Cory Corner: Ted Thompson’s loyalty will pay dividends

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Instead of bringing outside free agents, Ted Thompson has opted to reward loyalty and sign players to stay in Green Bay.
Instead of bringing in outside free agents, Ted Thompson has opted to reward loyalty and sign players to stay in Green Bay.

Ted Thompson is proving that devotion and dedication mean more than stats.

The Packers general manager has stuck to his draft and develop philosophy. He has signed four free agents in Sam Shields, Mike Neal, Andrew Quarless and even B.J. Raji to come back and play their home games at Lambeau Field.

I’ve seen and heard numerous people bash Thompson for not bringing in free agents from other teams in order to help the Packers win their fifth Super Bowl title.

Frankly, the fact that Thompson likes to embrace loyalty and reward his guys shouldn’t be overlooked.

Remember, when you bring in outside guys, there is a bit of a transition period as the newbies get acquainted with how things are run. They must get acclimated to the playbook, varying types of schemes for different types of situations and know what and how is expected.

Obviously, former players already know that. They’ve already got strong bonds with teammates, which doesn’t hurt the all-important team chemistry, but most importantly, they already know their roles.

Neal is coming back after a season in which he was tied for third on the team in sacks. It would be ridiculous to even assume that he would demand a Clay Matthews role as the focal point of the defense. But if the Packers had brought in a guy like DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen or Julius Peppers who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened?

Same thing on the offensive side. Quarless all-of-a-sudden isn’t going to demand Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb targets because he knows his role in the delicate Packers ecosystem.

There were, heck there still are, decent guys available. Brian Orakpo is still hanging around, but since he was franchised by the Redskins nobody wants to part with two first round draft picks for a guy that is now arguing with Washington about whether he should be franchised as a linebacker or a defensive end. (It should be noted that the franchise designation as a linebacker is $11.455 million as opposed to $13.116 million for a defensive end).

It may not look flashy or sexy but Thompson is building a team in the truest sense. He rewards production and hard work from former players — as long as the price and age are right — which goes a long way to laying the foundation to a stronger cohesive unit.

I guess in a way, you could look at Thompson as a psychologist. He would rather have his own guys that trust each other and are willing to motivate each other by any means necessary as opposed to assembling an all-star roster or “Dream Team.” Putting those kinds of special guys on the same team looks amazing on paper, but how long does it take for those guys to work together and understand where everyone is going to be?

Put it this way, you wouldn’t have it any other way at your place of employment. Say your boss knows of some guy that is bucketloads more efficient at TPS reports and wants to bring him in to do it better than you. However, after thinking it over, he opts to keep you instead because you’ve been a hard worker and are well-liked. When you hear that, how much harder do you think you’re going to work? The answer is a lot. And the reason you are is because your boss believed in you when it looked like he wasn’t.

Same thing here. Thompson is terrible at press conferences and doesn’t look good in baseball caps. But he is great at getting guys to believe in the team-concept and in return he has players that would do anything for him just for the sole fact that their general manager believed in them when there were plenty of guys that could do their job better.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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  • francesco

    we have the best qb in nfl and dividends are over. and will be over. TT is done. he’s not a great manager but he is in the middle like many others. VINCE LOMBARDY mentality is very far from TT and all actual managers they just survive in mediocrity winning the division

  • Monty Montana

    In Ted We Rust!! He is signing the same crappy players that made our defense so bad last year. If Neal and Raji were good players they would have had other offers. To do the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity. We need playmakers on Defense. Raji Neal Hawk Jones Perry Burnett Richardson Hyde just guys who cant Tackle!! We need new proven guys like Art Jones or that houston dude the bears signed not guys we stunk up Lambeau last year!! Ted and Mike are blind to good defensive players all busts Worthy Boyd Jones busts!!

    • 1stngoal

      I see the trolls are out in force today. So, are you and ‘francesco’ both vikling fans, or are you both the same person? I guess all the losing from the purple midgets has driven their fans off the cliff…

  • Packers4 Life

    I’m glad Thompons re-signed Shields, that was huge. But not re-signing Evan Dietrich-Smith, I don’t get…especially after the disaster experiment we had with Jeff Saturday. JC Tretter hasn’t even played yet!! Aaron Rodgers must be shaking his head somewhere.

    • Horse

      I get it. EDS is a business casualty. They think Tretter is the center of the future, which means EDS can’t be offered a relatively fat, long term contract. No way they would have matched Lovie’s offer. Would you?

