Ted Thompson’s Pre-Draft Press Conference Highlights

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Ted Thompson
Ted Thompson gave his annual pre-draft press conference today

Today, general manager Ted Thompson gave his annual pre-draft presser and as I have before, I chose a few highlights with some of my own commentary.  For a complete recap of Thompson’s comments today, you can visit the Packers team website.

Many thanks to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette who always comes through on Twitter with a nice, clean recap of the press conferences held by the Green Bay Packers.

On the draft being two weeks later than usual:  “Draft is 2 weeks later so a lot of our stuff started 2 weeks later. Had a little extra time…last 3, 4, 5 days just sitting around with not much to do.  All analysis is done.”

Did Ted just share some actual insight?!  This one is interesting to hear from a guy who has been described as the hardest-working draft man in the NFL.  Perhaps a smoke screen so other teams are unprepared for Thompson to absolutely pick pocket this draft?  We’ll see.

On Julius Peppers:  “People who say we don’t use free agency are wrong.  Almost every offseason we try to do something.  Peppers signing happened fast, very quietly, thing put to bed and done, everybody back home before anybody knew about it. Refreshing. 34 is not so old. There’s no evidence of any decline in his play, in our opinion. He still has same athletic traits coming out.”

So he does read our web site and comments!  Many have long said that Thompson has an aversion to free agency.  Overall, he’s not a big player so that opinion has at least one leg.  The Peppers signing, whether you like it or not, was a big move by the Packers and a statement that they want to do something different to get better on defense.  Obviously until Peppers is on the field, we won’t know what he can bring to the team and some may think last season was enough evidence that he’s is on the decline.  That said, it wouldn’t be the first time a defensive player in his mid-thirties had a resurgence in his play and the Packers are hoping for just that.

On draft strategy:  “We feel like draft is a long term investment, we don’t get too carried away what our perceived needs are at the moment.  We try to stick to best player available.”  “When you’re picking in 20s you kind of let it come to you.”

Ted is just sharing secrets left and right, isn’t he?   Most every GM will tell you they look for the best player available at that spot.  What else are they going to say?  ‘We need a safety pretty darn bad so we’re hoping that this or that guy is still there and we have our fingers crossed!’  The most forthcoming GM wouldn’t share that so we all expected this answer from Ted.  Still and at least in the first round, the Packers should take the best player on their board and hope that it syncs up with one of their bigger needs.

On injury histories with draft prospects:  “We’ve had some bad luck on injuries. We haven’t stretched what our beliefs are in terms of bottom line on medical side for draft picks.”

Bad luck is one way to put it.  Sometimes I wonder if there is a voodoo doctor on some remote island with a doll that has TT stamped on it.  The Packers have enough of a challenge keeping guys healthy who didn’t have an injury history in college.  After the Justin Harrell debacle and enduring through Mike Neal and James Starks, the Packers definitely need to do every bit of due diligence when it comes to a player’s ability to suit up on game day.  Enough said.

On four starting centers in four years:  “That’s the way it works out sometimes.”

Correction:  that’s the way it works out when you approach the position the way he has over the last few seasons.  I have shared my thoughts on the center position before and it led to quite the discussion here.  While they don’t need to draft or find a true center, I would personally like to see more of a position-specific plan of attack when it comes to who their long-term solution is.  I don’t care how many college guards or tackles are now NFL centers.  The better question is what did scouts see in those players that the Packers may be missing?  Aaron Rodgers would love it if just one offseason his starting center doesn’t need to wear a name tag the first few days of camp.

On the safety position:  “You need good safety play to be a good defense, but you did 10 years ago, 20 years ago also. It’s good to have that.” “Look for athletic traits, good character in safety. Last year we had too many bumps and bruises.”

