5

December

A Shopping Lesson for Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson Shopping Lesson

Not all that glitters is Green & Gold in Green Bay

As I’m working on my holiday shopping list and for whatever reason, I started to wonder how Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does his holiday shopping.  As fans of the Packers, we know how Thompson shops for players.  He is your regular coupon hound.  Always looking for the best bargain and rarely ever paying retail.

It’s smart to look for the best value for the least amount of expenditure.  With that, I can’t argue.  Anytime you can receive more than you pay, it’s a good thing and just makes good sense from a business perspective.

I can’t fault Thompson for wanting to be responsible that way in his role as GM.  After all, we can look at some teams who are often in salary cap hell and are unable to make many of the transactions they would like because they mortgage the future on a previously bad choice.  The Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers come to mind most readily, although there are others.

In taking a look at how this season has unfolded and in light of the injury to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of the topics that has become popular is the depth behind the Packers starters.  As I have said before, there is always going to be drop-off from a starter to a backup.  That’s why backups aren’t starters.

It’s easy to simply say that this team doesn’t have enough good players and pile on what has already been a horrible showing by a team that previously was expected to contend for another Super Bowl.  Since Rodgers went down in early November, the Packers are winless and have fallen below .500.  With just four games left, the team’s chances of winning the NFC North are waning and if you ask some, they’ll tell you that that ship sailed long ago.

But let’s examine how this roster was formulated a bit.  As many of you know, I’m not a big charts, graphs and stats guy.  I try as much as I can, but I try to stay away from an overly analytical argument and speak more to the general happenings of the team.

Have you ever wanted the hottest gift of the season or a specific brand name item and when you opened the gift box, you got the generic brand or an imitation brand?  And have you ever heard the buyer of the gift tell you that they know you wanted “X” brand, but their choice was “close enough”?  I have and even though the product does essentially the same thing that the one you really wanted does, it’s not always the same.  Whether it was saving money or they simply couldn’t find the one you wanted, the reasons just don’t always make it any better.

Thompson has long been known for using undrafted free agency to fill the Packers roster during his tenure as GM.  Many of those finds have even panned out well for the team and in the process, also brought about very salary cap-friendly contracts that allowed the team to retain its current stars as well.  A few examples of current starters found via UDFA over the past few years are Sam Shields, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Jarrett Boykin and Tramon Williams.

When a player works out that way, it’s hard to argue that the undrafted free agent avenue is one to avoid.  It can certainly help a team build depth and allow them to develop the player into a more solid contributor.  But when these players are thrust into action sooner than later, it doesn’t always work out so well.  See M.D. Jennings, Scott Tolzien, Frank Zombo, Erik Walden and Jeremy Ross.

The latter grouping are guys who are either average, at best, or who are no longer on the Packers roster.  They never made an impact or they made a negative impact to the point where they were sent packing.  In Ross’ case, he had a good game last week for the Detroit Lions and unfortunately it came at the Packers’ expense.  But overall, the odds that these undrafted guys are going to become regular contributors is low.  I think we can all agree on that.

In Jennings’ case, he’s still in a starting role for the second year in a row.  He hasn’t made any type of impact at the safety position, which is key in today’s NFL.  That average play is part of the reason why the Packers currently rank 22nd in pass defense and why the secondary struggled last season as well.

It was no secret that Jennings was not starter material and yet, Thompson chose to go with Jennings and second-year man Jerron McMillian to battle it out in training camp for the starting spot opposite Morgan Burnett.  Jennings won the job, but when it’s him vs. a guy like McMillian (who was just cut earlier this week), does anyone really win?  The Packers and Thompson clearly overestimated what they had at safety heading into 2013.

So what could Thompson have done differently?  While I don’t necessarily endorse any of these as a better or “right” answer, he could have brought back Charles Woodson.  Woodson is aging, not as fast and his savvy isn’t enough to make up for what time has taken away.  There was also Bernard Pollard, who was let go by the Baltimore Ravens before he was snatched up, almost immediately, by the Tennessee Titans.  Kerry Rhodes is another veteran safety who is still on the market now and a guy who many Packers fans have clamored for, claiming that he can’t be any worse than either Jennings or McMillian.

All of those are interesting scenarios and each has its flaws, but the point is that Thompson seemingly never looked in any of those directions.  Veteran free agents have become very high-priced commodities in the NFL.  Teams pay for talent and it’s not cheap to go that route versus giving an unproven young guy a shot.  But consider what the typical path has been for backup players and those added to the team during the season the past few years.

