1) Introduction: After following a Super Bowl title up with a 15-1 regular season in 2001, it seemed Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson could do no wrong. After a tense beginning to his tenure with the Packers, many fans have come to completely trust Thompson when it comes to building the roster of their team. Even when Thompson doesn’t sign many fee agents, he’s finding good players in the draft to restock Green Bay’s shelf with fresh talent. 2012 was no exception to how Thompson has gone about his time with the Packers.
- Age: 60
- Born: 01/07/1953, in Atlanta, Texas
- Rookie Year as GM: 2006 (Packers)
- NFL Experience: player: 1975-1984 (Houston Oilers), executive 1992-present (Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks)
(3) Expectations heading into 2012: The expectations for Thompson’s roster have been the same since the Packers won Super Bowl XLV: Lombardi Trophy or bust. The defense was Green Bay’s Achilles Heel in 2011 but it was often ignored or overlooked because of the record amount of points the offense was putting up.
Thompson’s objective was to improve the defense and he delivered in the draft with six of the Packers’ eight selections being devoted to the defensive side of the ball. With Aaron Rodgers in command of a young but explosive offense, Thompson was afforded the luxury of being able to focus on one side of the team.
4) Overachievements/Underachievements: If it’s possible for the deepest part of the team to overachieve, it did this year for the Packers at the wide receiver position. Many expected Randall Cobb to be good but his strong season probably surprised even some optimists. An even bigger surprise was James Jones who previously earned the ire of fans with his penchant for dropping the ball. In 2012, Jones was absolute money, particularly in the end zone with 14 touchdown catches.
For underachievements, the defense improved but was inconsistent. Injuries played a role in that as the Packers lost DJ Smith, Nick Perry, and Desmond Bishop to injured reserve. Some replacements like Dezman Moses did a decent job but the defense still struggled. Morgan Burnett is by no means the team’s safety of the future and the defensive line still needs work outside of BJ Raji.
5) Overall team success: All things considered, the Packers had a good season. No they didn’t win a second Lombardi Trophy in three years but the defense showed signs of improvement (postseason meltdown aside) and the team once again overcame injuries to repeat as NFC North champions.
There are a few pieces that still need work but Thompson can sleep knowing that the Packers have a young and solid nucleus in place. With Rodgers, Cobb, Clay Matthews and Raji leading the way on offense and defense respectively, Thompson can build around them and keep the Packers in contention for years to come.
6) Performance in the playoffs: To sum it up in a phrase, “inconsistent performance.” The Packers had no problem handling the Minnesota Vikings at home in the wild card round but they came crashing down in a ball of flames against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.
The defensive meltdown in San Francisco was more on the coaching staff than Thompson. Still, McCarthy (maybe with Thompson’s blessing) stuck with Dom Capers as defensive coordinator. 2013 will tell if that faith will be rewarded
Season Report Card:
(A-) Level of expectations met during the season
(B+) Team’s overall success.
(C-) Team’s playoff performance
Overall Grade: B+——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke