Ted Thompson: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

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Packers GM Ted Thompson
Packers GM Ted Thompson

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.

2) Profile:

Ted Thompson

  • 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)

Biography and more: 

(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+

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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.

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  • Ron LC

    Completely off-topic – well maybe not. Percy Harvin traded to Seattle for draft choices. Sounds to me like Jennings might be in Pirple this season.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Wow, Seattle gave up quite a lot for Harvin. That for a guy with a injury and migraine history as well as being one of the more borderline schizo players in the league. Jennings recently mentioned that he wants to play for a good quarterback, I wonder if that precludes Ponder?

      • Stroh

        Good QB and Ponder don’t belong in the same sentence. If Jennings wants a good QB he won’t go the vikes.

      • James

        I get migraine headaches looking at purple too.

      • ThomasMagnumPI

        He’s really not injury prone, but that is the common perception of him. He does have the migraine issue, but a change of scenery out of MIN will likely help that to some extent . . .

        I don’t think Seattle gave up too much, by any means. Harvin is young, talented, and the best slot WR in the game in terms of talent. He does have a tendency to be a bit of a diva, but that’s life in the NFL I guess.

        • Stroh

          He’s also a headcase who has had arguments w/ every coach he’s ever had. Everyone knows he’s talented, but when you wear out your welcome at everyplace you’ve ever been, your don’t stay usefull for long.

          I don’t suffer from migraines but asthma and the constant air pressure changes in Seattle might make his migraines worse, like it would asthma.

  • Ron LC

    Actually I’d weight post-season at least 50% of the grade. That’s were the rubber hits the road. If you’re not ready to compete against the best, you haven’t done your job.

    At best a C+. There are key needs this off-season that will end up proving TT’s value. It’s kind of like the year Wolf brought in Reggie. I hopeful that some meaningful moves will be taking place while Rogers is at his peak.

    • JimR_in_DC

      I’m with Ron on this. Training camp should’ve seen Kicker competition, but didn’t. I sometimes feel TT is too comfortable with certain aspects of his team.

    • Stroh

      The year Wolf brought in Reggie, there was no salary cap. The 2 situations are nothing alike becuz its not possible for Thompson to spend whatever he wants to get the guy he wants.

  • Ron LC

    Now the 9ers get Bouldun for a 6th. Could there be some nepotism there.

    The White example is relevent because all teams could have and probably did bid for him. Just as now all teams have the same “Cap” restrictions as the Packers. One of TT’s desciples, John Schnider, doesn’t seem to have the same aversion to FA and trades.

    • Oppy

      John Schneider also has an owner he answers to, so you never can be sure if the trade was all his doing, or whether an owner strongly suggested to “make it happen”.

      I do think JS is more inclined to jump into FA than TT, but it is still a big difference in climate in Seattle compared to GB and the difference should be noted.

    • ThomasMagnumPI

      Boldin for a 6th is a good deal for both sides. The Ravens should be happy to get anything for him (prime release candidate if not traded) and SF got a good possession receiver, who should be a contributing #2. He’s not the same as he was back in the Fitz/Boldin/Warner days in the desert, but he is still effective.

  • SDPackfan

    Last year’s draft class produced one star and a bunch of unknowns to this point.

    Last year’s free agent class of Benson, Saturday, Muir, Hargrove, and Merling was, um well less than stellar.

    Hope TT strikes Gold in the draft as I have no faith in his ability to acquire veteran talent.

  • Scott 1956

    This is going to be TT’s 8th draft, and both lines are very weak. All good and bad things in football are the direct result of line play. No matter how you cut it, this team has huge question marks at Offensive Tackle. Bulaga coming off a broken hip and Sherrod’s broken leg. Nobody knows exactly how this will play out. So I believe TT needs to draft at least one Tackle. And he also needs to find a Nose Tackle. Pickett has one or two years left, and Raji is a much better end than NT. I would like to see TT get WR that has REAL deep speed. The WR’s we have can get deep, but teams are not afraid of them going deep. This team has a few holes and I’m hoping that TT can fill a few this offseason.

  • Turophile

    Scott. Its overstating it to say all good and bad things are the result of line play. A rubbish QB can still be poor, even when he is behind a quality O line, don’t expect Tebow or Sanchez to look good behind any line.

    If I wanted to spend a third 1st round pick on a position, I wouldn’t choose OT (firsts Bulaga, Sherrod), I’d choose OLB (firsts Matthews, Perry). We need a proper pass rush and because (in the 3-4) it requires such a demanding skill-set, those guys go early. A good third rusher allows Capers to be creative moving guys inside and out, as well as covering for an injury there.

    We may be fine at OT with Bulaga (I don’t worry about his recovery) and Sherrod (with Newhouse eventually backing them up), so I don’t commit a first round pick there this year when we might be fine. That is reserved for next year, by which time we will KNOW if we are not fine. If you talk about adding a quality C/G instead of OT, then I am on board.

    I agree about getting a big guy on the ‘D’. Raji, Neal, Worthy (when recvovered), plus a decent draft pick, all rotating in and out, should be enough to get the job done, even after Pickett is gone. Wilson is solid depth.

    I wouldn’t be disappointed with OLB, NT/DE, C/G, WR, RB with our earlier picks and FB and QB in with our later picks.

    As for needing a real speedy receiver, what I’d rather see is a better run game, to force the other team out of a cover 2 look. The cover 2 defense is what messes up our long pass game as much as anything.

    • JimR_in_DC

      Turophile said “I wouldn’t be disappointed with OLB, NT/DE, C/G, WR, RB with our earlier picks and FB and QB in with our later picks.’

      I generally agree with you; however, we are also potentially in need of a safety and an ILB. We really have a lot of needs when you look at it.

    • Scott 1956

      Remember one thing, Rodgers failed his year end physical! So if you think that as he gets older, he’ll still be able to take the punishment, he won’t!

      • Stroh

        Failing a physical after a full 16 Game schedule and playoffs is hardly reason to be worried. I would be surprised if many players actually pass a end of season physical. They’re bound to have a spained ankle or some other injury ths won’t fully heal till the get full rest and recovery from any football activity. Pass one indicates completely healthy.

  • ThomasMagnumPI

    I really disagree with both phrases of this sentence, quoted from the body of the article:

    Morgan Burnett is by no means the team’s safety of the future and the defensive line still needs work outside of BJ Raji.

    First of all, I think it is quite clear that Burnett IS the GBP’s safety of the present and future. Is he Nick Collins? No, but Collins was a truly rare talent–and a guy that I did not appreciate nearly enough until he was gone.

    Secondly, the most special thing about Raji is where he was drafted. His production has been up-and-down and the entire D-Line needs to be addressed. The GBP have some quality players there, but haven’t gotten premier production out of Raji on a consistent basis, and could really use a force at DE.

  • GBPDAN

    As I watched the packers D get shredded, to a all time nfl low, all year long in 2011, and as I watched the Oline fail, and the D get worked ,against the 49ers Saints Colts Giants Vikings in the reg 2012 season, I realized that the Pack wasn’t going far in the playoffs either year. Playoffs show what a team is made of. The non physical packers failed in the playoffs and so did TT. I give him a D+ for the last 2 years.