CHAMPIONS!

+ REPLY
1 points
6
5
jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:14 pm

They have the Franchise QB. No excuses, just watch Bill and Company.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
SterlingSharpe's picture

October 02, 2019 at 07:40 pm

Can't stand those Packers.com liars.
Always excuses.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
ILPackerBacker's picture

October 02, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Great write up. Leave Brady aside and the truth is still there. At the end of the day it boils down to the FA BS so many thompson suck ups still parrot.

Check NE and see how many rookies were drafted into a skill position (including CB) and expected to excel.

the rent a vet was ALWAYS the way to go
Moss, Revis....

it is sickening to recall how badly and regularly TT failed. Woodson was ONLY after BF called thompson out in public. After Woodson was rejected by everyteam in a Colin K preview. Then he was sent packing for another project.

The shame is Rodgers played along with it so long. Does anyone recall Peppers could have been in GB YEARS BEFORE HE SHOWED UP? That he was sent packing without an offer by the incompetent drool miester?

+ REPLY
-1 points
4
5
jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:18 pm

He didn't even offer an extension to Peppers, Hyde, or restructure Wood's contract to play the safety position.
The CAP was moving UP exponentially, no excuses from the Flat Landers on these issues.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
jimtalkbox's picture

October 02, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Ted Thompson bashing is pointless. He was the architect of a perennial playoff team.

Was he absolutely perfect? Definitely not, and he'd probably be the first to admit it. He was risk averse in free agency but had more hits than misses in the draft.

+ REPLY
-1 points
8
9
Gort's picture

October 03, 2019 at 04:16 pm

"had more hits than misses in the draft."
His hits were finding a late round guy that played somewhat better than expected.
His misses were early round guys that cost the team dearly with their lost draft capital.

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
JakeDickerson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 12:31 pm

So we are holding Thompson accountable for all the injuries? How many defensive players did he draft? This team went to the NFC championship in 2014 and was an overtime loss away from going to another. Rodgers gets injured the next 2 years.
Calling Poppinga’s comments a “victory lap” for Ted bashers is naive as they are coming from a player with some obvious bias toward Thompson.
If Thompson hadn’t taken care of the cap, do you think they are in a position to sign 4 FA’s last offseason?
Take your trolling somewhere else.

+ REPLY
-2 points
5
7
DavidMichalski's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:41 pm

My point is that Ted could have addressed the defense in years prior despite Aaron's massive cap hits. Gutekunst and Ball showed us it could have been done with the free-agent signings THEY made this offseason. Ted never got help for the team when they lost players due to injury. He also never had much depth and forced the team to sink or swim. He definitely deserves criticism for blatantly neglecting the defense.

+ REPLY
2 points
5
3
Bearmeat's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:52 pm

You're right and so is Cowherd (shudder). Ted and Mike et al from 2012 onwards, failed. They didn't draft well enough, coached poorly and refused to adjust to the new CBA, which made free agency not the killer it was from 2000-2010.

It's not trolling to say that Ted was a HOF GM from 2005-2009 and a below average one from 2010-2017.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:21 pm

They received TWO more contract extensions. All was happy on the third floorHQ in Packertown.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lare's picture

October 02, 2019 at 12:33 pm

I was a longtime Ted basher as I never agreed with a GM being a one-trick pony when it came to player acquisition. That said, in the long run Ted probably batted around .300 when it comes to hits & misses on players, which everyone says is doing good for a GM in any sport.

Ted's problem is he had more of his misses in the last few years which are fresher in everyone's mind.

+ REPLY
9 points
11
2
Qoojo's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:49 pm

This is more 24 hour cycle media self-generated bull. He said-she said rumor mongering into a story to get attention, whether it is by a person or personality. Basically, give me more clicks or views. So here we are commenting on someone commenting on a "story".

Spoiler alert, you can't win any football game if you don't outscore your opponent.

