Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ted Thompson: The Haters Sure Are Quiet

"Don't worry Packer fans, we'll take you to the promise land."

The Ted Thompson haters have been noticeably quite this year, yet some are still not sold. Here’s a look at what he’s done to this organization:

The Good -
Hired:
McCarthey
Signed: Woodson, Pickett
Drafted: Jones, Jennings, Hawk, Jolly, Rodgers, Spitz, Coston, Williams, Blackman, Cole, Colledge
Resigned or Extended: Kampman, Barnett, Driver, Harris, Tauscher, Jenkins, Lee, Bubba
Traded For: Grant
Found: Bigbie, Jon Ryan, Koren Robinson, Tramon Williams

The biggest question marks coming into this season were -
1)
Wide Receivers - Check
2) Running Back - Check
3) Tight End - Check
4) Saftey/Saftey Depth - Check minus

Questionable Moves -
1) He Doesn't spend any money
- Actually he does. Going into next year, 20 teams have more cap space than the Packers (Link, scroll down). He spends it only when appropriate. Oh, and who spent the most money on free agents last year? San Francisco...they have 3 wins.
2) Trading Javon Walker and only getting a 3rd in return - Could they have gotten more? Maybe. Whoever traded for Walker was expected to sign him to a big contract...narrowing his market. He had 1,084 yards last year. Is hurt this year and has 237 yards. Let's just say GB isn't missing him, his big contract, his injury, and ego.
3) Not getting Moss - GB is 11-2 without him, how much better could they possibly be with him? 13-0? Let's remember, he wasn't a sure thing. If he was, dozens of teams would have been banging down Oakland's door for him. And where did he go in your fantasy draft? 11th, 12th WR chosen? Was he worth the risk of trading a 4th rounder for him? Yes.
4) Didn't go out and get a running back this off season - Um, there could be an entire post on why this was a GOOD idea. For a preview, check out how Travis Henry, Ahman Green, Jamal Lewis (good), Dominic Rhodes, Corey Dillon, and Michael Turner are doing this year. Now watch Ryan Grant.
5) Drafting Aaron Rodgers in the first round of 2005 - NOBODY knew what Favre was gonna do. I'll defer to Matt's take when they picked him: "They had to address the QB position at some point..."
6) Drafting Justin Harrell in the first round of 2007 - Hasn't done anything this year.
7) Let Guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera Leave in Free Agency - Both got big money. Wahle is a disapointment this year (Link, scroll down), Rivera is out of football.

Inheritance -
Many TT bashers will note the fact that he came onto a team that already had a number of good players, including the great Brett Favre. True. But, a mere two years ago the Packers were 4-12 with Favre, Driver, Harris, Barnett, Kampman, Clifton, Tauscher and KGB. 4-12!! You need more than 8 guys. TT infused talent at nearly every other position.

Bottom Line -
Is TT perfect? No. Has he missed on some draft picks? Yes. Is he three deep at every position? No. But, who is, who hasn't, and who is? Even the geniuses in New England are wrong sometimes. In the 2000 draft they used the 199th pick on Mr. Tom Brady. A guy they had rated higher than Brady and picked a round earlier at 141 was....Dave Stachelski, TE, Boise St. Stachelski never played a down in the NFL. Nobody's perfect.

TT's had a huge hand in building Green Bay into an elite NFC team. 4-12, to 8-8, to an 11-2 squad when most predicted them to be well under .500 and struggle to generate any semblance of offense. Oh, and he helped build Seattle into a Super Bowl team. Yet, TT sucks? Yeah, right!

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would argue that 1-53, the Packers are the deepest team in football. Ted had a plan (saturation drafting, re-sign your own players before they hit free agency, and only sign a select few free agents) and has yet to waver/panic.

While nobody's perfect (Harrell!?!)I think the results speak for themselves, and the Packers are set up to be good for a while.

matt said...

I'll give Thompson credit for one thing - he had the vision to hire McCarthy. I think McCarthy and Favre are doing more with less than any team in the league.

Congrats to Favre - he deserves this and I'm glad he didn't let Ted make him retire.

AP said...

Great piece, and i should print this and just hand it to people when i hear them bitching about TT.


The only thing I would add, was that he also has balls. He essentially told Ahmad Carrol, Grady Jackson, Mike McKenzie, Javon Walker, and most importantly Cletidus Hunt to go F*** themselves. A lot of those moves were not popular at the time, but he knew his "plan" and he knew those overpaid POS's didn't fit the plan.

Have i mentioned I love TT???

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I'd give somebody credit for kicking Cletidus or Carroll to the curb. Those are no-brainers.

And Mike Sherman traded McKenzie, not Thompson, if I'm not mistaken.

Let's just say I'm still in a wait-and-see mode with Thompson. It's hard to predict a GM's legacy in the short term.

matt said...

Oops, that last anonymous post was me - forgot to put my name in there.

Anonymous said...

Brad you keep saying that TT built Seattle into a SB Team...Please! They went one year, by winning in a Bad NFC Then lost....and if I am not mistaken TT was gone already gone the year they finally made it. Seattle has been a huge flop! m Hardly something I would use as a positive for TT.

I will give TT credit for hiring McCarthy, but this years Success is on Favre!
Let see how good they are when he retires....I have a good feeling you will be singing a difrent tune!

Bill said...

They have a young, confident, and very talented team. That along with Favre's leadership is why they are winning. I give TT all the credit in the world for building it. He deserved the credit and I think for the most part is getting it. Now lets see how he can do with this type of team in terms of mantaining it and taking it to the next level.

Brad said...

Ano - I don't even know where to start.

"Seattle has been a huge flop." What NFL are you watching? The year after the SB (2006) they made the playoffs, won the first round, then lost to the Bears in overtime. This year they are 9-4. How the hell is that a "huge flop???"

"Hardly something I would use as a positive for TT." So, if the Packers go to the SB, you won't really enjoy it because the NFC is soft? Isn't going to the SB kind of a big thing?

Yes, he was gone the year they went, but huge parts of that team were in place partly under TTs watch. I say partly because I believe he was assistant GM.

True, replacing a legend like Favre will be very tough. Favre doesnt play defense...that should still be strong.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Pack wont start out 11-2 every year. Then the TT haters will be in full effect.

TT, MM, and Favre are the keys to this season but couldnt do it without the rest of the cast put together by TT. Anybody ever think that one of the reasons Favre is so great this year is because of Jones, Jennings, and Grant? Hmmmm...who picked up those guys?

AP said...

Yeah...I don't know why I included McKenzie in my original post. I think I was blinded by my love for Thompson.....

....and yes Carrol was a no brainer, but he was a 1st round pick & Hunt had a HUGE cap number. It's a no brainer now; now that we know both guys suck out loud. At the time, taking the cap hit for both those guys wasn't a no brainer.

Nubs said...

Seriously, I have come to terms with this blogs initialing everything, TT, RW, DM, yada, yada, yada, but Brad you just couldn’t even complete Anonymous? Ano? I guess I am behind the times on my text messaging “IM” lingo.

I’m sorry this is a sports blog, Go Brewers!

brad said...

Nubs - I couldnt spell anonymous off the top of my head. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Matt: when did TT ever want Favre to retire?

alan said...

The Thompson apologists are out in full force.

When he drafted Rodgers, most people thought Favre would play one or, probably, two more years.

Most of the impact players on this team are from Sherman or Wolf: Favre, Driver, Tauscher, Clifton, Kampman, Corey Williams, Barnett, Harris. Thompson added depth, but the only impact player he added was Jennings (jury's still out on Grant).

When he has to think about a first round draft pick, he blows it (Rodgers, Harrell). When it's a no-brainer (Hawk), he gets an average player.

AP: Which of the moves you mentioned (Carrol, Jackson, McKenzie (Sherman), Walker or Hunt) was not popular at the time? Maybe Walker, that's it. What balls!!!

And for those who give Thompson credit with "building" the Seahawks. You same people will rip Holmgren for being an ego-maniac. Do you really think Holmgren is going to give control of the draft to Thompson? The day after Thompson left, the Seahawks rearranged their front office and didn't lift a finger to keep him. That's telling.

The reason they were 4-12 2 years ago was mostly because of injuries. They were probably an 8-8 team that year, but 4-12 happens when you are down to your 5th string running back, backup offensive line, 3rd and 4th wide receivers, etc.