There’s the Ted we all know and love!  While he’s never admitted as much out loud, Thompson knows the team’s plan at safety didn’t pan out last year.  They were hoping that Jerron McMillian would take a giant leap forward and justify his fourth round selection in 2012 and that didn’t happen.  As a result, they ran with M.D. Jennings aside Morgan Burnett, who had a disappointing season of his own.  The result was one of the worst statistical seasons by the safety position in Packers history.  No doubt, the Packers will draft at least one safety and likely before day three.  Ted knows he needs a starting caliber guy and that he can’t afford to ignore the depth at safety in this draft for too long.

On evaluating their work immediately after the draft:  “During draft weekend itself, at end of it, if we’ve been able to sign some good college free agents, you can rest at night, done OK.”

I know some of you are thinking that Ted cares more about the undrafted free agents than the draft picks himself with this statement.  What I take away from it is that he sees the draft process as incomplete until the last of the college free agents is signed and he has his stable of players ready when organized team activities start.  It also shows that the Packers front office does question themselves and if they did everything the best way possible.  It’s impossible to get it right every time, but at least we know that they are asking themselves the question.

On Ron Wolf and his own philosophy as a leader:  “Wolf was marvelous at projecting leadership. You have to understand GM chair. I am leader. Have to project confidence, understanding.”

Ted makes the final decision on all draft picks and he has said so a number of times before.  There surely are likely to be disagreements at times over who is chosen, but Thompson has to assert himself as the man responsible for who is brought in and while he’s far from perfect, at least he understands that.  Some say Thompson has a massive ego and doesn’t care if he misses on a draft pick because he has Rodgers to cover up all of his blemishes.  While I don’t know Ted personally, I find that foolish.  Anyone who takes pride in their job surely has to feel the regret and disappointment when a decision doesn’t work out how they wanted it to.


Seven more days. . .




Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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24 thoughts on “Ted Thompson’s Pre-Draft Press Conference Highlights

  1. Jason – thanks for providing these comments from TT and your insights about them. I realize that I will receive negative feedback from some of my fellow bloggers but this is a good time to state that the Packers are fortunate to have TT and to have had TT as our GM since 2005. He has fielded a team with an over .600 winning pct since he has been GM. His team has the best QB in the league and one of the best if not the best offensive team in the league. He has won a Super Bowl, 5 consecutive years in the playoffs, 6 out of last 7 in the playoffs and 3 consecutive division titles. Regardless of what his detractors and critics may think and say, this is an exceptional record. As for his ego, I consider it confidence and belief in his system. Additionally, anyone who is as successful as TT needs to have an ego of some level. You must have conviction in what you believe in to be successful, an ego helps to drive that conviction. For those who think that TT is not successful, in addition to his record consider this, he is one of 32 people in the world to have his job. He is not only an NFL GM, he is GM of the Green Bay Packers. This is the most prestigious franchise in the NFL and in all of American sports second only to the NY Yankees in baseball. Bear, Patriot, Cowboy and Giant fans would argue but they would be wrong. Even the Boston Celtics of the NBA or the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL do not have the brand recognition and history of the Packers. Not only is TT the current GM he has held the job for 10 years. It has become difficult to hold any job in any industry for 10 years in this economy. His tenure has brought consistency, Direction and most importantly winning football to the Packers and their fans. Yes, his defensive draft choices have not all worked out, but injuries, rule changes (all favoring the offense) and a conscious decision by the league to prevent dynasties have worked against him. I wish TT the best in this season’s draft and I am confident that the Packers will draft well as usual. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. “and a conscious decision by the league to prevent dynasties have worked against him.”

      Very true, and the TT haters please address two issues when you lob your TT degrades: 1) reality of picking at bottom end of draft order for 5-6 years (draft bias challenge), 2) salary cap (free agency challenge).

      How should a GM be judged? At least compare to another team consistently in comparable situation; the GM that 1) manages cap, 2) picks consistent impact players in top rounds, 3)picks ‘gems’ and solid depth players in late rounds and UDFA, 4) has fewest unaddressed weaknesses beyond one year, 5) has high number of Pro-bowl caliber, 6) has a balance between fielding a ‘thin’ team (without much depth), and a ‘deep’ team with capable backups. 7)manages for teambuilding concept and consistency in the various units,

      I think he does well on 1), 3), 6).
      He hasn’t done well on 2), 4)
      He has done ok on 5), except now it is down to ARog or so. 7) I worry about unit consistency such as the volatility on the OL.

