Packers Fans Should Blame Injuries, Not Ted Thompson All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Clay Matthews towel
How easy is it for Ted Thompson to replace talent at this level?

I feel like I’m listening to a broken record. Except when this record plays, it’s only after the Green Bay Packers lose a game. For some strange reason, I never hear this record after wins. So it’s been a while that this song has played. The Packers won four straight games before losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Throw a bye week in there, and it’s been rather blissful for a good solid month.

But now the axe-grinding fans are crawling back out of the woodwork to lambast Ted Thompson for putting together a weak roster.

The last time I addressed this crowd was after the Cincinnati Bengals game, when the Packers blew a gigantic lead to end up losing. While fingers were being pointed in all sorts of directions, there seemed to be few fans dealing sensibly with the problems of the team.

One theme that has persisted between then and now, however, is the injury bug. The Packers have it bad, and it’s starting to cost the team. Yet for some reason, we don’t give this fact its due consideration. Should teams be able to find success beyond their key starters? Absolutely. General managers need to put together a roster that can handle the adversity of a football season. But injuries to enough key players can be crippling.

Take a look at the following names for a moment:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Derek Sherrod
  3. Bryan Bulaga
  4. B.J. Raji
  5. Clay Matthews
  6. A.J. Hawk
  7. Aaron Rodgers

Figure out the common thread yet? Yes, those are all of the Packers’ first round draft picks that are currently on the team’s payroll (listed in reverse chronological order). Now I want you to look back at that list and count the number of players who played a majority of the Packers-Bears game. What do you get?

Yup, two. Out of seven.

That means five first round draft picks were absent from the game on Monday. What do you expect Ted Thompson to do in a situation like this? There aren’t any players wandering around on the streets who can make up for that level of talent. And when one of those players is the highest paid quarterback in the league right now – and arguably one of the best three quarterbacks in the league – then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Did the Green Bay Packers mess up their quarterback situation this year? Sure. That’s an easy answer. But even though hindsight proved them wrong, Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff expected Graham Harrel and/or B.J. Coleman to rise up to their scouted potential. At least one of them should have stuck.

But they didn’t, and Thompson was forced to look elsewhere for a back-up quarterback.

No quarterback would have known this offensive system well enough at that point to have made a significant difference. Even “system quarterback” Matt Flynn struggled in his emergency role during the 2010 game against the Detroit Lions when Rodgers left with a concussion.

Then there’s the issue of the outside linebackers. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are not easily replaced. Just like Rodgers, Matthews is the highest paid player at his position right now. There’s a reason for that. While issues abounded in the secondary on Monday night, the front seven had to figure out how to get pressure without two primary players.

Against a division opponent. Against a quarterback who was making last-second throws in the face of oncoming blitzers. With a porous secondary behind them.

Look, it was downright painful to watch the Packers lose to the Bears like that this week. I hated that Aaron Rodgers suffered a critical injury. And while I didn’t like the loss, I hated even more that it was to the Chicago Bears. It sucked.

But what does a general manager do when five of his seven first round draft picks are on the sidelines? Throw in the fact that two of Thompson’s last three second round picks (Randall Cobb, Jerel Worthy) were also out, and it’s probably more frustrating to him than it is to any of you. Can you plan for that many key players to be gone? Is there even enough salary cap room to do so?

How many other teams would still be relevant after this level of player injury? Imagine the Bears without not just Cutler, but also Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Julius Peppers, and Shea McClellin. And then consider the fact that the Packers are STILL favored to win against the Philadelphia Eagles this week.

I don’t know about you, but to me that’s a sign of success for Ted Thompson, not a sign of failure.


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


78 thoughts on “Packers Fans Should Blame Injuries, Not Ted Thompson

  1. I still can’t believe this defense saved its worst play for the Bears, on MNF, after losing AR. That is mind boggling. But, that is what comes of no pass rush, no INTs, no fumble recoveries and midget CBs (both undraft6ed FA types) that were flat-footed while the giant WR they were covering was high-pointing the catch. Were I the GM of this team, I would target tall CBs in the draft. Obviously they must be talented too. To have a real defense you must be able to do 3 things:

    1-stop the run (all of a sudden we couldn’t do that when our defense had to be on the field 30+ mins). Our DL don’t look well conditioned. And our tackling remains poor. Deadly combination.

    2- rush the passer (we probably have the worse pass rush in the league)

    3- don’t get beat deep (our midget CBs vs their giant WRs was a nightmare match-up)

    All that said, how could our defense save its worst performance for MNF, vs our most dreaded rival (BEars) and knowing that with AR down, it was up to them and the running game to win the game? I will never trust this defense against any decent offense. Looking at our schedule, that means Philly, DET and CHI. This season is over and not because AR is injured or that Wallace sucks. It is over because our defense is seriously flawed. CMIII can only do so much and even he will be handicapped by a club for awhile. Oh well, there’s always next year. Let’s see, our draft list is getting longer: WR; TE; a mid-round quality back-up QB; a 3-4 DE who can stop the run AND pass rush (watching TT draft you might not believe such types exist but they do, look at other NFL teams); S and CB. As far as keeping FAs is concerned I don’t give a damn about Raji, Finley, Shields, TW, Hawk, Newhouse, Pickett etc. You should not pay big $$$ for space eaters. They are a dime a dozen. You pay big bucks to pass rushers and even bigger $$$ to guys who can do both.

    Neal and Jones may be the only FAs worth keeping.

    Winning GM Formula: Free up some money by letting the duds listed above go, use that money to target a FA or two at the above named positions of need, and draft wisely to fill the remaining need positions. What’s that you say, that’s not the TT way? Too god damn bad! That’s the ONLY way to the SB from here. Were TT to do these things we will look back on this injury to AR as a god send. It uncovered the flaws in the architecture of this team. With the offense we have and with CMIII, we are close to a SB. Make the changes we need and we will get there. Also, get Worthy on the field for chrissakes. At least he is a 3-4 DE with a prayer to pressure the QB. In fact, it may be time to install both Datone Jones and Jerel Worthy as starters at DE in our base defense. These guys should be two-way players. We need more pass rush out of our base defense. Any NFL quality QB can pass all day against w/o any pressure. We can’t afford to play the 3 HIPPO base defense anymore.

    OK, I feel better. Thanks for bearing with me.

  2. Blaming Ted would be moron-tier. Like the Ryan Leaf of analysis.

    But I’m completely happy with pointing fingers at the Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition coaches.

    Many were freak accidents but when you’re near or leading the league in injuries 4 years running… where they’re smoke there’s some asshole smoking a cigar.

  3. Glad you said this. TT cannot be blamed for injuries. What he can be blamed for though is stacking the roster with unknown sleepers. Over the past four years, a lot of young guys have stepped up and kept us competitive.

  4. Maybe we need to look at conditioning. Are the conditioning coaches going little to far with the strength trainging. You need muscle to be strong, however when you build muscle you get tight, don’t care how much you stretch things are going to pull or break if your to muscle bound. Go back and look at the old players. They lasted because they weren’t muscle bound.

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