OK, let's dive right in. From what I can tell, Thompson to some degree was a product of when he came into the NFL. He started as a scout in 1992, the year before free agency began. So he was there to see a lot of teams blow a lot of money in free agency in the '90s and early 2000s. I'm sure that made a stark impression on him, that was his introduction to working in a front office. I'm sure his temperament/personality played a role too. He's not a big risk taker by nature. I'm sure there's a stubborn streak in there too.
Yeah, I'm not really sure it matters what you call him because his value is his ability to play both spots and defenses not knowing where he's going to line up when he's in the huddle. The more you saw him at running back, the more clear it is he's not a real running back. Basically, if you want to categorize him at a position, I'd agree with you, WR is it. But it's his flexibility that gives him value. He could play a lot at slot receiver, depending on Cobb's return. But his greater value probably is a special-package guy.
At midseason I'd have leaned keeping Nelson and parting with Cobb if it came down to one or the other. Now I lean the other way. Nelson has clearly slowed down a lot, though he does have that tremendous chemistry with Rodgers. I still think Clark is intriguing but he needs a lot lot lot of refining. They definitely need to draft for explosiveness at receiver.
I thought they were necessary. Things had gotten stagnant, and now we're finding out a little more after the fact that Thompson's energy and engagement in keeping everyone in the football side of the organization connected was waning and had become a real problem. So that was probably a year or two late. I'd still say the defensive issues were more personnel than anything but McCarthy was justified in trying something new. I still question the front-office restructure. I can see why Murphy did it and it makes sense in theory, I just don't think it's a long-term solution. Maybe he doesn't mean it to be. We'll have to see what he does a couple years down the road on that.
I can see why you'd think that. I guess there's no understating how bad things had been here for basically 25 years before Wolf took over, and that he really might have saved the franchise. Holmgren, who was an outstanding coach, came here in part because of Wolf's credibility. He traded for Favre, which the executive committee at the time tried to fight. He went hard after Reggie White when the rest of the league considered it a pipe dream that White would come to Green Bay. Winning that SB made the stock sale successful and the team's success helped get the Lambeau referendum passed. He was only here nine years, and the first four were building the team up. Who knows what he might have done if he'd worked a few more years or if Holmgren hadn't left. He laid the foundation for all this. I'd think most people don't consider Thompson a bum. He drafted Rodgers -- when has a GM after drafted a Hall of Fame QB when he already had a Hall of Fame QB on the team? I don't think ever. His first five drafts were outstanding. History will be pretty good to Thompson. He just failed to adapt as some others in the league figured out how to use free agency.
I haven't looked it up but I think they have a decent amount of room, like a projected $20 million or a little more. They're going to do a new deal with Rodgers, but depending on how they want to structure it they could create more cap room this year (or use a lot this year and make more room for future years). So they have some flexibility. But you don't want to overpay guys if you don't have to, and every little bit of cap room can be valuable, either for use this year or, if you don't use it, it rolls over to the next year.
Sometimes they do. But they also have to have strong convictions to survive in the business and get their voice heard and to have influence with their teams/bosses, and to make important moves if they are the boss. But I think they do realize they're wrong a lot and just accept it as part of the business. Wolf always likened drafting to hitting in baseball. If you hit .300 you're an All-Star.
I could be wrong on this and don't want to slow the chat by looking it up, but if I remember right you have to miss the playoffs two years in a row to be among the teams that the league can force to do Hard Knocks. I remember seeing a list of the teams who the league could mandate doing it next season, there were maybe six or seven, and the Packers were not among them.
A lot of that scouting has been done, but Gutekunst was in the thick of it, so I wouldn't think it would have much impact. Losing and Wolf and Highsmith will matter, they are knowledgeable scouts, but Murphy picked Gutekunst in part because of his expertise in the draft.
Gutekunst sent out a lot of signals that that's going to be the case. He talked about increasing competition, wanting players to be uncomfortable, turning over every stone in player acquisition, being in on the discussion on a lot of free agents. So it sure sounds like they're going to do a lot more. But the proof will come in March when free agency kicks in.
Haven't heard anything. I recall talking with an agent about that at the time, and if I remember correctly he said something like that might not be resolved until the spring.
I haven't looked hard at the list yet, and the list will shorten in the next six or seven weeks as teams re-sign some of the guys and tag others. The name I saw that jumped out was Ziggy Ansah, but I have trouble believing Detroit will let him leave. At minimum I'd think he'd get franchised.
Both of those teams are winning with defense, so it will take a big jump in defensive talent. I still think the Eagles are running on fumes, though they played a good game last week. They do have a good D-line, which covers up a lot of potential weaknesses. And let's face it, it took a miracle for the Vikings to win that game. I mean, hats off to them, they did it, but that was a freakish thing. The Saints had that game won.
I'd say Kevin King. Not that he's an outstanding player yet, but when he went down for the season, that was a big blow, because it meant Burnett had to play as the No. 3 CB. With King, Randall and House, the Packers were OK. Take one of them out and the defense suffered. That's one thing that might have torpedoed the Packers for a run to the SB even if Rodgers hadn't gotten hurt.
I'd put pass rusher first, cornerback second, receiver/tight end third, maybe right tackle after that.
There's a lot to find out on that front. McCarthy hasn't finished hiring his coaching staff, and Darren Perry still appears to be in flux -- he interviewed for a position with Houston, but McCarthy wants him to stay. The Packers will make all those new hires, including Pettine, available to the media when the hires are finished, I'd guess sometime next week. And you've hit on one of the many questions that we'll be asking Pettine. There's much to find out about his philosophy and use of personnel and the like. So stay tuned, we'll be digging into all that in the coming weeks and months.
I had the same thought. I knew next to nothing about him when they hired him, and the little bit I've learned since then is that he does run a complex scheme, lots of coverages that he likes to mix up. That was always one of the knocks on Capers' defense. We haven't had a chance to talk to McCarthy about him, so we don't yet know his thoughts there. You have to assume it's something they've discussed. Complex can be a problem in today's NFL because the cap contributes to big roster turnover every year. You have to make sure everybody out there knows what he's doing.
He's not as good as McCaffrey, but yeah, that's the kind of role, mostly a receiver but with some running.
Agreed that they have to be careful on the big money deals, but there are other ways to use free agency too. Even though the Bennett signing this year was a bust, that's the kind of shot worth taking. It didn't compromise future caps. And signings like Jahri Evans, that was a good signing that filled a big hole at guard with a veteran who played well enough. Look at Belichick's free agent history. He usually signs five to eight guys, most for relatively modest bonuses (ranging from $50,000 to make $500,000 or at most $1 million). Then he ends up cutting at least a couple of them, if not more. Treats it almost like a second draft. Then every once in a while he dives into the deep end, like he did last spring when he signed Stephon Gilmore. You have to accept some risk and misses with free agents, you just don't want to compromise future caps. And Jacksonville showed you can swing big and help yourself, like it did with Campbell and Bouye this year.
There were signs of it, a couple reports in the last year saying McCarthy was tired of Thompson not doing enough to augment the roster. In the last half year I heard a couple things second hand to that regard. Sounds like McCarthy asked Thompson to do more but Thompson resisted, though he was a little more active in free agency last spring.
I"d think they've love to have both. They played Hyde out of position, he should have been a safety. Hayward would be their best cornerback.
Gutekunst said he has many contacts around the league from his years being on the road as a scout, so it could be somebody from outside the organization. More likely though I'd think it will be either Jon-Eric Sullivan, who is currently director of college scouting, or John Wojciechowski, who is director of pro personnel.