      You can’t compare TT indicators with a team like Houston or Detroit or even SF and Seattle, who have had recent years of high picks, and low salary cap players (and that’s changing for them too-so see how well they do in coming years). Just compare apples to apples, and be fair and a little more objective.

  2. Totally agree with the posted appreciation of our GM and what his group has done for the Packers.

    As for the press conference, I wasted 25 minutes watching the annual non-event. Why bother? Ted really doesn’t say anything and the press really doesn’t ask anything. This whole draft extension, mock draft, year round NFL hype is distasteful. I like my Packers playing football, the rest is becoming tiresome reality TV. It is unfortunate.

  3. TT is average at best. You can get drunk on the jolly numbers and achievements and close your eyes to the real issue. Fact of the matter is, Arod should have 2 rings if not three right now. TT is lucky to always have had a HOF quarterback running his team. A couple different moves on his part and we could have been to 2 more superbowls. He is a stubborn jackazz. He doesn’t address the obvious and pays dearly because of that. As long as we have a winning record and some division titles, the TT malt liquor drinkers are just fine. I say why not throw a couple of superbowl wins in there. But if average is what you want, TT is your guy. Last night NFL network graded TT with a C for his drafting record. (lowest in the NFC north) But they don’t know what they are talking about, right? All TT malt liquor drinkers please hit dislike…

    1. OK so the NFL network has graded TT worst in the NFC North. That’s fine. Name me one team in the NFL North or the entire NFC that, with maybe the exception of Seattle, who will blow up their cap in 2 seasons, that would not trade their record with TT’s record over the last 5 seasons. Yeah, the NFL Network knows what they are talking about, right. Keep listening to the TV airheads at the NFL network and ESPN, you may actually hear something accurate once in 10 years. If you think TT is average name which GM Bowl wouldn’t trade their record for TT’s Super Bowl win. You won’t name anyone because you can’t. Case closed. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. 61, I understand your love for TT and that is fine. You are so blinded by your love for him that you didn’t even comprehend what I was saying. TT should have 2 if not three rings. He doesn’t have the foresight to think ahead and is so stubborn he can’t correct a problem on the fly. There is nothing wrong with you loving him, just note that not everyone has your same opinion. FYI, TT is not the only GM to ever win a superbowl. Some of them have even won multiple superbowls.

        1. Big T – thank you for your feedback. You are entitled to your opinion and I understand exactly what you are saying. I too am disappointed by the fact that the Packers have not won more Super Bowls. But when I evaluate TT or anyone on their job performance the overriding factor is their results. In TT’s case, the results are his team’s won-lost record, which is as good or better than anyone else in the league since he took over as GM of the Packers. Without being perjorative, the assumption or assertion that if TT had done a better job would have meant 1 or 2 more Super Bowls for the Packers is purely speculation. There is no guarantee that even if the Packers fielded a team of All-Pros at every position that they would have won another one or more Super Bowls. Even the best players get hurt, make mistakes and leave via free agency. Between 1979 and 1995 the NY Yankees spent more money and fielded more all-stars at their respective positions than any team in the history of professional sports. During that 17 year period the Yankees lost the one World series they made it into and lost in the first round of the playoffs in another season. In other words, in spite of consistently fielding a team of baseball’s best players the Yankees won nothing. My point is that even if TT acquired the best players via the draft or free agency or both there is no guarantee of another or any Super Bowls. However, if we compare TT’s record, plus the injuries his team has dealt with, plus handling the cap and dealing with free agency and having his staff poached by other teams he has done as good a job if not better than other GM’s in the league. Yes, this is my opinion but as you see I have some reasons for this not blinded but fact based. I am far beyond for more years then I wish to remember with being enamored with TT, or a coach or players in any sport. I just base my opinion on the results. Big T, you are entitled to you your opinion but none of us are entitled to our own facts. I look forward to reading your future posts. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    2. I haven’t looked at the NFL Network website but I can’t imagine who is ranked higher than Thompson in our division. . . . The Bears have done a better job of trading and signing free agents but their drafts haven’t been great. The Lions? A handful of guys picked in the top 5 and Larry Warford. And the Vikings? They certainly haven’t drafted better. Again, their trade for Allen helped and they’ve used free agency more, but I don’t think they’ve drafted better than the Packers.