Finally, I will give Thompson credit for 2 things: Hiring McCarthy and improving the depth on the team.

brad said...

Alan - I've never given TT full credit for building Seattle. I said "had a hand in..." The Walrus was coach/GM, then his GM duties were stripped. I really don't know who was making the final draft calls and that stuff. TT might not have been the #1 guy...let's just say he was certainly involved.

From Various websites:

Thompson spent the 2000-04 campaigns as vice president of football operations for the Seattle Seahawks.

And although Thompson prefers to shift the spotlight in another direction, his fingerprints were all over the Seahawks' road to Super Bowl XL during the 2005 season. NFL MVP Shaun Alexander, Thompson's first draft pick in Seattle, in 2000, captured the 2005 league rushing title and established a then-NFL single-season record with 28 touchdowns. Nine of Seattle's Super Bowl starters, as well as kicker Josh Brown, were drafted by Thompson. That list includes G Steve Hutchinson, a Pro Bowler in five of his six NFL seasons

Some of the notable players Thompson selected in his tenure with the Seahawks were running back Shaun Alexander, kicker Josh Brown, guard Steve Hutchinson, and wide receiver Darrell Jackson, cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Ken Lucas, safeties Ken Hamlin and Michael Boulware.

Goldy said...

I thought everybody thinks Grant isn't good. He just happenbed to have one good game against the Raiders. You can't give Thompson credit for picking up Grant because most on this board think he is a fluke of Gado proportions.

alan said...

Brad:

You say Thompson "had a hand in" building the Seahawks then one paragraph later give him full credit for drafting 9 starters.

He recommended players to Holmgren, but Holmgren was the ultimate decision maker (which is better than Mike Sherman, who sent his scouts out of the draft room, but I digress).

So, which to you claim to? He "had a hand in" or "Thompson drafted..."?

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth.

I know what you WANT to believe, but reality and perception are two different things.

AP said...

First of all, it's too early to call Harrel a bust, and given the unpredictability of drafting QB's I'd hesitate to call Rodgers a bust as well....

As far as the popularity of the moves: Walker, Jackson, & McKenzie were absolutely not popular. (I realize McKenzie was Sherman, I included him hastily in my first post.)

When Walker left b/c he wanted more money, he was the single best big play guy on the team. There was plenty of clamoring of, "What the hell is TT (sorry Nubs) doing???" Jackson was the same way. There used to be a radio host on 1250AM here in Milwaukee named Peter Brown, and when these two guys were let go given the call in opinions and such it was probably 80% of the people who thought TT was a hack for letting these guys walk....I remember thinking that it was pretty bold.

....and again, if you want to compare draft failure, go look at Sherman's draft were he took Carrol, Thomas, Sander #'s 1-3 (Trade up to get Sander.) The 4-12 season was a result of lack of depth due to Sherman's drafting. Yes, he found some really good starters. But are backups SUCKED to the point that when we did have injuries....we were terrible.

Alan: Is Woodson not an impact player? Lee? Jenkins? JJones? If your going to include the illustrious Corey Williams as a + for Shermie, it's probably a bit of a stretch to leave those guys off TT's list & only say Jennings and maybe Grant. There should be more impact players from Sherman, he had 5 draft classes to work with. Sherman was both figuratively and literally asleep at the wheel when drafting players was concerned.

My only point is that with Sherman, he inherited Wolf's Super Bowl team and it was a steady decline downwards after that. TT takes over a 4-12 team, and it improves steadily; the direction we're going in is great, and you have to tip your hat to the guy in charge when that happens.

brad said...

Alan - No, the part giving TT credit for the 9 players came from a website, not my mouth. Everything under the "From Various Websites" heading is from, you guessed it, various websites.

alan said...

AP,

It may be too early to call Harrell a bust, but when he hasn't been healthy for a full season since his freshman year of high school, I don't think I'm going out on a limb here.

As for Rodgers, other than Tony Romo, can you think of a QB who sat on the bench for 4 years (I think Favre will play next year) and actually did anything??

