Cory's Corner: Ted Thompson's new insurance plan

Training camp started July 27 and since then Thompson has added long snapper Brett Goode, linebacker Ahmad Brooks, linebacker Chris Odom and defensive tackle Quinton Dial. The reason that these additions are interesting is because it has gone against his modus operandi by bringing in veterans to take jobs from draft picks.

Remember when Aaron Rodgers said that the Packers need to reload not rebuild after his team was dismantled by 23 points in the NFC Championship Game?

Well, it appears that general manager Ted Thompson has listened. First it was Vince Biegel getting injured, followed by Montravius Adams, Demetri Goodson, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. We all know Thompson’s history of using the draft as the main pipeline to blossom a team.

Training camp started July 27 and since then Thompson has added long snapper Brett Goode, linebacker Ahmad Brooks, linebacker Chris Odom and defensive tackle Quinton Dial. The reason that these additions are interesting is because it has gone against his modus operandi by bringing in veterans to take jobs from draft picks.

All of those players above will see significant time and will be expected to contribute.

Brooks and Dial will be especially helpful. Brooks has averaged over six sacks a season for the last three years and Dial was a member of two Alabama national titles and already has the support of the locker room.

“He’s been a guy that I’ve always looked up to,” said Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was Dial’s former teammate at Alabama. “A guy that’s set great examples on the field, off the field, he’s going to be a great attribute on this team.”

The obvious question for Thompson is, what has changed? The Packers have been a Super Bowl or bust team for years and now it appears that Thompson is showing a sign of real urgency. Could it be that Thompson sees the end of his career on the horizon and wants to notch one more championship? It has also been rumored that Eliot Wolf has been manning the controls.

But Thompson won’t speak again until the NFL Draft and even when he does, he’s not going to say.

Either way, the Packers are a breath of fresh air on defense. That unit had the most question marks at the end of last season and even though it’s not one of the best defenses in the NFC, it’s still going to be good.

Last year the Packers learned how important depth is in the NFL. This year, it looks like they are much better insured.

We’ll just have to wait and see how many wins translate from said insurance. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (31)

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:14 am

Depth can easily add another win during the regular season, which could make all the difference for home filed in the playoffs. Last trip to SB relied on our roster depth. About time, Ted! GO PACK GO!!!

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Nick Perry's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:39 am

Brooks and Dial are exactly the type of signings many of the "Regular's" here at CHTV have been screaming for for years. I honestly believe these two signings will make a HUGE difference on this defense. Not just for depth but to be able to contribute each and every week. For the first time since 2009 and 2010 I'd consider the Packers D-Line an actual strength on this team. Adding a player like Dial who can play anywhere you put him on the D-Line and Brooks who I think should be used opposite of Perry with Matthews roaming, gives the Packers a better unit against the run while being just as effective rushing the passer as Peppers did the last 2 seasons.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 09, 2017 at 07:17 am

Yep. Even when he decided to open up the purse strings juuuuust a little, TT was too late to the party. He should have been doing this in late March and early April. Thankfully, we got lucky with the 9ers cutting bait on their 34 players.

I am worried about two things now on this team: OL depth and OLB depth. The pass rush should be good enough to fit an enhanced cover game.

This roster is ready to rock. Most excited I've been for the beginning of a year since 2015, and 2010 before that.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 09, 2017 at 07:30 am

You are entitled to "worry about two things", but you still only get ONE seat on the Bus.
Beep beep!

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Bearmeat's picture

September 09, 2017 at 07:59 am

Oh, I'm on the bus. I was on the bus in the 4-12 seasons in the late 80s and early 90's pre-Wolf. I'll certainly be on the bus now. :)

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The TKstinator's picture

September 09, 2017 at 11:42 am

Oddly, because I WAS on the bus back then too is the reason I'm not on it now!

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Nick Perry's picture

September 09, 2017 at 07:34 am

Right there with you BM... Hopefully the O-Line depth isn't something we'll have to test anytime soon. If Brooks, Perry, and Matthews all stay healthy I think we'll be fine. That's a BIG IF though but it could happen. The D-line will be a big part of the Packers success this season, I really believe that. I think Capers will look for more production rushing the passer from those guys compared to past seasons.

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RobinsonDavis's picture

September 09, 2017 at 09:03 am

I still question the keeping of 10 O-linemen on the roster at this point. They must really like Patrick and McCray because Murphy and Spriggs could be moved down to play guard in a pinch (though I understand they need to keep Patrick or McCray on the roster to be a back-up center).

I agree with Meat regarding the inactivity to address the known issues with the OLB position during the off-season. Regardless, both off and pre-season, the Packers Personnel staff have been joyfully out of character with respect to their veteran signings. GO PACK!!