With the injury issues the Packers have endured (totally separate topic), it stands to reason that the second and third string guys are going to play in a meaningful situation at some point during the season.  That’s just a reality as of late.  So why would Thompson continue to hedge his bet on his starters staying healthy and remaining productive?  Does he not watch games each week?

I don’t have the exact answer, but it has reached the point where those are the types of questions being asked.  Of course Thompson watches the team.  He’s also very set in his ways.  We don’t hear much from TT during the season and when we do, the sound bites are very short and not so sweet.  To expect a major about-face from Thompson is foolish on our part.

However, that lack of change could lead to continued decline and squander some of the best years of the nucleus of this team.  Namely Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, both of whom were handsomely rewarded with contract extensions this offseason.  Neither will play forever and eventually, the Packers will have to replace them too.

Thompson drafted both Rodgers and Matthews and among the various stories, there seemed to be many bugs in his ears to take each player on draft day.  Rodgers fell to the Packers and it seemed a no-brainer.  Thompson traded back into the first round, something he rarely does, to get Matthews.  So why doesn’t Ted see that acting outside of the usual box can work?

Again, I don’t have the answer there, but during this next offseason, I urge Thompson to consider some more certain avenues to fill needs.  Earlier this season just before the trade deadline, the New York Giants traded for former Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason.  Beason was dealing with some injuries and was a financial burden on Carolina’s books.  Since coming to the Giants, Beason has amassed 41 tackles and an interception in eight games with the Giants.  Beason is 28 years old and despite some major injuries, has been solid for the Giants.

I’m not suggesting that the Packers run out and grab a bunch of one-hit wonders and continually plug holes that way, but having a guy like Beason on the sidelines and if needed would be a better option than someone none of the other 31 teams want on their roster.

By adding veteran depth and continuing to play their steady young players, the Packers might stand to weather a storm like this last month’s a bit better than they have.  Now in the case of Scott Tolzien, he is a quarterback and that is a horse of an entirely different color.  Thompson decided to go with veteran back up Seneca Wallace and was forced to play Tolzien when Wallace suffered a groin injury.  Still, was Wallace the best option to back up the franchise?  Would Matt Flynn be in Green Bay now if he weren’t released and having cleared waivers?

As a writer, I am coming from a somewhat selfish standpoint with this next point, but it does get a bit tiring to have to dig and dig and dig into the background of the latest guy signed to the Packers roster or practice squad because more often than not, the first thing I find myself saying is “who?”.  And “where did they find that guy?”  If they will eventually turn into regular contributors, I would gladly spend hours and give up night’s sleep to learn more.  The problem is, that is not happening over the past few years.

With the release of McMillian, the Packers have now seen 12 drafted players, over the past three years, leave the team.  At that rate of attrition, Thompson has to replace that talent and investment.  Continuing to gamble and do so with guys who couldn’t outdo “Mr. Irrelevant” no longer seems to be the way to go.

I don’t scout for an NFL team and I couldn’t tell you what scouts really look for but I know an average or bad player when I see one on the field.  The Packers have too many of those guys currently trying to play important roles.  Injuries are a big reason why and those can be tough to prevent, but by now, we know guys are going to get hurt, so why pretend it will suddenly improve and change?  I suppose to do so would mean Thompson is conceding that something is wrong in Green Bay and that these injury issues are a huge problem (and they are but again, completely separate topic).

Ted, when you get to shopping this winter, consider some name brands to go along with the generics we know you’re going to bring in and think outside of the usual gift box, OK?

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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54 Responses to “A Shopping Lesson for Ted Thompson”

  1. GBPDAN says:

    Overall, I like Teds approach to managing the cap and field a competitive team year in and year out. I would rather have this then a reckless manager that jeopardizes the future. That being said, I dont like 30% of TTs moves, or better yet,. non-moves. The problem with Teds philosophy ,of strictly draft and develop, is if you dont pull the necessary , quality, talent from the draft, the development part won’t work. As a matter of fact, its a waste of time. And if you don’t fill in the glaring holes , at the positions that had bad drafted personal, with trades or decent FA signings, you end up with inferior pieces on the team (just like having weak links on a chain) that will break.

