Football Outsiders: Packers Are Rebuilding

Football Outsiders' Bill Barnwell contends that the Packers are in the midst of a hidden rebuilding period.

Bill Barnwell is a man after Jersey Al's heart. If Al has been upset by all the Packers-to-the-Super Bowl talk, Barnwell has some cold water to throw on Packer fans' faces.

Yesterday was Football Nerd Christmas, otherwise known as the release of the Football Outsiders Almanac 2010. If you have never read Football Outsiders, well, I don't know what to say except that its never too late to start. And their annual compendium of thinking-persons football writing is simply a must-read.

Now, niceties aside...

Bill Barnwell drops this bomb in the chapter dedicated to the Packers:

...the Packers are hoping that something good —winning — will be able to mask the ugly task they are in the middle of: rebuilding.

Barnwell then spends half the chapter detailing how the current roster was put together, breaking most of the team down into two distinct categories:

Favre Era Holdouts (31+): Chad Clifton (34), Donald Driver (35), Al Harris (36), Ryan Pickett (31),
Charles Woodson (34), Mark Tauscher (34).

Rodgers Gang (27-and-under): Nick Collins (27),
Jermichael Finley (23), Greg Jennings (27), Clay Matthews
(24), B.J. Raji (24), Aaron Rodgers (27).

(He also acknowledges there are a few exceptions that don't fit into these, noting that Ryan Grant is 28 and Cullen Jenkins is 29)

He then spends an unbelievable amount of space detailing the history of the roster. Seriously - seven paragraphs about Sherman's ineptness and lamenting the first day picks Thompson has missed on. I kept thinking to myself "I've waited all year - for a history lesson I could have written in my sleep?"

The second half, thankfully, is much more illuminating.

I'll probably go through it a bit more thoroughly in a future post - suffice it to say they project the Packers to win the division, which is fine by me.

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Comments (29)

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TheMills's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:39 pm

Winning the division? Not bad considering they're "in the middle of rebuilding."

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NickGBP's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:40 pm

Yea I was disappointed with the Packers section. This is my first time buying this and this will be my first real season following their analysis . I read a few other teams' chapters before getting to ours and was excited for that sort of in depth analysis. Instead we got that Sherman sucked and a list of Thompson's draft picks and noting that many got injured. OK...that doesn't seem like very in depth analysis. Pretty disappointed overall.

Although I do agree with the actual numbers. The team is going to have 9 or 10 wins. I think we'll be a better team but that won't translate into more wins. I really hope the SuperBowl hype doesn't get to their heads.

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manolito's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:45 pm

What's the commentary provided on the Vikings?

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nypacker's picture

July 09, 2010 at 11:22 pm

LOL!

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Erik's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:46 pm

If a team can not only make the playoffs, but win their division while their "rebuilding" I'll take it.

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PackersRS's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:53 pm

From the same guys that projected us, what, 7 wins last year? Or was it 9?

Then, with the regular season ending, made the case that Bal, Gb, Phi and NE were the best teams... http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2010/week-17-dvoa-ratings

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PackerAaron's picture

July 09, 2010 at 01:54 pm

It was 7, something I did not let Barnwell live down all year ;)

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PackersRS's picture

July 09, 2010 at 02:29 pm

Numbers in football are an objective measurement of a small frame. Trying to subjectively organize them to portrait the whole picture ends up making you look like a complete fool sometimes.

I like their work, but when they try to pass as pundits, it really grinds my gears.

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misterj's picture

July 09, 2010 at 02:11 pm

How the hell are we defined as rebuilding? I mean, he might as well say -every- team is rebuilding, considering the state that the team is in right now. You know, with 90% of the roster being guys nearing the peak of their career and all.

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PackersRS's picture

July 09, 2010 at 02:36 pm

As far as he's concerned, the Packers' CBs consists of Charles Woodson, Al Harris, and maybe Tramon Williams. The Packers don't have anyone at OT, they're depending on Bulaga and Barbre.

Those national media guys just have no clue to the actual, updated depth chart of a team. They don't know about Pat Lee, he hasn't played. As far as they're concerned, Mike Neal was just a reach. T.J. Lang can't possibly be any good, the Packers' OL had him last year and they gave 50 sacks! Some only know Brad Jones as a late rounder who filled in for Aaron Kampman...

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CSS's picture

July 09, 2010 at 02:40 pm

Hell, I follow the organization religously and I don't know what the depth chart will look like or the game day roster?!?!

Is it time for training camp yet.....

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PackersRS's picture

July 09, 2010 at 03:11 pm

Exactly. You know more or less how the rookies and the young players are progressing, and heard reports of injuries and vet players' performances, but how the hell can one make a case that the Packers' pass D will suck simply because it did last year, and they didn't adquire noone? To do that, players' progression, regression, familiarity with the scheme and teammates, and injuries should all be taken into account, which is, quite frankly, impossible in this time of the year...

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Cuphound's picture

July 09, 2010 at 04:20 pm

I was kinda hoping we were nearly DONE with the rebuilding part. We've been doing it for a while.

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Wiscokid's picture

July 09, 2010 at 07:43 pm

It never really ends.

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Dilligaff's picture

July 09, 2010 at 04:40 pm

I think he makes a good point, will the Packers be a better team come playoffs if they start and develop players during the season so that they are playing as a unit with experience come crunch time.