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Dzehren's picture

September 09, 2017 at 10:02 am

We have 9 OL-men . Barclay is on IR

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dobber's picture

September 09, 2017 at 12:34 pm

My bet is that we'll see McCray let go to make room for Allison.

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RobinsonDavis's picture

September 11, 2017 at 05:30 pm

My bad. I STILL want to know why they are we keeping NINE offensive lineman and making TWO inactive. They must really like Patrick and McCray and believe that one of them will be picked up if cut. How's that?

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RobinsonDavis's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:32 am

I posted this earlier in Andrew's piece, but it is applicable here.

If you consider who was picked-up by other teams as a measure of strength the Packers may have at any position, D-Line jumps out, as does QB, WR, and Safety. Some of these players are not signed because of any performance measure, but because of physical attributes and potential. Former Packers signed to other teams thus far are: Ringo, McCaffrey, Hill, Price, Tripp, Pringle, & Gray...And, Crockett had a tryout with the Bears.

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Mojo's picture

September 09, 2017 at 11:46 am

Next year, around this time, we will here from "experts" about how if you're worried about losing certain players from your 90 man roster - "don't worry you can just resign to your practice squad. You rarely ever lose a player you want."

Then I'll remind them of this year, where players I strongly believe GB would have liked back, were plucked by other teams. Ringo, McCaffrey, Hill, Price and Gray were players I felt GB wanted to return, possibly Tripp too. And signed not just to PS's but four of them to 53's.

You can always get back the players you like - except when you don't.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 09, 2017 at 02:05 pm

Then I'll remind you of this year, with simple question - who would you cut to make space?

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Mojo's picture

September 09, 2017 at 04:55 pm

The point isn't whom you'd cut in favor of others it's more the fallacy you can cut just about anyone of your fringe players and bring them back to your PS. At least this year.

If these fringe player had not either been claimed on waivers or pursuing other teams PS's, I believe GB would have preferred Price, Ringo, Hill, McCaffrey, Tripp and Gray to replace six of the players currently on their PS.

I kept hearing we overvalue our on players, and that other teams would just prefer to keep their own anyway. That's a lot of players to lose to something that's supposed to rarely happen.

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ArlenWilliams's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:43 am

Generally apt comments, I think, but I won't be surprised if the Packer defense, barring much injury this time, will be one of the very best in the NFL.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:00 am

Sorry man... I gotta ask: Where do you get your drugs and how can I get some??? ;)

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Hematite's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:52 am

Good on the defense, but Thompson,s "crash and burn" bare bones policy on the offensive line is an invitation to disaster.
Any injuries to any of the OL starters could destroy our hopes much like the corner back position did last year.
Hopefully the starters stay healthy and it all works out.
It scares me to think about any of our O-line backups being shoved in there to protect #12.

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Turophile's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:59 am

I do find it interesting that whenever a 'power behind the throne' is mentioned, it is Wolf's name.

Even assuming there is a 'hidden player' (which I don't believe anyway), I have never heard anyone claim to have inside information on Ted's successor. Gutekunst was probably more in demand as a GM in the offseason, than Wolf.

Even contract negotiator Russ Ball is not out of the picture (as a future GM). He seems to excel at everything he does, and he is said to be working on player evaluation, because he knows it is the main sticking point to him becoming a GM. Lynch (GM in San Francisco), has paved the way for Ball to some degree, having been appointed with no real experience in scouting.

I'd guess it is more likely that any perceived changes to Ted's way of operating is either the result of a self-scouting change, or just that Ted has been presented with more veteran deals that he considers good value, compared to previous years.

If it IS a self-scouting change, that is a good thing, not clinging to the past. You can always learn something if you keep your mind open, and we shouldn't expect Ted to never change anything about how he does things. An inability to adapt is not a trait that allows a long and successful career as GM.

As for the state of the roster now, I would have preferred to have just 8 OLs (starters + Spriggs, Murphy, Patrick) and have kept QB Hill and WR McCaffrey. On the D, I would have preferred keeping Ringo over either Dial or RJF, but being nothing more than a fan, my talent evaluation leaves a lot to be desired.

Despite what I see as missteps at cutdown, i still believe the roster as a whole is a strong one, capable of matching up with pretty much any team in the league, whether it is against the Seahawks, Falcons, Patriots, whatever. If their injury issues, compared to other teams, turn out to be average or better, then the Pack has an excellent chance of hoisting another Lombardi in Feb.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:55 am

I've heard Elliotts name mentioned several times as one of the reasons the Packers have been more active in FA this season. I remember reading a story BEFORE Free Agency even started which mentioned Wolf would be more involved in Free Agency. I don't think it's that far fetched, the front office is a "Team" just like the players on the field. Perhaps Wolf lined them up and Thompson had the final decision whether they were signed or not.