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Packers2020's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:08 pm

And you cant win championships without a Defense.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
DavidMichalski's picture

October 02, 2019 at 01:53 pm

So the argument that Brady Poppinga has an ax to grind isn't valid. Look at 2011-13 and then again in 2016-17 when the secondary was decimated with injuries and could have been upgraded. Let's also not forget that Thompson whiffed in the secondary by constantly missing on players and letting players leave only to turn into pro-bowlers.

FORGET THAT THOUGH

My point is Thompson openly told people within the organization that he was neglecting the defense. Like he seriously told Poppinga that they were going to rely on Aaron to outscore everyone. Let's face it if he told Poppinga that I'm sure he told others. That's just ridiculous to me, and it cost the Packers big time!

Maybe CHTV can reach out and have Brady set the record straight.

+ REPLY
1 points
3
2
Lare's picture

October 02, 2019 at 02:50 pm

What's ironic is that Brady Poppinga got one of the worst contract extensions that Thompson ever gave out.On July 24, 2008, the Packers signed Poppinga to a five-year $17 million extension that added four years onto his rookie contract. After that, Poppinga never played a full season and only averaged 17 total tackles and 1 sack per season before he was cut in 2011.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Adorabelle's picture

October 02, 2019 at 04:27 pm

Getting it wrong and not trying are different. Theres no dispute there were tons of errors made. But to infer this is because he didnt want to try and fix it is a big step to take with this as the evidence.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:23 pm

Who can forget the basketball player with a TWO pick or the compromised Justin Harrell with a One???

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
The_Justicar's picture

October 02, 2019 at 08:15 pm

What I don’t find likely is that a GM would tell any player about to be cut he teams long term strategy for success is “we don’t need defense so you are cut”. Doesn’t seem plausible. He may have said...”Brady, we don’t need you on defense to win games” being that Brady was not contributing and making good $ and thus, was cut.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
MWendlandt's picture

October 03, 2019 at 04:41 pm

We get it. You don't like Ted. But I highly doubt he went around telling his roster that he was going to neglect the defense. Remember that he (Poppinga) was appearing on a show that only gives you airtime if you can say something that will cause widespread hot takes. Poppinga also was the guy last year who went on the radio and said he could still suit up and outplay Fackrell. So safe to say I take most of what he says with more than a grain of salt. Articles like these are written just looking to stoke anger among the fanbase.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lare's picture

October 04, 2019 at 06:33 pm

Poppinga was an average NFL Player who's trying to come across as a Packers expert even though he was cut over 8 years ago. Kind of like Finley.

Florio and Cowturd love them.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Adorabelle's picture

October 02, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Thanks for the laugh. The guy running the team didn't want the team to win. Ohhhhhk. Lol

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
DavidMichalski's picture

October 03, 2019 at 01:18 pm

What I said was he blatantly neglected the defense. He wanted to win with an Aaron can put up 35 points on any defense so why bother with ours. Obviously, the Packers eventually agreed this philosophy wasn't sustainable because they fired him.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:06 pm

We need to remember a few things about TT after the SB win.
First his draft position was usually in the high 20s and sometimes in the 30s. Second the team was decimated with injuries in 2013 and 2016 specifically.

Having said that TT failed to address the safety position between the SB and the 2014 draft. He never adequately addressed ILB after the SB win and he missed big time with #1 picks Perry and Datone Jones. When Shields went down in the first game of the 2015 season he did nothing via FA to replace him.

He did sign Peppers but that was about it. Guion was a cheap way to go when better DLs were available in FA. Also TT never signed a legit OLB to rotate in with CM3 and Perry when they were injured, which was often. For some reason he signed a college basketball player to play CB and then drafted safeties to play CB in the NFL.

TT did a great job up to the 2010 SB win. After that he had later slots in the draft, ridiculous number of injured starters, mistakes in draft picks and a reluctance to use FA. All of this gradually weakened the roster to the point where the wheels fell of in the 2016 NFCCG and after Rodgers injury in 2017 the roster was exposed for what it was, uncompetitive.