    I feel that TT has cost this team at least one more SB, so far, by making bad decisions and being to frugal. He’s been missing on draft picks and then failing to have a contingency plan to fill Iin the gaps

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    • Stroh says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Archie says:

        And even Wolf would tell you his biggest disappointment as an GM was that he he did not win a 2nd SB.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Stroh says:

          Maybe so, but being more aggressive in player acquisition isn’t a guarantee of success either! Wolf’s biggest regret was not getting Favre more weapons on offense. Whether that would have translated to more SB’s is conjecture.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Savage57 says:

      Teddy’s wife tells him she want a diamond ring for Christmas.

      On Christmas morning, she unwraps a small present and finds herself holding a box of Cracker Jack. Thinking that it’s just some creative gifting by Ted, she anxiously opens the box, takes out the plastic gold ring and crestfallen, breaks down in tears.

      Teddy, thoroughly confused, consoles her by repeatedly telling her “honey, no really, this is a 5 carat Tiffany diamond ring. Please, just keep telling yourself that over and over and pretty soon you’ll believe it.”

      Sound familiar, Packer fans?

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  2. Big T says:

    Remember Ted, change is SCARY, don’t do it… We need more Marshall Newhouse’s. Get 22 of them and then you have an All Star lineup.

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  3. BartySmith says:

    “Veteran free agents have become very high-priced commodities in the NFL.”

    Actually, this is no longer true. Veteran free agents did not get a windfall that past couple of years. TT just does not like those who have played for other teams for whatever reason.

    There were other veteran Safeties available last offseason, such as Mike Mitchell and Quintin Mikell (both playing well for the Panthers now), but TT refuses to even consider them.

    Ignoring all avenues for obtaining talent is not something to be proud of IMO.

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    • John says:

      I agree. The argument is always, “High priced free agents don’t pan out and blow up your salary cap”. Well, then don’t sign high priced free agents. But, signing $1m to $3m free agents to plug serious holes is a good strategy. Nobody is a good enough drafter to build a roster strictly by draft and develop.

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      • Two Bears, One Cup says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

          Amen Two Bears. Mid level FA are mid level for a reason: They aren’t wanted by their current teams.

          Let’s see if these names ring a bell:

          Atari Bigby
          Frank Zombo
          Darren Colledge
          Brandon Jackson

          These are you mid-level type guys available. Sure every once in awhile you get a career renaissance (Ryan Grant)out of it – but not nearly at the same rate (or expense) of 5 4/5th round picks.

          I’m not saying TT shouldn’t do FA. I think he should – but you have to be VERY careful about it. Know who you’re buying, how much it will cost and exactly where you’re going to put him.

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        • Go Pack Go says:

          “Mid-level free agents don’t always pan out …” Really?

          Then we should continue to ignore free agency and keep drafting away because mid-level picks like Jerron McMillian, Terrell Manning, Alex Green, and D.J. Williams, always pan out, right?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Archie says:

        And throwing $8MM at Raji is prudent? Gimme a break. TT is flailing/over his head. The annual talent subtractions from this team has far outweighed the additions since the SB. Why is that? Because TT is missing big time on his draft picks, especially when he goes defense. So why is he missing? Maybe because his top 3 personnel people have become successful GMs elsewhere and TT isn’t the great talent scout that the SB win has made the media and some fans think. For example, why did he let the Jets trade around us to draft Darelle Revis? Because he wasn;t interested in Revis, he had another guy he was all googly over by the name of Justin Harrell. Funny think, Harrell was viewed as a 2nd rounder by most, not a mid 1st rder. He also let the Jets have Wilkerson the year he took Sherrod. And he passed on Demarius Thomas and Dez Bryant for Bulaga. And he passed on M Oher for Raji. We won’t even go into his terrible selection of Hawk with the 5th pick in the 1st round. Are you kidding me??? That pick shall live in infamy along with Rich Campbell and Tony Mandarich. And Jerel Worthy. Really? Trade up into high 2nd round for that guy? I just don’t see it. Yes, he did hit on Hayward and Cobb in the 2nd round and more recently Lacy but 7 picks a year, even a blind squirrel should hit on at least one per year. I’m sorry, the problem is TT. He has put all his eggs in one basket (the draft) and he has drafted poorly. The GBP are now the worse team in football when AROD is not at QB. Yet most Packer fanms cling blindly to TT’s cape, saying he got us there once, he can do it again. It’s not his fault. Baloney. Everything about this organization, good or bad, is at his feet. The offense was looking good till QB1 went down. Two years after Matt Flynn had exited GB, the cupboard was still bare at QB2. Maybe that is on MM. Maybe he told TT that Graham Harrell was the guy. Same thing at C. Wells leaves, we go get a has been – Jeff Saturday. Again, Saturday was the guy MM wanted. MM, the same guy that drafted Alex Smith over AROD in the first place. And at S, in the year of the S, how could TT not draft one in the top 3 rounds? Instead he stubbornly hitched his wagon to Jennings and the guy he just finally mercifully cut. Tramon sucks, Hawk sucks, Jones isn’t much better, Raji sucks etc. All our R1 picks are injured and/or slow developers. And Mike Neal, how do you expect to convert a DT to an OLB? What’s been going on defense has been lunacy. On offense, it took TT 9 years to finally recognize that we needed offensive balance and that means a real run game. I will never forget how he came to GB and promptly blew up the #1 OL/running game in the league. Remeber Vontae Leach? He’s still winning Pro Bowl nominations. TT made our run game soft and our defvense soft. He has lived off of one pick, AROD. I won’t go into the stories of how he tried to trade that pick rather than use it on AROD. Or how KG begged him to trade back into R1 to take CMIII when he fell. Oh well, those who love blown draft picks and cheap undrafted FA will always love Teddy and point to AROD’s SB win and see, TT knows how to build a SB winner. See ya in 5 years when everyone has finally had enough of TT/MM.

