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Packers Podcast: Ted Thompson Not Above Criticism

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Packers Podcast: Ted Thompson Not Above Criticism

On Friday morning I joined Bart Winkler on K107 in Fond du Lac to preview Sunday's Packers-Falcons game. We also get into a discussion of general manager Ted Thompson, his misses on recent draft picks, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

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Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (40) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Randy's picture

I think it's time to recognize that TT has lost 3 critical aides who are now GM at other teams, two of whom are doing remarkable jobs (in KC/SEA)and another who will be once he straightens out the mess that Al Davis left him.

Draft and develop is the lifeblood of this organization and you have to wonder if some of the misses aren't due to less experienced hands advising TT.

UP-Packer's picture

Are you giving TT a pass? He's been getting most of the credit the last few years. Now when things start to go south, the excuses are showing up.

Actually, you may be correct but it doesn't lessen TT's responsibility. He's still in charge of player procurement.

razor's picture

Ted is not getting the job done. Team is going backwards since 2010. No new impact players in three years.

Buster's picture


WKUPackFan's picture

Cobb is not an impact player?

Hayward was an impact player last year. Great ball instincts from the important slot DB, helped cover some of McMillian's and Jennings' deficiencies. His loss this year has been under analyzed. It's caused Tramon and House to play out of position or Hyde to be exploited in coverage.

I'd argue Lacy is at least approaching impact status.

Longshanks's picture

Total bullshit UP!! Things aren't "going south". For the first time under TT he has lost his star hall of fame quarterback. Shit happens sometimes but blaming TT for injuries is assinine. TT has built a consistent winner year in and year out with his draft and develop philosophy which alot of teams are trying to copy.

UP, I understand you still have your Favre poster on your wall but those days need to come to an end. You're almost as bad as some of these Bears fans still dwelling on "the 85 Bears". Come on man!!


Buster's picture

Don't see any reason to attack anyone regarding TT. TT is the GM. The simple fact is he's responsible for putting together the roster. He's put together a roster that is presently 5-6-1.

The back-up QB joke is on TT. The lack of a good safety on the roster is his fault. All the under performing high draft picks are his.

Love him if you want but his days are numbered.

Stroh's picture

Yeah Thompson made a couple minor mistakes. Calling the backup QB a major mistake is way overboard tho. Coleman was supposed to be the backup QB this year. So Thompson missed on a 6th rd pick. Gee that never happens...

At Safety McMillan was supposed to step into the starting job opposite Burnett. So Thompson missed on a 4th rd compensatory pick. Gee that never happens does it?

Yeah Thompson made a couple mistakes by missing on a couple late round picks. Happens to every GM every year. Get over it. The bigger mistake would have been compounding the mistake by not cutting them loose. At least Thompson cut his mistakes, reduced the impact and moved forward! That's all this is... Missing on a couple draft picks, nothing more!

Nick Perry's picture

Funny this is, not one of these guys have followed the TT formula. All of them dabbled in FA, some more than others. McKinzie took over a mess in Oakland like you've mentioned. Unlike TT, they see the usefulness in FA if used correctly. The thing is, with the success TT had with Woodson and Pickett, you'd think he'd at least consider it.

Stroh's picture

Lets watch how they continue in their GM careers. Its worth remembering that Thompson signed Woodson and Pickett to play positions that were HUGE needs that were missing at the time. A CB that played press coverage opposite Harris and a run stuffing DT/NT on a team that had none. They made the Packers competitive quickly.

Looks like the exact thing that Schnieder and Dorsey have done in Seattle and KC. Signed FA early in their regime at positions that were severely lacking and made the team competitive quickly.

Seeing a pattern yet? It will be instructive to see what happens in the next couple years now that those teams are competitive. Do they continue signing FA or do they now become almost strictly draft and develop moving forward? I'm guessing the latter.

Arlo's picture

They'll never go full 'draft & develope' like Thompson. Why? Because full draft & develope has too many flaws.

There is no longer any argument that Thompson was one lucky SOB when he drafted Rodgers. The rest of his drafting has been so-so at best. In fact, his last 3 drafts have been bordering on terrible. He'll lose his job, eventually, because his drafts have turned the Pack into a losing team.

Stroh's picture

You certainly don't know that. They learned mostly from Thompson, so its more likely they follow his blue print than not. Its worked very well for the most part... It got us a SB a couple years ago. Both Seattle and KC (especially KC) will be lucky to win a SB! Not to mention its unlikely they win multiple SB's!

Longshanks's picture

"There is no longer any argument that Thompson was one lucky SOB when he drafted Rodgers."

Really? Well, I could say the same damn thing about John fucking Schneider who was so sure that Russell Wilson was the answer that he waited until the third round to draft him instead of taking him right away.

If the Jets take Wilson, Seattle is not winning anymore than Green Bay is right now with Flynn. Schneider had no fucking clue Wilson would be as good as he is. He's the lucky one not Teddy Tee. Teddy Tee still drafted Rodgers even though he didn't need him. That takes some fucking balls.

