1) Introduction: Like the team he put together, Ted Thompson didn’t get off to that great of a start this season. Top draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix couldn’t even crack the starting lineup out of training camp. Mid-round picks Corey Bradford and Khyri Thornton looked like busts from the get-go. Late-round pick Jared Abbrederis blew out his knee. Corey Linsley looked like a short-armed powerhouse who didn’t have the mobility to play center in the NFL.
Thompson finally dipped into free agency, but even those moves looked iffy at first. Julius Peppers was old and Letroy Guion was hurt all of training camp.
By the end of the season, however, the Packers front office once again looked like geniuses. The majority of Thompson’s moves worked out, and the Packers should remain in contention for the foreseeable future.
- Age: 62
- Born: 1/17/1953 in Atlanta, Texas
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 220
- College: Southern Methodist
- Rookie Year: 1975
- NFL Experience: 10 years as a player, 23 years as a scout and front office executive
3) Expectations coming into the season: Get the Packers over the hump. The Packers have been good for most of Thompson’s tenure, culminating with a Super Bowl win in 2010. Since then, however, the Packers haven’t been able to get over the postseason hump and get back to the big game. Injuries, combined with a glaring roster weakness here or there, have sent the Packers home early. With a new draft class in tow and a couple of outside free agents on the roster, this was the year the Packers were supposed to get back to the Super Bowl.
4) Season highlights/low-lights: Seeing this rookie class develop is one obvious highlight. Clinton-Dix, Linsley, Richard Rodgers and Davante Adams improved during the season and appear to have high ceilings. After a dismal start, free agent Letroy Guion came around. So did Julius Peppers — in a big way.
The Packers are also sitting well with the salary cap. With a few minor roster adjustments, they should have the cap space to bring back both Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga, and maybe even add a second- or third-tier free agent, if necessary.
A lowlight that didn’t get covered much was the Packers lack of punch in the kick return department. Dujuan Harris was ineffective. And, of course, the Packers were again weak at inside linebacker with A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. Unfortunately, that’s become a yearly tradition.
5) Contribution to the overall team success: Thompson is the reason Aaron Rodgers quarterbacks the Packers. He’s also the reason the Packers are never in salary cap hell while still fielding a Super Bowl contender every season. Yes, Thompson takes a lot of grief from fans for not signing free agents and playing things a little too conservatively. Sometimes, he deserves some of that grief. Sometimes.
Overall, Thompson is one of the best general managers in football and 2014 was one of his best teams.
6) Contributions in the playoffs: Thompson might be the one person in the Packers organization who doesn’t deserve any blame for what happened in Seattle. I’ll go to my grave saying the Packers were the best team in the NFL in 2014.
Season Report Card (Coaches Grades):
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(A) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: A——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .