Ted Thompson to blame for disappointing 2013

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The 2013 Green Bay Packers’ campaign wasn’t anything short of exciting, but to say it went the way we all hoped would be a severe overstatement. Sure, they won the division and earned a spot in the postseason, but it ended too early. Beyond that there were several occasions during the regular season that left Packer Nation shaking our heads.

However, the biggest disappointment of the Packers’ season can’t be pinpointed to one single game, play, or player. Rather, the biggest disappointment of this team was personnel related. Ted Thompson hasn’t been a general manager to sign big name free agents or make big splashes in the offseason, deciding instead to build through the draft and trust the development process of the organization. I love this philosophy, it puts a greater importance on the coaching staff and the offseason practices, mini camps, and training camps. It keeps the young players accountable and lets the veterans become coaches in the locker room, keeping them accountable as well. It’s a great system that has produced great talent for many many years.

Seneca

Ted Thompson failed however, in one major aspect of player development. When Aaron Rodgers went down the Packers seemingly had no answer for where to go. Seneca Wallace was signed the first week of training camp, hadn’t had any reps with the first team, and wasn’t able to be productive. Scott Tolzien has some great untapped talent, but he was on the practice squad until Rodgers went down, and like Wallace hadn’t taken any reps with the first team. Matt Flynn wasn’t even on the roster until two weeks after Rodgers’ injury, and he became the answer. Thompson and the organization must know before OTA’s and mini camps this year who they want as Rodgers’ insurance policy. They should have known the same thing at that time one year ago.

Tolzien

The Packers managed to pull off a dramatic division title, thanks in large part to other teams (cough, Detroit, cough) not taking advantage of their opportunities. But, had they had a capable number two in place there could easily have been two or three more wins, one less tie, and 2 less losses.

Flynn

Whether the Packers will look to the draft for their back up, decide on developing Scott Tolzien, or look for a veteran back up in free agency remains to be seen. However Packer Nation, do trust that this season will look a lot more solid at QB depth than this past season did.

To see what we talked about last week at cover32.com/packers, CLICK HERE.


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  • dave

    Jones makes one of two catches, Hyde makes a pick and Pack could have been playing in the NFC Championship. Do not blame Ted for anything but being solid on first round picks. How many teams have a solid number two QB on the roster. Most of them do not have a solid number one QB (e.g. The Vikings). Everyone says sign FA’s when we cannot even keep the majority of the Packs FA’s. You most likely will never see a Super Bowl run of more than one season again. Count your Packer blessings that we have a recent Super Bowl and hopefully can get another with Roger’s.

    • Bobby D

      Dont blame Ted?? His draft and develop philosophy is brillain except for two minor hiccups. With VERY few exceptions over the past 7 years or so (Rodgers & Mathews) his 1-3 picks have not become the impact players they need to be. Is it bad drafts or poor developing because of this inept coaching staff. Campen? Slocum? Capers??? or possibly both? He is absolutely at fault. He has to resort to his street free agents, rehabbing wannabees and any other warm body he can find on the street because he eats up the salary cap by re-upping guys like Hawk, Jones, Burnett & God forbid Raji. Bottom lne is there is only a handful of guys we we actually need to keep…….Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson, Cobb, Mathews, Hyde (thats right, got lucky)Shieldsm Hayward, Daniels, Sitton, yes Tramon & Masthay. Everybody else easily replaceable. We proved our lack of overall talent in two ways…..first we could easily have gone 0-8 when Rodgers went down. The other is, how about not a single pro bowler? Draft and develop? Wish Murphy had some onions & showed Ted the door. Should have canned him and promoted Schneider. He apparently is not terrified of an occasional FA like invisible Ted is. Count our blessings?? We have a HOF qb who in time will hate the albino just like our last one did! Rodgers solely responsible for all these losers, including MM still being employed,

      • Anonymous

        I think Bobby D nailed it.