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    • Stroh says:

      Veteran FA do cost 3x’s as much, at a minimum of UDFA and their shelf life is a year or 2 where a rookies can be 8+ years. The vets minimum is still way more expensive than an UDFA.

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  4. Razer says:

    Gutsy article Jason and timely. You know that you are unleashing the Kraken. TT surprises me on several fronts.

    Staying the hell away from FA seems like handicapping yourself out of spite. The NY Giants needed help and didn’t want to spend the next couple of years hoping that some guy might pan out so they go out and get a Cullen Jenkins or Beason. They don’t build their team this way, they just fill-in some known holes.

    Building an O-line with left tackles or low round talent. It can be done in theory but so far there is little evidence to support the theory. We have needed a good center for 5 years now, instead we have a series of UDFA. Guys are good centers or guards or tackles for a reason work to those strengths or get better coaches

    Building linebackers out of D-linemen. Again, this probably works but it a) takes a lot of time and b) doesn’t really work all that well. I don’t know why we think that we can remap these athletes to fill our needs. Have a problem – make it a bigger challenge by retraining everybody.

    The beauty of TT is that his approach is cheap. This means that we should have enough money to get the missing parts and that we should never be in a “bad cap place”. This is good if you want to field a competitive, profitable team. Ah, I get it now – its a business.

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  5. Art says:

    In 2011 and 2012, TT drafted 18 players. Only eight remain on the team, four from each year. None of them have avoided missing games due to injuries. From 2011 and Sherrod and Cobb have missed the entire season (okay, give Cobb a few minutes in the first game)and we know will be great players when they return. House and Taylor are duds. Remaining from 2012 are Perry, Worthy, Hayward and Daniels. All four have missed significant time and really haven’t had an impact on the Packers yet. So, were the 2011 and 2012 drafts by the omnipotent TT successful?

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    • Barney Google says:

      If you spin the draft classes from 2011/12 the other way, you realize that they have 1 superstar who has been forgotten about due to one injury (Randall Cobb). I believe no Wide Receiver is as DYNAMIC as he is. You have Perry who is a gifted young player who has been able to show a distinct level of ability when he has been on the feild (Sack of Andrew Luck 2012, Strip Sack of Joe Flacco 2013). We knew House needed time, and has had great games (Baltimore) and bad games. Hayward should have won DROY last year and was rated the 2nd best cornerback in coverage by PFF. He is another stud that we can build around. People forget, we have 2 corners that have Pro Bowl to All Pro potential (Hayward and Shields – who shut down the only receiver to have back to back 200 yard games, Josh Gordon). Sherrod and Worthy cannot be counted out yet as they need time to develop and get back from injury.

