The man who Packers fans should be talking about « Ol' Bag of Donuts

The man who Packers fans should be talking about

Is Mike McCarthy a championship caliber coach? Is he getting too much of the blame? Will the outcomes in close games ever change?

Questions like these have been raised on our site and many other blogs this week in the aftermath of last Sunday’s loss in New England. While I agree mostly with what Gene and Chris have to say on the issue, I am holding my own judgment on McCarthy until after the Giants game Sunday because we will see the true character of this team and more importantly this coach then. In short, I was fuming in how the game ended in New England, but I was far more upset two weeks ago when the scored only three freaking points against the Lions in a game they needed a lot more than the one against New England.

So, until after this Sunday I want to turn my attention to the man whose job this year shouldn’t be questioned or debated by anybody and that is Ted Thompson.

I always hate using injuries as an excuse, but to ignore the Packers’ injury list this year is very hard. It has been said numerous times this year, “if you would have done me at the beginning of the year all of these players would be on IR or miss time, i.e. Rodgers and Matthews and the team would hold their own playoff fate with two games left…”. No matter how much faith you had in the this team it would be a tough sell for this to be believable.

Defensive injuries aside, the team lost two of their top four offensive players in Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant and have survived. Look at arguably the top two teams in the NFC right now in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Take away Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez from the Falcons and say LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin from the Eagles; would these teams still be where they are, let alone playoff teams?

Basically, what the Packers have done is pretty remarkable. However, it doesn’t negate their failures in close games because it is obvious that they still have enough talent, despite all the injuries, to compete and beat the game’s best.

All of that credit needs to be directed towards Thompson.

It makes it even more very frustrating to see the team drop close games with all of these guys out and that’s on the coach. Something needs to change quick because the next two games will not be blowouts. But, I don’t want to waste space on McCarthy’s flaws. Thompson deserves more recognition in constructing a team that is competing at a high level (even if it is for only 58 minutes some games) with seven opening day starters on the IR and numerous top players missing time.

Many fans ragged on Thompson for not making a move after Grant went down. Look at Marshawn Lynch’s stats in Seattle: 131 rushes, 445 yards and six touchdowns. Brandon Jackson’s stats: 165 rushes, 645 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson also has 316 receiving yards to Lynch’s 145. Enough about stats though, the fact is that Lynch hasn’t been any better than Jackson, so everyone was wrong on that front. The problem with the running game isn’t the guys the Packers have, it is playcalling. Just look at Sunday’s game on how effective a running game can be when it is a focus.

There are some obvious holes on the roster. The team desperately needs a pass rush opposite of Clay Matthews. The left guard needs a major upgrade and special teams are a mess. But, a lot of these weak areas we knew going in.

Look at the type of players who played major minutes in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Guys like Eric Walden, Dmitri Nance, and Howard Green. Ever hear of those guys before the season? Well they will all find contracts somewhere in the NFL next year because of their time with the Packers. Even guys we did know like Charlie Peprah, John Kuhn, Sam Shields and Frank Zombo all have bright futures in the NFL because of their strong play this season. I hope Thompson finds the way to re-sign Desmond Bishop and James Jones, but they are both going to get paid handsomely this offseason by the Packers or someone else. The common denominator is that none of these players (maybe except Jones) were expected to play the roles they have the season.

Say what you want about Thompson constantly having one of the youngest rosters in the league and never making a big move in free agency, but he has built one of the deepest rosters in the league. Not a whole lot of teams could have absorbed the blow the Packers have received this year on the injury front.  In the last two losses, talent cannot be blamed even with this depleted roster.

In the middle of this current mess with McCarthy and the debate on his future as Packers head coach, no one should forget about Thompson because he is the reason we are even having this debate. On many other teams McCarthy probably wouldn’t even have a shot at the playoffs right now. Thompson’s patchwork of a team that doesn’t even resemble the one that took the field in Week One is only two wins away from the postseason. Let’s just hope McCarthy doesn’t screw it up.

-Adam Somers

11 comments to The man who Packers fans should be talking about

  • Thank you for this post. I was having a ridiculous argument with someone on CheeseheadTV because they think TT did a poor job of filling Grant’s and Finley’s spots on the roster. I mean, seriously? The guy has done an incredible job. Simply not enough good things being said about Ted Thompson.

  • gbpf127

    Very well said. And TT is deserving of your accolades. mg

  • JimR_in_DC

    Nice job, Adam.

  • Dave K

    Yes, but isn’t the GM’s most important job to hire a head coach that can take a team to the promised land?

  • admin

    Dave,

    I think you are right, to a point. One of Thompson’s ultimate goals is the one you stated. But more than that, he has to make sure that coach has a roster he can win with. Even good coaches can’t win with crap. One thing’s for sure – he’s given MM a roster he could win – and win big – with. Whether or not MM ever does that is another story…thanks for your comments.

    -Chris Lempesis

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  • Bearmeat

    I agree with this article to a point: TT has done an admirable job making the 53 man roster better than any other team in the league. However, the LG,LOLB and KR/PR situation is solely on TT. Again, these are not “fireable” offenses, just plain old oversight due to stubborness.
    -
    Those were weak spots going into Training Camp that TT SHOULD have addressed via trade or free agency. Most 6/7 rd picks aren’t going to make the team anyway – why not give up a couple of those guys for a proven commodity at LG or ST returner? I am SICK of yelling “COLLEDGE” 3x a game!

  • Packerwest

    Can’t believe TT didn’t get Stephan Logan to return kicks when the Steelers released him.

  • Bearmeat

    Exactly Packerwest. Exactly.
    -
    Or how about offering the Pats a 2nd rounder during TC for LC Mankins.

    Bulaga/Newhouse, Mankins, Wells, Sitton, Bulaga/Lang. I like that O ling a LOT better than our current one..

  • aussiepacker

    Great article Adam! Every point you make is spot on except about James Jones. I am sorry but i just can’t stand the guy, He is so soft. He has remarkable size and so much potential it just isn’t funny, But time and time again you see a play where he just doesn’t put his body on the line or put in a decent effort. It’s like he is scared to get hit. I know many might not agree but i just can’t stand that sort of play, I would rather have a young guy with half the ability but gives 120% on every play than that softcock jones.

  • barutan seijin

    I don’t see how people knowing about the team’s weaknesses excuses the shortcomings.

    I’ll take the 3 extra TDs that Lynch has, thank you very much. Let’s see: an extra TD in the NE game, one in the Washington game, in the Detroit game and that’s three more Ws and three fewer Ls — & possibly one less Rodgers concussion. Brandon Jackson & the O-line are so bad running the football that the MM doesn’t bother most of the time. Why should he? It doesn’t work.

    TT found some guys to fill out the roster, but so what? If this team finishes 8-8, what do you say then? “Deep”? Or just average?

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