Seattle would be starting Flynn, Tar Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst and would have a good defense but no offense. Probably 4 or 5 wins tops this season if they don't have Mr. Wilson. Quarterbacks make G.M's and head coaches look really good at time and also really bad at other times.


Buster's picture

Always guessing.

Stroh's picture

Just using FACTS to show the pattern. I guessed a little going into the future, but then saying ANYTHING about the future is guessing isn't it?!!!

Jamie's picture

Before Rodgers went down, i.e. going into the Bears game, this team had an air about it. The team appeared to be re-setting itself, due to the significant number of injuries, and if they could keep the train on the tracks for a few games they'd start getting some guys back and be set up for a playoff run.

Not only did our All-World QB go down, but the two O-lineman went down requiring a shuffling in and out of five/six different guys in three positions. The defense also continues to lose key players. The timing couldn't have been worse.

NOW virtually all of the pressure is on the DEF, and this defense doesn't handle pressure too well. Who's to blame for that...couldn't tell you, but I'd start with the HC and or DC. It's sooo frustratingly inconsistent, both in performance and mental toughness...I'd say it could really use a motivational leader at DC to maximize the talent that is there.

So, all of that said, plenty of blame goes to Thompson, as the architect of this team, it's his duty to take the blame. I just think it's sorely misguided to point fingers at him considering all of the injuries.

You put a reasonably healthy Packers team against any team, anywhere, and they would have a really good chance to win that game. Unfortunately, we haven't sniffed reasonably healthy in a couple months.

Arlo's picture

If everything else fails, you can always blame injuries. The problem lies in the fact that the only really important injury is to Rodgers. All NFL teams deal with injuries.

Are you saying the best teams are the healthiest? Impossible to know or prove.

Jamie's picture

Of course the injury to Rodgers supersedes all other injuries, but that only makes my overall point stronger. This is a terrible time to point blame at Thompson.

To answer your question, consistently good teams are the most talented, and injuries inherently play a role in a team's current talent equation.

Of course some lesser teams can get hot and make a run, but they will fall back to Earth/ talent is the ultimate barometer.

Sportspack's picture

It isn't Ted's fault. It isn't Mike's fault.
It isn't Dom's fault. It isn't the players'fault. It must be that the competition is just too darn good. Oh, I know, blame the injuries! It is a real shame that it took an injury to Rodgers to expose this team for what it is. Some fans and writers seem to accept reality, others prefer to bury their heads in the sand, or to lash out at fans that are critical of the situation.

KennyPayne's picture

The D was terrible in 2011 and the Pack got blown out at home to the Giants and TT devoted the 2012 draft to the D.

The D got slaughtered in SF in last years playoffs and continues to flounder in 2013.

The 2012 O started an obviously over-the-hill Saturday at center (TT's "big" free agent signee the past 7 years). It also started Marshall F'in Newhouse at LT and Alex Green at RB. These were perhaps the 3 worst players at their positions in the league.

Without Rodgers this roster has been exposed and the notion of TT's supposed keen eye for talent should be called into question.

Al Dante's picture

Keen eye for talent. Very interesting in that when you consider bulk of his picks over the past 3 years were in the 5,6,7th rounds. When I see a anyone from those rounds I say, wow 31 teams passed on many of these guys obviously more than once. What are 31 Gm's seeing that says pass and Ted is seeing that says draft?

I say its money. Cheap player acquisitions who will not demand a lot of salary. The trade off, many of these guys were smallish, slow, poor skill development in college and injury prone.

If I'm correct you would have a team with a lot of missed tackles, lack of interceptions and a bunch of injuries, many recurring to the same people.

The TKstinator's picture

I think the salary cap requires all teams to have some young cheap players. Especially when 12 and 52 are commanding big $. What I don't get is the big $ paid to guys like Brad Jones. And at the time I thought Morgan Burnett's contract was a good signing, and it still might. But right now it looks excessive.
No team can have a bunch of high priced players. It just can't be done.

Stroh's picture

2.75M is not a big contract for a decent starting ILB. You need to get that straight. Not one going on his 2nd contract that showed some ability. Go find a starting ILB on another team that is on his 2nd contract and I'll almost guarantee he'll be making more or similar.

The TKstinator's picture

Do you think it was a good signing?

Jamie's picture

Oh...the 'I get to use hindsight and ignore logical reasoning' argument. Weird how it always works out that you have all the right answers.

The TKstinator's picture

No I totally understand the idea that contracts are like the stock market: based on a projection. I also understand that the coaches evaluate and play a role in the financial aspects of the team: like a run stuffer who occupies blockers but doesn't make a lot of tackles is still a valuable commodity.
To be plain, Brad Jones just doesn't "seem that good."
However, if this is just an average salary for an average player on his second contract, I'm fine with it.
I am completely willing to admit that coaches and management know one helluva lot more about all this than I do.
(Will I still be allowed to post on this site after admitting something like that?)

Stroh's picture

I think it was necessary and they got him at a reasonable price. Bishop was coming off the ruptured hamstring which almost never allows a player to play well again (which has proven true for Bish). Jones played pretty well in his relief of Bishop last year. I don't know the grades for him last and this year, but I believe he got a favorable grade by PFF last year for what that's worth.

I would say this year he hasn't played as well. I do think Lattimore outplayed him this year. Let them battle in training camp for the starting job. Right now I would go w/ Lattimore.

The TKstinator's picture

Does anyone think GB SHOULDN'T HAVE signed Rodgers to the contract that they did?

Longshanks's picture

UP Packer I am guessing.

Point Packer's picture

Given that we have the next Tom Brady/Troy Aikman in waiting, I'm guessing you wouldn't mind cutting #12 next year to save cap space...

Longshanks's picture

Why would I want that? Two pro bowlers are better than one right?


razor's picture

Ted's plan is not working. Serious lack of talent on this team. Going backwards since 2010. Wasting Rodgers. Embarrassing!

Hey Mark - C'mon man!

Jamie's picture


packer till death's picture

Looking over the nitty gritty for a minute, we are in a sport that is
dominated by the QB
position. We have had nearly 20 years of top
1,2or3 position QB. We have two SBs. Some thing wrong with that picture.

hump's picture

hey longshanks....wake the fuck up!! myself and 5 other novice packer fans,started pacing the fkn floors after RODGERS was still on the board the year we drafted him....WHY???..........BECAUSE,ANY HALF ASSED ARMCHAIR FOOTBALL FAN WOULD KNOW....THAT WE HAD TO MAKE THAT PICK!!! FAVRE WAS OLD AND RODGERS WAS THE TOP RATED PLAYER IN THE DRAFT PERIOD!! IT ABSOLUTELY AMAZES ME THAT TT GETS ALL THIS CREDIT FOR A SELECTION, THAT WAS JUST AS EASY AS PICKING EDDIE LACY IN THE 2nd ROUND!! To his credit though,at least he didnt cave in to Favre's bullshit,and did his job as any good GM would do,and made the right pick for the organization. I will never take that away from the guy!

Longshanks's picture

Why shouldn't TT get credit for making the selection? Who other than TT selects a player that might not see the field for at least 4 years? TT was criticized by many with that pick if I recall saying they had other more important needs than a backup quarterback. 24 other GM's who if they were as good as TT at drafting the best players would have taken him but they didn't.

Just think Hump. TT's very first pick in his career as GM for the Packers was Aaron Rodgers. His 2nd pick ever was Nick Collins. You tell me this cat doesn't have an eye for talent? Even if you claim TT got "lucky" with Rodgers it still doesn't explain Nick Collins, who nobody knew except for TT.

This is why I want a statue of TT the size of the Statue of Liberty next to Lambeau. Nobody does it better than TT. Makes me sad for the rest.


Stroh's picture

Every one of the Favre fanatics thought it was the most idiotic pick in the world! But Thompson had the stones to not give a shit what ANYONE else thought. He made the pick when 23 other teams, many of whom didn't have a QB nearly as good as Favre didn't take him! He was the highest rated player left on the Packers board but that doesn't mean he doesn't get credit for taking him! When the Packers were about 2 picks from their turn, Thompson took Harlan aside and told him he was going to make a pick that was going to piss most Packer fans off and take Rodgers! He didn't need a QB, most people thought Favre would play a couple more years even w/ his yearly waffling.

Thompson absolutely get a HUGE amount of credit for making a pick that pissed A LOT of people off!

hump's picture

Absolutely yes,TT deserves credit for making the best pick,and indeed ballsy,but many of us were pounding the table for Rodgers as well,not like TT was the lone ranger on the pick. #1 on the nick collins pick though,admittedly, i was not a happy camper when we took him and i was WRONG. P.S. i was equally disturbed with the jerron mcmillian pick and think i was probably right on that one

The TKstinator's picture

Some picks pan out, some don't. TT would never hesitate to admit that. That's one of the reasons he trades down so much for extra picks: like a hitter in baseball who gets more swings at the plate. A better chance to hit one out.

C's picture

I can see being disturbed by the McMillian pick NOW, but there's no Packer fan, or draftnik for that matter, anywhere that could have valid criticism of the pick when it was happening. Not a single fan had seen him play at Maine. There's nothing to be critical of if you've never seen the kid. Most fans in that circumstance go straigt to height/weight/speed to make a knee jerk determination. And every measurable he had was favorable to say the least.

Did Thompson, whatever regional scout banging the table for this kid or possibly an assitant that reviewed film screw the pooch? Looks like it, yes. It's still on Thompson, but as the rounds progress he's more open to influence from staff. Have to wonder if TT is looking at somebody from that draft room a bit cross-eyed on that failed projection.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
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