Your citing of Peter Brown as a source strains your credibility right there. He always took a controversial stance to get people PO'd and to call in. I already agreed on Walker, but Jackson was mixed (people didn't care because of his attitude and his lack of production). When McKenzie came back and faked injuries just so he got paid, it was 100% for letting him go.

I never said Sherman drafted well. I said that Thompson greatly improved our depth, but if you want to blame Sherman for 4-12, I don't think this year's team would be 11-2 if they were starting Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin at wide receiver and had Brandon Jackson (or worse, if possible) starting at RB with a makeshift O-line.

I will give you Woodson as an impact player. Jones is not an impact player yet. Donald Lee is consistent, but hardly an impact player.

Finally, Thompson did not "take over a 4-12 team". He took over a 10-6 team. And one year wonders happen all the time, look at New Orleans this year.

The jury's still out on Thompson.

Anonymous said...

Alan - isn't Woodson an impact player? Same with Pickett...the run defense starts with him.

alan said...

Brad: Nice copout. You say "various web sites", but then post it as fact.

So, you must believe it then.

Goldy said...

Alan said: "The jusy's still out on Thompson."

I agree with this thought. The schedule was exceptionally weak this year. Let's see a repeat next year and all can be on the bandwagon.

For the most part, I have liked his moves. I liked the depth we gained in the 2006 draft. I think Thompson will go down as a solid GM. However, I wouldn't put him in the early Wolf category for an 11-2 start against an awful schedule.

brad said...

Alan - They were: Packers.com, SeattleTimes.com, and the Green Bay Press Gazette. Not exactly random fan blogs. I lost the links.

alan said...

Packers.com and the GB Press Gazette are in the business of pumping up Thompson.

Seattle Times might be different, but after knowing Holmgren, I refuse to believe that he let Thompson run the draft. He may have great input (which he should have had), but it was still Holmgren's responsibility.

Travis said...

I agree with Alan.

Brad seems to be flip-flopping on a number of points. Randomly posting things from "various other sites" in order to counter the points of another blogger is weak.

Anonymous said...

"Brad seems to be flip-flopping on a number of points."

And these would be...

brad said...

Travis - I was only quoting other websites describing TT's time in Seattle because I don't know what he did in Seattle. I didn't follow the 2000-2004 Seattle Seahawks as closely as you might have.

matt said...

I think that Thompson wanted Favre to retire - his actions in the press over the past 2 off-seasons led me to believe this. However, I have no evidence of this and I won't cite to various websites to back up my suspicion. It's just an opinion.

This year's 11-2 start has shifted my opinion on Thompson from "don't let the door hit your ass on the way out" to "wait and see". So I guess that's a move in the right direction.

AP said...

Have I mentioned i love, TT....?

Goldy said...

AP-
Good to have you back commenting on a regular basis!

Anyhow quick question:
What do you feel more strongly about, your love of TT or hate of Ned Yost?

alan said...

"Anyhow quick question:
What do you feel more strongly about, your love of TT or hate of Ned Yost?"


Thanks for proving my point. Irrational behavior regarding both people.

Travis said...

Brad,

I have been to the Seattle area a number of times and have family in the area that have followed TT while he was there. Clearly the Walrus had a hand in this team as well. Just because TT has rebuilt your Packer team to where it is now doesnt mean its time to praise him as the next Ron Wolf. Same as Goldy's post a few days ago sending Grant to Canton Ohio.

AP said...

Why is that irrational? Packers are exceeding expectation and performing higher than eveyone here predicted. Hence, heaping praise on McCarthy & Thompson.

IMHO, the Brewers made some questionable moves and many felt they underperformed a bit down the stretch. Hence, I'm not heaping praise on Yost and I feel Melvin's been given a pass on some things as well. Those are two polemic situations, with two different and equallly appropriate reactions. I think that is the very definition of being rational......? I don't have any source other than Websters dictionary to cite on that one, Alan.

(For the record, I'd say my love for TT is stronger b/c i'd have to say I am more of a Packer fan than a Brewer fan. I love 'em both, but I just mean the Pack is #1 with me....)

alan said...

AP: well said. I was just commenting on Goldy's post when he said "hate" of Ned Yost.

You can only do so much when your starters only go 5 and you have only 3 competent relievers.

brad said...

Thanks to all for this spirited debate. Seriously, this was good stuff.