      When you analyze the Packers team, we have few needs, or much less than everyone is saying. We have the best quarterback in the world, a top level RB who is producing at high levels as a rookie, 4 wide receivers who could start on almost any team (Cobb, Nelson, Jones, Boykin), a LT (Bulaga), a LG (Sitton) a RG (Lang) and a RT or two (Bakhtiari and maybe Sherrod) a Superstar OLB (Matthews), pieces on the D-Line (Raji, Daniels, maybe Jolly and Worthy) another OLB with potential (Perry), a Safety (Burnett) and 2 top corners (Hayward and Shields). We need an interior O-Lineman, an interior D-Lineman, A MLB, A Safety and a TE.

      We are going through the worst streak in 22 years and many fans don’t remember what it was like in the 70s and 80s. Appreciate that we are only 5 players away from having no major weaknesses, we have Aaron Rodgers, a Superbowl winning administration, and a team that when healthy, can beat almost anyone.

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      • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

        Keep in mind that even if you are going to negatively spin the 11/12 draft classes that way – TT was operating with the 31st and 27th picks – in each round.

        That’s a big cumulative disadvantage in draft position compared to teams even in drafting in the mid teens.

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      • Mark says:

        Have you been watching since 2010? How can one of the best four QBs in the league have NO fourth quarter comebacks? The atrocious defense, no lead is safe and can’t get a three and out to save our @#$. And all the injuries, what is up with that? TT/MM need to man up and be bosses. Fire the DC and strength and conditioning folks. Not their fault, tough. That is how it happens in business.

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        • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

          So you look at things you can’t understand (like injuries) and assume that it’s the staff’s fault. You do know this is the same strength and conditioning staff that won the “best overall strength program” award (voted on by peers) in 2011 right?

          And I agree with you about Capers. It’s time. But Rodgers style doesn’t lend itself to quick scores. He’s never been a big risk taker and overall IMO that’s a good thing? How many back breaking interceptions can you remember Favre throwing?

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      • Archie says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

          Dude. How did the Pats look without Brady? Colts without Manning? Even the Steelers without Big Ben?

          Especially in a hard cap league, everyone NEEDS a franchise QB. When you have one, you are cumulatively at an advantage. BUT you have to pay him so much that IF he gets hurt, you don’t have the cap flexibility to pay a franchise RB, ILB, S, etc…

          Grow. Up.

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  6. tim says:

    I’m not sure if the failures can be laid at the feet of TT. Watching the games makes me suspect there’s more to it than bad players. TT has has a mixed year, On the one hand you gotta applaud him – great draft this past year. His track record was good. And the injuries have been ridiculous. On the other hand, their safeties were and are bad, & I’d would have thought someone could have recgnized that. They waited way too long on a back-up qb, maybe costing them the bears game. Wallace really didn’t have a chance. And they aren’t/weren’t doing much with the Inside LBs. Late round draft picks and undrafted FAs are anything but sure bets. Hindsight is 20/20, but a couple of lower tier free agents might have made all the difference.

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  7. GBPDAN says:

    Switching gears, I just read that 2 Olineman and 2 Defenders didn’t practice today and are question marks for the game… LT, D. Bak C, EDS NT Pickett and Neal. Great, I was hoping that after the mini bye we would be rested and somewhat healthy for this game , and we were on Tuesday. But, of course this didn’t last because this is the 2013 Green Bay Packers.

    Flynn will need all the help he can get to pull out a win before Rodgers gets back next week, now we might be down 4 more players…SMH

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  8. GBPDAN says:

    And of course this means Newhouse at LT…ouch

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  9. stevie vegas says:

    Forget that TT won’t fill the gaps left by drafting at the bottom of the draft every year but why in the hell doesn’t MM go to max protection so our QB’s at least have a shot at completeing a pass. Put two tight ends back there to pass protect. Watching Flynn get corn holed every time he drops back is getting rediculous!

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    • Stroh says:

      If you go max protect you have only 2 recievers in the passing game left to throw to. If you add to protection you subtract from eligible recievers. This isn’t rocket science. Would even Jordy and Jones be able to get open vs 5+ DB’s?

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      • Mark says:

        Yes. Jennings and Driver did it in late 08. But THIS line/TE/FB can’t hold up to the six rushers.

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        • Stroh says:

          Yeah McCarthy went max protect for a couple games. Not sure the year, Rodgers 1st or 2nd as a starter. It limited the offense so badly that he junked it! He put it on Rodgers and opened the offense up again and said to Rodgers “its on you to identify where to go with the ball”. McCarthy junked it w/ Rodgers who could open the field vertically. Going max protect w/ Flynn limits the offense even more since teams won’t honor him deep. They’ll just crowd things even more! Jennings and Driver were not successful. McCarthy junked it!