      • Morgan Mundane

        Datone Jones and Perry are ones and Worthless Worthy is a two. Three picks that could have helped transform this team and these three guys are busts. You can have a number 5,6,7 pick a bust but you can never afford to have a one a bust, let alone two ones and a two in a three years period.
        He drafts a DE when the team was despirate for Safeties and O linemen. He waited until the late rounds, mostly smallish undistinquished players to fill key positions and it failed. He IS repsonsible for the Packers play or lack of.

  • jerry p

    I agree 100% with Bobby D

  • Morgan Mundane

    First I only partially agree with the article. The reason I say partially is, I think the author missed the boat on something. Yes Ted is responsible for 2013, and 2012 and 2011. Its not the draft and lousy personel decisions from one year but really a culmination of three bad years. Ok, He got Belaga, Lacy, Neal and a couple of better than ok players, but hey he also picked Datone Jones, Perry, Worthy, Mulumba, Lattimore, Zombo, Bishop, Burnett, McMillion, Richardson, Hyde, Bush, Franklin and others. Not one of these guys are skilled impact players. They are bodies, many late round picks who came cheap and that is what you get, bodies.

  • andy

    Honestly, those describing 2013 as a ‘disappointing’ season don’t see the full picture. Let’s remember that Aaron Rodgers missed 8 games in addition to the slew of injuries at key skill positions on both sides of the ball (Cobb, Jones, Lacy, Starks, Finley, Matthews, Burnett, Perry, etc.), and we still managed to make the playoffs. That roller coaster stretch while Aaron Rodgers was out was seriously one of the most exciting and memorable games of football I ever watched (Vikings come from behind tie, Atlanta and Dallas ridiculous come from behind wins, and the win or go home Chicago 4th and 8!), all of which got us into the playoffs.
    In the NFL, the next man up philosophy erases injuries as an excuse to team success, and with the Packers, our next man up usually consists of late round draft picks or undrafted free agents, and this is where some fans like to point to as why Ted Thompson is a terrible GM. But fans who blame Ted Thompson for not picking up free agents don’t really have a full grasp of how the salary cap works. Great and successful free agent pick ups, like the Reggie Whites or the Charles Woodsons, are incredibly rare. More often than not, a team will end up severely overpaying for a player’s past accomplishments rather than future contributions. The problem is, if a great player enters the free agent market, other teams are also interested, which leads to the price of a player to shoot up, leading to players eating up a huge amount of cap space without necessarily contributing as much as their salaries might suggest (ie. Mike Wallace’s 5 year $60 million contract). Many teams chase free agents, placing their bets on winning it all the next season, but eventually the salary cap will catch up and force teams to fall apart. The NFL is a young man’s game, and Ted Thompson understands this. The reason the Packers are competitive year in and year out (seriously fans need to appreciate this) is because we have amazing cap management. If Ted feels like an upcoming free agent isn’t worth it, he’ll let the player walk because he believes in draft and develop (ie. who regrets letting Greg Jennings walk?).
    Speaking of draft and develop, we can’t really expect every draft to be a hit, but sometimes a player’s value isn’t known until a few years down the line. Was AJ Hawk worthy of being a 1st round pick back in 2006? Probably not, but one thing he has provided is consistency and being able to stay healthy and therefore on the field. He’s become a veteran leader and lead the team in tackles in 2013. To me, that’s a great pick. We have to understand that 1st round treasures like Clay Matthew who can impact immediately are very hard to come by. Even Rodgers needed a few years to prove to the world he probably was worth the #1 overall pick. So we really need more time to evaluate picks like Jones and Perry (Perry was just starting to become a disruptive force until he got injured, on a sack!). Ted’s draft grade needs to take into consideration other rounds. For example, Ted is a master of the 2nd round pick. Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy ROY, Casey Hayward, Mike Neal, and Nick Collins are all from the 2nd round.
    The point is, if we want to truly be annual contenders, we need to be very careful with our cap management. We find great value in late round draft picks and undrafted free agents, which allows us to pay those hits we make in great players (Rodgers, Matthews, etc.) Fans should be very excited for 2014. We have a great coaching staff and our offense might just be the best in the league. We’ll see how we draft for defense. Dom Capers has said though that he’s willing to change the scheme depending on which players are on the team. Isn’t it great that we contend for a Super Bowl every year?