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Ted Thompson was under the Cap by $35 million, and has brought back 3 of the players on defense than helped the Packers defense finish 25th in the NFL. The Shields signing was a good signing, especially when you look at the first two years of the contract. I also like bringing back Neal and Quarless for the money he paid them, but I’m mixed on Raji considering he was playing for a contract last year and turned in the season he did. Maybe he thought teams wouldn’t look back at his 2012 and 13 seasons and pay him on his 2010 season.

      Letting EDS walk for the money he signed for doesn’t make much sense to me. EDS was the 7th or 8th ranked Center in the NFL last year. Hell Rodgers even lobbied for EDS to be signed on his weekly radio show. Are the Packers putting their $110 million dollar mans future in the hands of a kid who broke his ankle in the 1st day of activities? Lang, Barclay, someone else? No matter who it is it’s more shuffling and less continuity. Rodgers will be taking snaps from his 4th center in as many years and what everyone hoped would be a stable top 10 offensive line, is in flux again.

      There’s a old saying, “If nothing changes, nothing changes”. Detroit, Minnesota, and the Bears all improved their football teams this off-season. Ted T has stood pat again. He’s sat back as most of the Safeties and D-Linemen signed elsewhere. As concerning that is to me, I find something else just plain odd. Everyone of the Free Agents that schedule a visit to Green Bay never even make it! Why is that? Does TT have such a cheap low balling reputation in the NFL, that he’s become nothing more than a pawn agents use? As a stock holder (Like that means anything), a Packers fan that endured the 70′s and 80′s, and someone who has always tried to see the big picture when it comes to Thompson, I’m really starting to wonder what TT is trying to do. Football isn’t won in March, but when your only playoff win is against Joe Webb in the last 3 years, you have to wonder what it is Thompson’s doing.

      • Archie

        Well stated sir.

      • Morgan Mundane

        I’m with you except the Shields thing was for way too much money. He could have paid him half that amount and Shields would have signed.
        Peppers, ditto, but I like Allen better than peppers just for the sake Allen is two years younger and brings enthusiasm to the game.
        I too see our NFC counterparts making wise decisions, filling needed holes with talent and looking for the draft for those skilled players. Ted has frittered away the money now so he may need to trade some top picks for later picks. there is always a price to pay for stupidity.

  • http://packershome starr57

    Fransesco,

    The fact that you can’t spell Lombardi’s name correct brings a whole lot of doubt that you are actually a Packer fan.

    I’m curious when did you play for The Packers?
    Or is the use of the word “we”, just an easy way to say “The Packers” since you were not sure how to spell Packers.

    Ted Thompson(aka TT I guess), has brought stability and kept the winning going while making some real tough decisions along the way.

    9yrs, 6 playoff appearances 4 Division titles including the last 3, and let’s not forget That little trophy that I guess you would call “The Lombardy Trophy”.

    If in fact you are an actual Packer fan, I’m betting you have been a fan for less than 20 years, the reason, if you would have been around for The 70′s and 80′s, you would know the real definition of “mediocrity”.

    The fact that you try to compare today’s GM to that of any GM of the 60′s, let alone Vince tells me you don’t have a clue what it takes to keep a team successful in these days of Free Agency.
    I haven’t always agreed with Ted Thompson’s moves, letting Evan Dietrich-Smith go this year is one that I question, but as always time will tell what the plan was and as the season progresses, I’m confident that that plan will keep the winning going in Green Bay.

    Little advice, be a fan, quit trying to be an NFL GM, there are only 32 of them in the world and Ted Thompson was and still is one of the best.

    • Archie

      Bottom-line: Your GM is your team. With only one post-season win since SB year, and that was against a team QB’d by Joe Webb, this team has seriously regressed under TT’s GMing. To deny that is akin to denying man-made climate change.

      Now TT passes on D Ware and instead signs the clearly washed up Julius Peppers?! Are you kidding me? And early word is he will play OLB?! Can you imagine him in coverage? Can he even rush the passer standing up?! OMG!

      • 1stngoal

        lol! I stopped reading at “man-made climate change” You lost all your credibility with that one.

        • Steve Cheez

          That goes far in explaining Archie

  • Anonymous

    Could not agree more Cory.

    The loyalty shown to Brad Jones, AJ Hawk, and Morgan Burnett paid huge dividends for our top-ranked D. No doubt TT re-signing his boys Raji and Neal will make offenses around the league fear our D yet again in 2014.

    My only regret is TT’s lack of loyalty to MD Jennings. I mean TT was the wizard who discovered him and had to take great pride in MD’s play as a starter the past 27 games. How could he possibly let him go?

    My only question is, who was the Cory J who wrote the article 10 days ago assuring us, when it was thought that they would sign elsewhere, that Shields and Rsji would not be missed?

    Actually, a second question is, does TT give you pats on the head when for your unwavering loyalty (Raji and Shields not that good if they go elsewhere, TT shrewd when they do re-sign) or are you auditioning for a job as the Packers’ chief propogandist?

    Because I think Vic K already has that job locked up if it is the latter.

  • Horse

    Nice job Cory.

    Think about being drafted as a Bronco, working your way up by working hard, then the heartbreak of the last two seasons.

    In just a few days the club makes players from outside the org the highest paid non-QBs on the team. Your contract runs out in 2014.

    That can’t sit well inside the locker room.

    • Wayne Crannell

      On the other hand, think of playing in a Super Bowl.

  • http://packerfan truepackerfna

    The honest truth, is we have always just been avergae under Ted, playing in a crappy division. The year we won the super bowl we crawled into the playoffs into the last place because the Bears choked. Like this year the Lions choked. The year we went 15-1 the defense fell apart at the end of the season, the year we won the super bowl the defense was falling apart at the end but stayed alive with turnovers. Mccarthy preaches accoutnablility all the time but does not hold his coaches accountable. We have had the same issues over and over since he has been here, poor special teams, huge amounts of sacks, except for last year poor running holes, a secondary that has always had communication issues. Where is the accountablility? The same people are still there hoping for different reuslts. I am sorry I do not want to be just above average in a poor division. The truth is if Thimpson was here instead of Wolf we would still be the Lions. Ted would never give up a first draft pick for a Blue Chip player and would never pay the top player money to come in and make a difference. The truth is all great teams have more than one BLUE CHIP player. Draft picks are great but you can only have so many people on your roster. We could have had Lynch the year we were in dire need of a running back for a fourth round pick and we did not get the type of player in the draft either. Look through Teds drafting years we have never gone out and drafted that top need on the top of the draft because they are always gone when we get there. Last year was a great example of Ted fail to me, Finley was hurt we were in the heat of division race and could have traded for Gonzolas for a fourth round pick, odds that fourth round pick this does not even make the team. As it turns out Rogers got hurt but would have given him that target he was use to. Like bringing in Keith Jackson for the super bowl run for Farve.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      This year that 4th round pick was David Bakhtiari.

      Without him your starting left tackle is Marshall Newhouse. Think about it.

      • JimR_in_DC

        Nooooooooo!

  • James

    DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen or Julius Peppers are at the end of their career. What’s nuts about Free Agent Fans, is that they think that overpaying over-the-hill players from other teams guarantees a Superbowl win. Case in point is Seattle vs Denver. Denver signed a lot of over 30 players. Seattle didn’t sign any that were over 30 years old. The Packers played against Avril when he was playing with Detroit. He wasn’t that big of a splash in FA when Seattle picked him up. Then again they have a disciple of Ted Thompson in John Schneider at the helm. Denver are up to their old antics again this year signing these old FA players that their own teams refused to resign to contracts. I know I have bias because I do not like Elway. But I predict the Broncos end up with the same results, minus a Superbowl appearance this season.

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      John Schneider is NOTHING like Thompson. How in the hell can you call him a disciple?? Schneider uses Free Agency, makes trades, uses EVERY tool available to him to improve his football team.

    • JimR_in_DC

      Wow. Your argument against free agents is that they are over the hill and extremely expensive. Hahaha. Right. Free agents Shields, Raji, EDS, Neal don’t fit that mold. Ohhhh, only our free agents aren’t too old and overpriced. Wait, is it possible other teams have reasonable (age, cost) free agents that we can consider? Hahaha! Seriously, I’m tired of reading all these straw an arguments against free agency. I expect TT to exploit all reasonable avenues to field the best team he can every season. Period.

      • JimR_in_DC

        Strawman, not straw an. Crazy autocorrect!

        • JimR_in_DC

          Wow…Peppers is now a Packer.

          • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

            LMAO!!! I know, who would have thougt. Just when you think he’ll never change he’s signs Peppers. Still would have loved EDS back though.

    • Morgan Mundane

      I can see signing a free agent in his prime but agree, Peppers would have been fine for half the price. No one, no one, not one athlete on earth can defeat father time. Peppers in his mind thinks he can be a 27 year old or something again and it ain’t happening. Da bears dumped him for a reason and it wasn’t all money.
      They should have taken Allen who is faster and two years younger if your going that route.
      My take is simple, Ted is no rocket scientist. 39 mil for Shields? Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase say no!