  4. Ted does a great job managing the cap, but without Rodgers, this team looked bad, then average against not so good teams with Flynn. The D has one game changer on it, and he’s hurt lately. Ted also had a team ready to repeat, but didn’t keep or add a player or two to accomplish that. I’m not saying Ted’s a bad GM, I’m just saying he has plenty of flaws

  5. And by the way, if i didn’t know who or what Ted Thompson was , and i watched that interview, I would not guess that he was a GM of a NFL team. He actually seams like he has a handicap. I hate watching Ted Thompson interviews

  6. When Ted does get a high Draft pick, he fails to get a impact player…Hawk, Raji, Harrel…

  7. I’m a big TT supporter, but he did make one crucial mistake as GM. After the Super Bowl win, he decided to draft all offense early, when he should have reloaded the defense. The next season Woodson got old, Collins and Tramon were injured, Raji got lazy, C. Jenkins left. None of the guys that filled in were play makers.

    The 2012 draft is hard to judge because of injuries but Hayward and Daniels are playmakers. This will be a big year for Perry and Worthy.

    The 2013 draft was fantastic. Don’t think anyone can complain about it.

    The most impressive thing TT’s done is keep the Packers as contenders while having to weather through a freakish amount of injuries, all will picking at the end of the draft each year. Very few GM’s could do that, and the NFL is set up to make sure they can’t.

    With one more great draft and some luck with injuries, there’s no reason the Packers still can’t become the dynasty that everyone thought they would after their Super Bowl win.

  8. The TT ass kissers on this site are hilarious. Must be members of the Obama herd too. Big T save your breath. These are Jim Jones disciples that are blind as bats. He is a horrible GM with the personality of a doorknob. Comes out of the closet and spews the same meaningless bs year in and year out. They win for one reason and one reason only….Rodgers. He blows!

    1. …..and who picked Aaron Rodgers instead of 1) picking someone else 2) trading down and losing him or 3) trading up to get an another non-QB player?

      Who let our prima donna Brett Favre go, after all the stunts he pulled. Look I like Brett but Brett had his own direction to go and TT let him. Everyone moaned and groaned and we won a Super Bowl with Rodgers.

      Yeah, the guy is quiet but he is not the coach. That is McCarthy.

      Some picks didn’t pan out. Yup but what team is perfect. The draft is a crap shoot. Always was and always will be.

      The Packers run a professional corporation because they are stockholder owned. Want to take a guess as to the two best soccer teams in the world the last 50 years: Real Madrid in Spain and Bayern Munchen in Germany – both stockholder owned and run just like Packers.

      Think about that long and hard.

  9. I’m not saying that this team isn’t fixable. TT needs to nail it next week in the Draft , and hopefully land immediate starters at ILB and saftey, and we need to stay healthy for once.

  10. You are right about one thing…this team needs fixing. Was broken all off season and your dimwitted GM did zilch

  11. Oh no, you hate Ted our favorite mental patient? Dislike! Hilarious!

  12. TT would look much better if it were not for record injuries during his tenure. I almost don’t care who they pick in first round anymore because he’s going to IR. It’s sad but true. At least stay away from CJ Mosley. He’s all banged up.

  13. Eys que bueno, la verdad que yo tengo mucho tiempo viendo partidos de la NBA y conozco algunos sistemas, es bueno ver como hay otros métodos por internet para poder ver pelis y la NBA, gracias por compartir. Un beso.

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