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      • stevie vegas says:

        Stroh: In max protection you can run a variety of options. You set up in it and run hundreds of options off of it. The less they send the more you release out. You can run slot reciever and he can double, chip or flat out release. This is rocket science to anyone who has never coached! When your “O” line is getting killed this IS the option you go to!

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        • Stroh says:

          You vastly limit your options when you go max protect. If the RB or TE go into the route your not in max protect are you?! THis isn’t rocket science dude…

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  10. Herb the Bitter says:

    When I’m feeling down about the holes in the roster I just think about the colts signing Erik Walden to a 4 year $16 million contract and trading a first rounder for Trent Richardson and then I think our GM isn’t so bad…

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    • Stroh says:

      And people complain about Brad Jones making 2.75M or so. That’s just the going rate for a decent LB w/ experience on his 2nd contract.

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  11. larry valdes says:

    Pollard benson big miss by ted remeber we could have lynch 3 years ago but he didnt keeping jennins and newhouse tell me he cant grade players. And remenber when brett wanted moss he didnt pull the triger ither wasted brett last years by not getting defense help.there are free agents and there are free agents we could use them right now.

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  12. Since '61 says:

    Herb you make good points. First of all TT needs to be assessed on his won – lost record. And since taking over in 2005 the Packers have had only one losing season in 2008. ( I am not counting the 05 season as this was his 1st year and he inherited a mess). They have made the playoffs in 5 of Ted’s seasons and have a SB win. His HC has one losing season and has a .670 winning percentage as does his starting QB. I would stack TTs record against any other GM over the same period. Even this season with Rodgers out and all the other issues if Franklin don’t fumble in Cincy and House makes the pick in the end zone against the Vikings in OT the Packers are 7-5 and tied for first place. If Seneca Wallace doesn’t get hurt maybe he wins one or 2 games and we don’t go to 3rd and 4th string QBs. My point is that winning in the NFL is closer than a razor’s edge and a play or 2 here or there can change everything. It’s easy to look back and criticize draft picks that don’t work out or holes that are not filled, but you are looking at isolated decisions without accounting for the big picture when the decisions were made. Maybe if TT brings in FAs he can’t afford to pay Rodgers or CM3, or pay Woodson while he was here. When these decisions are made there are numerous variables that need to be considered and drafting at the low end of the draft each year doesn’t help. That’s one reason why TT brings in UdFAs, because he realizes many of his picks in the later rounds might not provide depth so he tries to add some depth with UDFAs. Anyone involved with the league for a long time will tell you the draft is a crap shoot. And even in that rare case where you pick a blue chip player you can’t predict if he will stay healthy. When you consider the big picture and all of the variables TT has done a solid job. Maybe not a great or perfect job, but pretty solid. If anyone has a replacement who they know will do a better job over the long term I’m listening. Thanks, Since ’61

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    • Dobber says:

      ” I am not counting the 05 season as this was his 1st year and he inherited a mess”

      People seem to forget how Mike Sherman depleted the talent on the Packers roster he inherited from Wolf and had the team struggling under the burden of dead cap money.

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  13. tim says:

    Being in management at any level in football is a rough thing. No matter who your boss is, “what have you done for me lately” is all that counts. In TT or MM case that’s magnified because of the thousands of “bosses” and armchair QBs like me chirping in. For the most part, I think they deserve a pass, they’ve done well in the past and no one could come out of this injury-laden stretch smelling like a rose. But I think they’ve made it tougher on themselves also. Sometimes I think they’ re a little unwilling to change course, even when headed for a brick wall. They need to learn from the mistakes in order to get better.

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  14. Eric says:

    Clearly the Packers prefer to be a “draft and develop” team. This makes sense for the salary cap. It doesn’t work when the draft choices don’t develop as expected. For the Packers, the recent drafts haven’t been great, primarily because of injuries.

    When the draft fails you for any reason, it’s time to start looking at free agents. However, that causes salary cap problems. Most fans don’t pay enough attention to the salary cap. It is one of the most important drivers of roster decisions.

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  15. J204 says:

    How the fuk does Marshall Newhouse still get playing time over our first round pick Derrick Sherrod?? Is Sherrod that bad?

    Newhouse constantly is getting owned every game on almost every play. Does anyone wonder the same thing??