      • Steve Cheez

        Don’t forget, people thought Woodson was over the hill in ’06

  • Dhazer

    I don’t like his style one bit, sure he has won a Super Bowl but it wasn’t with the best team that year. The main question I keep bringing up is, Why in the world is he signing these defensive players to such big contracts when the stats show they don’t deserve it. Don’t get me wrong I thought the Shields thing was good but Neal (unproven) and Raji (to me a wasted high draft pick) is down right stupid. Teds ideas work to stay competitive for a division title but we are no where near the best team in the league. Look at the wasted money he has spent on defense the last few years. Brad Jones, AJ Hawk, Morgan Burnett and yes even Clay Matthews was wasted money. You tell me Matthews is worth 2 million a game like he got paid last year. He is injury prone and I am all for trying to trade him for a 1st rounder. But then again it would just free up tons more cap space that Ted will use to over spend on more over rated Packer players.

    When Ted learns to mix drafting and free agency (other teams players) together then we will be considered Super Bowl contenders again. But I have a feeling by that time comes Rodgers will be on his down fall and we will be stock back in the 2000′s again of barely making the playoffs and doing the one and done

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      The contracts for Neal and Raji were not that expensive for their positions.

      Its 2014. Stamps cost 49 cents, not 15.

  • Archie

    What are we w/o Rodgers? The answer to that question should tell you what kind of a GM we have i.e., an utter failure. After a decade at the helm there is no excuse for this team not to be solid in all phases of the game. Someone mentioned keeping their R3 pick to draft Alex Greene rather than giving it to Buffalo for Marshawn Lynch (A HOF RB in his prime!) shows just how clueless this clown is.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      What are the Patriots without Brady or the Broncos without Manning? What is any team that has an actual top 5 Qb without that player?

    • marpag

      And where is Rodgers without TT? Cleveland maybe…

      • JimR_in_DC

        And where is Angelina Jolie without me?

        Oh, wait….never mind.

        • http://yahoo joe-z

          Marshawn lynch a hof running back? really? he has barely a 3.4 yd per carry average.he had one good run in the playoffs against the saints and he is a hof running back, ha

  • Cuda B

    Wow, alot of you really look stupid now after today’s signing.

    And to the jaghoff who said Clay is a waste of money, you really should put your helmet back on. You apparently beat your head against the wall a bit too much today. Idiot.

  • jOE

    I love all of the armchair GMs. TT signed four free agents and one guy that was almost a FA. I don’t think he is done yet, old whitey is a great GM and we are lucky to have him.

  • Morgan Mundane

    Ted brought back some guys who are marginal players. No one but no one showed any interest in the four guys he brought back so quit trying to make it sound loyalty. He tried to low ball all four of them in the first place. Then he gives the world to a mediocre corner who has yet to prove himself.
    Then he goes and spends a gazillion on a 34 year old defensive end and could have had a Jared Allen for less money and Allen is only 32 next month.
    Lets be totally honest and just look at the facts. Datone J had 12 total tackles and one sack last year by game 12. Perry has been in and out of the lineup and when he plays, he shows inability to pass rush and or stop the run. Teams ran right at and over him all of last year. They knew who our weakest link was from game film. Worthy has done nothing when healthy. Pre draft analyst said he often went missing in games. He’s been missing for two seasons now and was a number 2 pick. We wouldn’t have spent the bucks on Peppers had Datone showed up.
    So genius Ted picked two one’s and a two who are the Three Bustkateers.

  • Morgan Mundane

    Ted brought back some guys who are marginal players. No one but no one showed any interest in the four guys he brought back so quit trying to make it sound loyalty. He tried to low ball all four of them in the first place. Then he gives the world to a mediocre corner who has yet to prove himself.
    Then he goes and spends a gazillion on a 34 year old defensive end and could have had a Jared Allen for less money and Allen is only 32 next month.
    Lets be totally honest and just look at the facts. Datone J had 12 total tackles and one sack last year by game 12. Perry has been in and out of the lineup and when he plays, he shows inability to pass rush and or stop the run. Teams ran right at and over him all of last year. They knew who our weakest link was from game film. Worthy has done nothing when healthy. Pre draft analyst said he often went missing in games. He’s been missing for two seasons now and was a number 2 pick. We wouldn’t have spent the bucks on Peppers had Datone showed up.
    So genius Ted picked two one’s and a two who are the Three Bustkateers.

  • Cuda B

    A “gazillion”? From all reports, if it doesn’t work out, it won’t be a cap hindrance next year. And I’m glad you know how much Allen wants. Apparently he is going to retire if he doesn’t get what he wants, which judging by the lack of a race to sign him actually might approach your gazillion, however you define it. Also, every analysis I read rates Peppers above Allen.

  • https://www.facebook.com/joberi Best Fiverr Alternative

    Good day, solid write up, really thanks for your insight