Imagine this scenario: you’re traveling with your family on a vacation. You mapped out the route you would take and foresaw smooth travels ahead. What actually happens, however, is road filled with bumps and potholes and you suffer some damage and keep getting detoured from your ultimate destination.
For Ted Thompson, with perhaps his legacy as general manager for the Green Bay Packers in the balance, such a moment is at hand.
Ever since the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, Thompson’s ultimate destination has been a return trip to the title game. Many, including Thompson himself, thought the Packers were in prime position for multiple Super Bowl runs and some even uttered the word “dynasty” when looking at Green Bay’s long term prognosis.
Instead, Thompson’s team has suffered through multiple injury plagued seasons while the defense continues to suffer blowout after blowout like a cheaply made tire on an RV. The offense is the engine that keeps the vehicle moving at a decent speed but what good does that do with consistently flat tires on defense?
Heading into the 2014 offseason, Thompson has to put solid rubber underneath the Packer vehicle in order to take some pressure off the offense and keep that engine from overheating. The defense must get better (and fast) if the Packers want any chance of returning to the Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers was dead on when he said one window has closed for the Packers and another has opened. The franchise quarterback is 30 and will turn 31 late in the upcoming season. The clock is ticking.
Thompson has relied heavily on drafting talent and developing it along to replace aging stars. This method has worked well in spots, the wide receiver position is a case in point.
It has been an utter disaster on defense. The Packers have yet to find a suitable replacement for Nick Collins and also haven’t fully replaced Cullen Jenkins either. After both these players left the team via injury and free agency, the performance of the Green Bay defense has gone into a tailspin.
That is why this off season is crucial for the Packers. The Packers managed to stay afloat without Rodgers for half of 2013 but they’d have been in even better shape had the defense even resembled competence. Thompson has not been the best in terms of drafting defensive talent and that was on display for all to see in 2013.