We’ve moved on. Time to leave the TT era behind like a bad loss and get ready for the next game and future seasons.
Thanks, Since ‘61

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
Lphill's picture

October 02, 2019 at 05:46 pm

For too long the defense was made up of a few good players and a bunch of UDFA ‘s ever notice when defensive players are released or not re signed they are usually never picked up by other teams ? The reason is they are just not NFL worthy, now let’s watch the defense build, this is a good start but just wait until we get a playmaking inside linebacker , hopefully next draft.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

October 02, 2019 at 09:07 pm

So the big bone of contention is that under Ted Thompson the packers didn't go get free agents even when it seemed wise to do so? Well.. Welcome to the party pal. We all have known that for years. TT believed in draft and develop til death do us part. So when the draft picks were pro bowl level players the team did well and when they were waived out of the NFL level players the team did poorly. But TT was never going to pick up a free agent even if it meant going into a championship game with Ladarius Gunter as your number 1 db or winning a super bowl with Brandon Jackson and james starks as your running backs. The plan was never going to change. This is not news.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 03, 2019 at 12:03 am

David, I'm surprised you wrote that, I expect better from you. (Perhaps I just haven't been paying enough attention to what you write.)

I am neither a Thompson apologist nor a basher. I appreciate Ted building a championship team and playoff teams. But after he had rebuilt the roster I criticized him for largely ignoring free agency. That's why so many poor defenses were put on the field - because he drafted poorly & generally wouldn't supplement the D with FAs. I dont believe Brady - why would Ted say such a foolish thing? And if he really believed it, why spend so many early picks on D? Thompson's flaw was not ignoring the D, it was 'only' using the draft to try to fix it.

And BTW the team Ted fielded in 2014 should have won the NFCC game. The screwup on the fake FG, "giving up" on the INT return, the screwup on the onside kick etc., etc., were not Ted's fault. Largely ignoring FA was.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
NickPerry's picture

October 03, 2019 at 05:49 am

The Thompson Era can be divided up into 2 halves as I've said many times before. From 2005 to 2010 he builds a pretty damn great team with a few FA signings that went a LONG, LONG way in getting the franchise back on track.

BUT from 2011 until the day he was no longer responsible for the GBP, he failed, failed, and failed some more. He RODE the jockstrap of a QB hoping just Rodgers was enough. I could list example after example, but standing pat in FA with an offense like GB had was CRIMINAL.

IF the Packers had a GM who would at least attempt to use all avenues of team-building like Gute for example, I have no doubt Rodgers would have at least 2 more SB's and the Packers would be 15 time Champs.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Big_Mel_75's picture

October 03, 2019 at 10:32 am

TT missed to much at the top of the draft for to many years. He tried to get better on defense, he just drafted the wrong players. Questions on his evaluations of college players.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
flackcatcher's picture

October 03, 2019 at 06:43 pm

Over the years I have become quite amused over the Ted Thompson augments. In general, we fans and writers pretend that Ted didn't have a whole staff working toward the draft and free agency year in and year out. Like the current GM and his staff were shut out by Ted as he went into Mad Scientist mode fixing the teams selections. Yeah. Right.////// Ted's front office team was good. So good that half moved to Cleveland to rebuild the Browns. So good that this team was in the Superbowl hunt for most of his tenure right up to 2016. (We still don't know how much Packer President Mark Murphy was interfering in player personal moves.) Ted Thompson was a damn good maybe great GM. I 'll let history decide.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Oppy's picture

October 04, 2019 at 12:31 pm

“Employ” not “implore”

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

October 04, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Where are the Brady Poppinga comments found? I listened for roughly two minutes from the 4:30 mark and it was all cower.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HarlanHuckleby's picture

October 04, 2019 at 05:49 pm

I think we’ve all had ample opportunity over the years to show on the doll where Uncle Ted hurt us. Maybe it’s time to move on to the next step in healing.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.