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Bear's picture

September 09, 2017 at 10:02 am

It's far fetched. I think you will be surprised when Wolf isn't the next GM. Other teams that interviewed him passed for a reason. If he was as great as you think he would already be a GM elsewhere.

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lou's picture

September 09, 2017 at 10:20 am

I agree Bear, with a string of Thompson groomed execs becoming NFL GM's (Dorsey-Schneider-McKenzie-McCoughan) for Wolf not to get an offer to date throws up a red flag. In addition, Thompson is his "own man", he has been successful with a rigid approach to decision making. Russ Ball has moved up the list and Dorsey I believe still owns a home in Door County and for some reason as successful as he has been (see the talent KC had on the field Thursday night) has not been approached by teams obviously needing a better GM, don't count him out as a Thompson successor.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 09, 2017 at 04:17 pm

Personally I would prefer Russ Ball staying in the position he's in. Hopefully whoever is named the GM when Ted finally does retire, they'll see the value in having someone like Russ Ball in the organization. The guy is a wizard with the cap!!

I think one of the biggest reasons Wolf wasn't hired yet was perhaps his age. Dorsey and Reggie were both in the their 50's when they were hired and had worked with both Ron and Ted for years. Schneider was younger and until this year had an out to come back to GB. Schneider also doesn't have total control Carroll does, and neither did Dorsey, Reid had final say over a player and who was drafted from what I understand. The Chiefs had a hell of a mess with their cap this year and are $8 million over for next year. If Dorsey had anything to do with the contracts then keep him away from GB cuz he did a lousy job handling the cap in KC, if in fact that was his responsibility.

No matter who is the next GM I'm sure it will be the right choice for the Packers at that time. No matter what, I hope who ever takes over for Thompson, will at least talk to the media and answer questions after final cuts. I mean c'mon, what a bunch of BS that is!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 09, 2017 at 05:49 pm

Both Dorsey and Ron Wolf have been seen around 1265 lately. This front office has been far more proactive than usual, but I don't think that the packers changed their methods on picking talent. I think the change in releasing players along with changes to the cap structure, made taking a longer look at veterans more attractive to the packer front office. It would not surprise me one bit if both Wolf senior and Dorsey were unofficially helping Ted on veteran talent.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 09, 2017 at 06:20 pm

Nick, the story going around in KC is the owner OK the contracts, without letting Dorsey know. Neither Dorsey nor this no2 who handled the contracts knew about the extensions or the new signings before they happened. Outside the owner, only Andy Reid knew. Dorsey can be blamed for some of his draft choices, some of it was bad luck, but not the signings. The current owner is known as a meddler on a par with Jerry Jones. The word is Dorsey took the hit to cover for both the Owner, and Reid. As for media. Ted is one of the more honest GM's in the game. Most of these guys BS with the skill level of American politicians. When Ted talks he has something to say. I'll take that any day over a GM up at the podium spewing about 10 minutes of nothing.

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Lphill's picture

September 09, 2017 at 08:28 am

The Packers defense will be much improved , we don't need the number 1 defense to carry us , all we need is a top ten defense to support what may be a top 5 offense and that should get us to the promised land.

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A Pickled Packer's picture

September 09, 2017 at 09:09 am

If depth at on the OL is our greatest weakness this year, Ted did a heck of a job. He either learned his lesson or lucked out, either way like a good GM he jumped at an opportunity to improve the team and not break the bank when SF let quality go. Those moves were insurance indeed.

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Qoojo's picture

September 09, 2017 at 10:27 am

I think this is more about a noob GM in SF than TT changing his stripes. I think Brooks is a clear upgrade based on past performance. I have not seen him play this year. He might prove to be the most reliable OLB on the team, given the injury history and performance of the current roster.

I can't say anything about Dial because I know nothing about him.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 09, 2017 at 11:58 pm

hmmmmm.....

see Linsley, Corey.

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azmtns's picture

September 09, 2017 at 11:36 am

I think offensive linemen now take three years to develop. It used to be one or two. Even big universities are not producing offensive linemen who can play in the NFL from day one. There have been multiple articles over the last few years about the lack of NFL ready offensive linemen. That is why I think we have so many projects and everyone is in the same boat. Depth is a luxury that few teams have on the offensive line.

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Curt's picture

September 09, 2017 at 03:31 pm

I would agree - coaches obviously feel Spriggs and Murphy, Patrick and McCray offer something down the road. Just not many guys out there to plug a hole immediately like Evans which is why I liked his signing.

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