Ted Thompson refers to it as "proprietary information." It's what he won't say, and he began his address at Tuesday morning's shareholders meeting with this disclaimer:
"I appreciate the reception," he said to the crowd, which gave the Packers general manager a standing ovation and chanted, "We love Ted." "It'll go downhill from here because I'm not a gifted speaker."
That's not true. Thompson is actually a very gifted speaker. It's just that his subject matter tends to be rather dry, and it's intentional.
"At the end of this speech, you won't have a whole lot of proprietary information because I won't say a lot," he said.
Thompson is a truthful man.
It's not that he doesn't want to share information with Packers fans and shareholders. It's that he absolutely will not share information with the competition, and anything he said this morning was certain to find its way back to the rest of the league.
Loose lips sink ships, right?
So, Thompson delivered a state-of-the-team address that was neat, clean and concise, and which would give no member of any other front office in the NFL reason to take note of Thompson's remarks. In other words, Thompson's speech was a howling success.
Here's what he said:
"It was a record-breaking season, but there are standards and goals we have here and we didn't make those goals."
Aaron Rodgers set single-season records for yards passing and touchdowns passing. Tim Masthay set a single-season record for punting average. "Donald Driver breaks a record every time he walks onto the field."
None of that, of course, qualifies as proprietary information.
The Packers reached 19 consecutive wins in 2011, scored a team-record 560 points and led the league with 38 takeaways. Nineteen different players scored touchdowns and the Packers can boast of more playoff appearances in the free agency era than any other team in the NFL.
That's all good information, but certainly not proprietary.
"I think we addressed some things we were looking to address," Thompson said of the team's performance in the draft.
Being that the Packers were No. 32 on defense in 2011 and the team selected defensive players with each of its first six draft picks, that remark would certainly qualify as being accurate, but not proprietary.
"Our goal is always the same, to win now and keep an eye on the future," Thompson added.
Those words may have been the most meaningful thing he said on Tuesday, but certainly not a surprise to anyone.
It's what Thompson didn't say on Tuesday that tells the real story about the Packers empire he's built.
He's built a young, dominant football team. His roster has a nucleus of young, star-quality players, including the best quarterback in the game.
The Packers' 2012 draft class, combined with the development of a 2011 draft class that was rushed through an offseason cut short by last year's lockout, offers fixes and depth at several positions. The emergence of that young talent could fortify a roster that appears poised for a long, sustained playoff run.
First-round pick Nick Perry can be a difference-maker, not only for the pass rush he might provide but the sacks and impact he might add to Clay Matthews' game in 2012. "We're looking for some help out of him," Thompson said of Perry, in a remark that was borderline proprietary.
Second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb has star written all over him and has the rest of the NFC North wondering in what role Cobb might be cast in 2012. Thompson made no mention of Cobb, which is significant since it's what Thompson doesn't say that counts.
"Our mission is to win," Thompson said in ending his speech.
That's certainly not proprietary information but it was exactly what the largest crowd in shareholders meeting history wanted to hear. Related links Related links