As a follow up to Part 1 of this series, Part 2 is a compilation of Ted Thompson’s worst moves as General Manager of the Green Bay Packers. Finding 10 things that Ted Thompson has done wrong in his career was a much more painstaking process than finding what he has done right. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Allen Barbre – Ted Thompson went into the 2009 season with Allen Barbre as his starting right tackle. During his starting stint Barbre may have been the worst right tackle in the history of the franchise. He allowed Jared Allen to sack Aaron Rodgers 7.5 times in two games, which was a huge factor in two of the Packers most painful losses of the last decade. Need more proof Barbre was awful? He allowed 5 sacks by Antwan Odom, who has only 23.5 sacks in his 7 year career.
2. Drafting Justin Harrell – Rarely has Ted Thompson completely whiffed in the first round of the draft, but he reached and whiffed badly with Harrell in 2007. Harrell tore his bicep tendon during his senior season at Tennessee and then showed up to his first training camp slightly out of shape. Following the bicep injury, Harrell injured his back and knee. Over four seasons as a packer Harrell participated in 14 games and made an impact in exactly none.
3. Signing Marquand Manuel – The first free agent to be signed by Ted Thompson was Safety Marquand Manuel. Ted Thompson signed his former Seattle player to a 5-year $10 million contract. The only issue with the signing was Manuel had the agility of an overweight and slightly ill hamster, and the speed of a run away sloth carrying a brick. He was cut one year into his 5-year contract.
4. Drafting Brian Brohm – The heralded Louisville quarterback was thought to be a possible first round talent by many draftniks as he entered his senior season. But a pedestrian year and an apparent lack of need at the QB position caused Brohm to fall through the cracks to the Packers with the 56th overall pick. Some people saw it as a waste considering the Packers’ numerous holes in their roster, others saw it as a good value (considering the Packers did not have a backup quarterback). After Brohm’s first preseason game Danny Wuerffel was seen laughing and hilariously imitating Brohm crow hopping to throw a ten yard out.
5. Not Re-signing Mike Wahle – When Ted Thompson became the GM he inherited an aging roster with salary cap issues. He allowed numerous big name players to leave the team via free agency including Wahle, Marco Rivera and Darren Sharper. But Thompson should have re-signed Mike Wahle who was only 27 years old and had started 64 consecutive games for the Packers. Wahle made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and it took Thompson 4 years to find a player of Wahle’s caliber at guard.
6. Releasing Anthony Smith – Anthony Smith was signed as a potential starting candidate at safety opposite Nick Collins. Smith appeared to have a spectacular preseason with multiple interceptions and impact plays. But apparently Thompson was not impressed and upset numerous fans when he cut Smith in favor of Aaron Rouse. But Rouse himself was cut two weeks into the season, leaving the Packers woefully thin at safety. Thompson basically admitted his mistake and put in a waiver claim for Smith, who was awarded to Jacksonville. To make matters worse, seven weeks later Thompson traded for the player he should have never cut in the first place.
7. Cutting Vonta Leach – This is a two-for-one special. Keeping three fullbacks on your roster in and of itself could be enough to land on this list, but considering that Thompson cut arguably the best pure fullback currently in the game, making his penchant for keeping an inordinate number of fullbacks even more egregious. If you say that Leach is not a good fit for the Packers’ system, then neither is draft pick Quinn “ManBearPig” Johnson who continues to take up a roster spot.
8. Ryan Longwell – Ted Thompson allowed Ryan Longwell to walk in free agency and sign with the most hated of all Packer rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. Longwell has a career field goal percentage of 83.5%, including over 92% the last two seasons with the Vikings. Contrast that with the Crosby(78.6%) and Dave Rayner(74.2%) and you can quickly see why this was a mistake. The Packers resigned Crosby (who is now one of the highest paid kickers in the league), but will he ever be as good as Longwell?
9. Offensive Line – Thompson has overhauled nearly every unit on the Packers with great success, except the offensive line. Thompson has drafted 13 offensive linemen and only one of them, Josh Sitton, has developed into an above-average player. The jury is still out on numerous players including first round picks Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod. But if you want to find a weak point in Thompson’s draft track record, look no further than the offensive line.
10. Not Trading for Randy Moss – I have gone on record in the past as saying that I am glad Thompson did not acquire Moss. But you still have to look back and think, “What if?” As a friend of mine said when the Packers were rumored to be interested in Moss, “Moss is like the really hot girl that you date and all of your friends hate. You cannot stand to talk to her, she is high maintenance and has a really annoying laugh, but damn, look at that rack.” It would have been nice to see what the Brett Favre to Randy Moss combination would have looked like at that time.
Dan “FireMM” Blakley is a frequent commenter on AllGreenBayPackers.com. He has a knack for leaving intelligent comments with a decent dose of humor and self-deprecation. We enjoy his contributions.