Do you give Driver all the looks, or do you reduce his role and get Nelson and Jones involved. Same with Cifton and Tauscher.

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deelux's picture

July 09, 2010 at 04:56 pm

If GB's apparently normal churn of players is called "rebuilding," what term should we use to describe whatever Detroit has been doing since Wayne Fontes last backed the Lions into the playoffs?

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c.d. angeli's picture

July 09, 2010 at 05:50 pm

I think there's a point to be made, only in that under Thompson's philosophy, the Packers are in eternal rebuilding mode, if you want to look at it that way.

Look, if Thompson wanted a complete rebuild when he came in and ejected Sherman, he would have done what Ron Wolf did, and essentially kept Sterling Sharpe and LeRoy Butler and immediately overhauling the entire rest of the roster.

But Thompson didn't. He definitely jettisoned excess baggage that was overpriced, going to be overpriced, or underachieving (Longwell, Sharper, Rivera, Wahle, etc.) and kept a core group to build around (Favre, Tauscher, Clifton, Kampman, Driver, Barnett, Harris).

But Thompson doesn't utilize free agency to fill every hole as Wolf was able to do, so there will always be a level of rebuilding and hole-filling that needs to be done. For a while it was running back and the interior O-line. Now it is outside linebacker, the O-tackles, and the secondary. Two years from now, it will be something else.

So, are the Packers rebuilding? Under Thompson's philosophy, it's an ongoing project...depending on your POV, it can be a very good thing, becoming only a bad thing when the rebuilding stops.

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PackerBacker's picture

July 10, 2010 at 06:52 pm

I agree completely. You will be able to say, every year, that TT is re-building the team. I feel bad for other teams that aren't looking at it that way. If a team is only looking at ways to maintain the team they have now, they are going to be insignificant within 2 or 3 years.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 09, 2010 at 07:00 pm

Rebuilding or Rehabing.Does Barnwell know the difference?
Have we torn down the entire team-rebuilding.
Are we fine tuning some structural support-rehabing.
Constant up-grading is not rebuilding but rehabing.

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PackersThad's picture

July 09, 2010 at 07:29 pm

Heck yea, the Packers are rebuilding!!! REBUILDING A TROPHY CASE TO FIT NEXT YEAR'S LOMBARDI TROPHY!!

GO! PACK! GO!

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Wiscokid's picture

July 09, 2010 at 07:44 pm

Keep the good thought!

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packsmack25's picture

July 09, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Clearly this man does not understand that in today's NFL, the teams that AREN'T rebuilding are dead in their tracks.

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nypacker's picture

July 09, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I don't understand how Barnwell actually defines "rebuilding." I thought teams in a rebuilding process usually have to start from scratch by completely turning the roster upside down. Therefore he probably believes that an 11-5 playoff team with unmatched offense and an improving defense in only year 1 of its transition should start from scratch. Yeah, nice try Barnwell.

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Ruppert's picture

July 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

What team DOESN'T need to be rebuilding at least a couple areas of their team?

The Packers are an 11-win team with areas to improve upon. How good can they be if they DO improve in those areas? Extremely good.

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retiredgrampa's picture

July 10, 2010 at 09:02 pm

Well, he HAD to write something that Packer haters would love to read. It gives them hope. Good thing that these guys don't have to look at a report card after the season.

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Ron LC's picture

July 11, 2010 at 02:05 pm

That's just TT's style. He is constantly bringing in young players and hoping (I emphasize hoping) to bring them up when older players leave or start to lose their skills. The problem with a few key areas, the Oline for example is that the young guys he brought in have not climbed the ladder much, if at all.

Sitton has been the only young player who made the transition from raw talent to good starter. Colledge is starting only because no one has displaced him yet. Lang has potential to make the move. Two rookies are depended on to replace some of the 3, 4, and 5 year dead wood that has failed to develop.

60% of the starting line has been there since pre-TT. They are game-by-game players now and there are few heir apparents that can fill the role of starter.

Let's hope the rookies step up, GB will need them.

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Chicago Hooligan's picture

July 11, 2010 at 02:41 pm

If you are trying to get to a championship level, you are obviously "building" if not "rebuilding" (can you "re"build if you've never been that good?). The Packers' plan has thankfully not involved fielding a team of straight diahhrea for multiple straight seasons. I'll take it.

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davyjones's picture

July 11, 2010 at 08:11 pm

Certainly bodes well for the next few years, doesn't it? I don't agree with Barnwell...some really good points made by the rest of you. They are not "re-building"...simply "building" as any good organization does each and every year. GB has some improving to do just as every other team does and TT and Co have done a pretty good job of that. We should have a really excellent core for years to come!!

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TedTheSledge's picture

July 12, 2010 at 06:11 pm

To me they did start rebuilding prior to the 2006 season. It may not have been a complete overhaul but the draft that year was trade-down-alapalooza that brought in 12 picks. Add to that Pickett, Woodson, T Williams and others no longer on the team coming in as free agents and the replacing of the head coach. If anything I would think GB is at the end of a rebuilding project exemplified for instance by trading UP in the draft for guys they really want not down and having smaller incoming draft classes as the overall roster depth was improved.

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