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  16. Archie says:

    Money is isn’t an excuse for not signing FAs in the salary cap era. TT spends his full budget ever year. It’s what he’s spending it on that either works or doesn’t work. $8MM on Raji, $14MM on Finely, $8MM on Hawk, $8MM on T Williams. He overpays for his own FAs. That is not wise. That, combined with blow lots of draft picks lately, and losing lots of good FAs like C Jenlins, Scott Wells, et. al. has resulted in a talent deficit on this team. That deficit has grown every year since the SB. Thems the facts.

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  17. Eric from Oconto says:

    It’s hard to maintain Draft and develop when you have a high number of winning seasons back to back. If your team makes an annual trip to the playoffs that means automatically you have [32 teams - 12 playoff spots =] 20 teams picking in the draft ahead of you minimum. Even if you are an above average scouting unit you are still having to make the most out of less value than the majority of the rest of the league.

    The NFL is a race against attrition. If you have a good to great talent level it will inevitably erode away because of the economics and impossibility of replacing the numbers of players with equal or even slightly lesser quality.

    By the same rule if your scouts and GM have even below average results eventually they will get enough talent to have a couple playoff level seasons (see the Lions for this).

    The exceptionally well managed teams like the Packers, Patriots and Steelers have been able to maintain a high winning percentage even with a lack of impact type talent in the overall pool they have to draft from.

    Inevitably there has to be a down year or two. This gives the well managed teams a chance to wade into the deep end and hunt for those gems that are going to be the next impact players in the NFL.

    Just my thoughts however …

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    • funcrusher says:

      Exactly! Some people don’t understand what a disadvantage it is when you’re picking at the end of the draft again and again. Fans want their team to be super bowl contenders each year, yet still draft top 10 talents. It doesn’t work like.

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  18. funcrusher says:

    Jason, I wish you had stated in the article, some of the free agents you’d like TT to bring in. Without doing that, it’s really a pointless thing to read. Anyone can sit back and write that TT should sign some “name brand” free agents, and be so generic that you can’t be held accountable. It’s another thing to go on record naming the ones he should pursue.

    There’s a lot of good players that’ll be available, so pick some you think would be good in green and gold. Without that, it’s just a bunch of fluff.

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    • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

      First of all, thanks for reading. It wasn’t my angle to throw out a blue print for this coming offseason and it’s not really my style. I have written about why I think they should or shouldn’t get after a specific guy before but this was more of a holiday-themed piece and it was meant to be generic and generate discussion. Judging by the comment section, it did.

      Until free agency gets closer and we know who else may be joining the list of those scheduled to hit the market and who scored deals between now and then (especially in Green Bay), it’s not worth naming names anyway. The exact needs beyond safety aren’t fully known yet.

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      • funcrusher says:

        If the point was to generate a discussion, then it was a success. You’re probably right in waiting till it’s closer to free agency before you start professing your admiration for certain free agents. But with the way the season’s going, it’s hard to be patient and not want to skit right to that.

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        • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

          Totally understand. It has been an unusual five weeks and everyone is itching to get back to good. The way things have gone lately, that may not be until the offseason and many eyes will be on this team to see what changes are made. They have to do something different if they want to get better results, that’s for sure. If Ted just sticks to the draft and hopes 6-7 newbies (and however many other UDFA’s) can come in and plug all of the obvious holes, he will hear plenty of criticism now that we know that that particular mentality doesn’t work every year.

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  19. There are also strong draft pools and weaker pools, too. Sometimes there is an Andrew Luck, RG3 at the top and one or two other blue chip prospects, often enough 3 to 5 players. Then, another tier of 5 to 10 players, say pick 5 to 13. On average there is another tier of players, perhaps 14 to 25 or so. I believe several analysts (I think last year) suggested there was little difference in physical talent between picks 20 and 50, just considerations of fit, need, and intangibles. So usually when GB drafts lately, its choice is in the 3rd or 4 tier of guys. Then there are injury and off the field issues to take into consideration. This means that when GB drafts, the premium positions have been picked over: QB, LOT, DL, WR, OLB, CB, ROT, RB. TT seems very strong at finding CBs late/UDFA, WR in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, and serviceable RBs, along with o-linemen in the middle rounds, and arguably ILBs (Hawk and Manning vs. Bishop, B. Jones, Lattimore, Francois, B.J. Smith).

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