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Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 13

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s press conference from Wednesday afternoon in the Lambeau Field Auditorium.

(Do you need to see Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila on the field at some point during camp?)

We kind of know what Kabeer brings to the table, but he has been struggling with trying to get all the way back. We don't feel like we need to rush him, so we'll take that day to day.

(Have you been looking at veteran quarterbacks and are you thinking along those lines at all?)

Someone asked me that question yesterday. We're always looking at every position because things happen in football. So we're not not looking at them, but it's no more specific than at any other position that we have.

(So you're OK with the youth at that position?)

Yeah, I don't know if you drew it up like this is the way you would do it, but this is the way it is. We like our two young guys, and we think they are on a steady path here. Quite frankly, our coaching staff likes working with them, so we feel pretty good.

(How much of a relief has it been to have the Brett Favre situation resolved and how has this past week been?)

I don't know if relief is the right word, but it's good to get back to football and be able to think about emergency lists and advance scouting and college scouting and doing our day-to-day job.

(Did you learn anything more about Aaron Rodgers with how he handled the situation this camp?)

I think everything is a learning experience. I think Aaron has carried himself well and I think he managed the game well the other night and took some steps.

(You took a lot of hits the last month. Was there any criticism that bothered you or that you thought was unfair?)

Everyone has their own take on this. I think you could call people in Russia and they would give you an opinion on this one. There is not much that you can do about that. I think you try to just do your job every day and be able to look at yourself in the mirror at night. But other than that, no, I don't think so.

(Can you clarify something on Harrell, is he on the active-PUP list where he counts against your 80-man roster?)

Right.

(So once you get down to 53 players, could he go on the PUP where he was on for six or eight weeks?)

There is two people that are on active PUP right now; one is Ryan Pickett and one is Justin Harrell. You do that when they show up to training camp, it has to be at the very start of training camp, you can put them on PUP. They are on the active PUP, which means they do count against the 80. At some point during the cutdowns, often times if someone projects out that they are not going to be ready until a few weeks into the season, then you can place those players, if they have already been on PUP, then they can be placed on reserve PUP, which means that is when after six weeks of the regular season, that kicks in.

(Speaking of Harrell, are you getting antsy to see him out there and what is the prognosis?)

In terms of just straight injuries, I'll let Mike handle that. I think with everybody (when) you get going, you'd like to see more out of them. We go by our doctors' advice, and he is making progress. We feel pretty good about it.

(You talked about Kabeer and knowing what you have, but considering his age and the injury, don't you need to see him out there to see where he is at?)

Again, I think we know what kind of player he is. I think fans have been able to see him for some time. We're anxious to get him back out there, just like we are with the rest of the fellas, but you can't put the cart before the horse. We don't want to prolong this, so we want to take our time and make sure we make smart decisions in terms of using any of these guys that are nicked up a little bit.

(How do you see the competition at the guard spots right now?)

I think it's going to be very competitive, the competition. We have some good guys. We're very excited about our group. I think we're going to have a strong group at the final cutdown, and guys that can play elsewhere possibly at the final cutdown that don't make our final team. We feel pretty good about our group, and I don't know how it is going to turn out.

(Is there any particular group that you feel is deeper? Is the linebacker group one with a lot of depth)

I think we have pretty good competition throughout. I wouldn't want to focus in on one position, but I do think we have a pretty good 80-man roster, especially if we have all of our guys playing and practicing. And we'll see; it works itself out too. Competition, some guys rise to the top and some guys don't quite make it. It usually sorts itself out.

{sportsad300}(Is it different this year coming off a successful season with a talented roster compared to three years ago where you didn't have that depth?)

I think every year you make some pretty tough calls. I think this year there will be more of them, and I think that's natural as you try to grow your core. But I don't know, one year is different than the next, but they each present problems and difficulties, especially at the final cutdown.

(When do you expect to see Ryan Grant go and are you concerned since he missed the first week?)

Not overly so, no. Again, we're going to be cautious with that. We know what kind of player Ryan is, and we have a good group of backs that need some playing time anyway. So we're not overly concerned about it. Again, with any of these, there's a trade-off. Do you want to get him back out there or do you make sure you don't have a recurring problem. Those are the two sides you kind of try to weigh.

(How difficult do you think it is going to be for Jordy Nelson to get playing time with the depth and experience at the receiver position?)

We feel pretty good about our group at wide receiver. We also feel very good about the contributions Jordy has made and the anticipated contributions he's going to make. Good football players usually figure out ... our coaching staff will figure out a way to get him in the game. I think he's doing pretty good.

(Do you want to see more of him as a returner since he was pretty limited in his time there in college?)

Yeah, but he had two touchdowns. I threw that in draft day too.

(Are you eager to see more of him there?)

Yeah, well he has several things going for him. Number one, he catches the ball very good, so you feel good about that. He has very good instincts with the ball, good run after the catch, those kind of things that you can see over and over on his college tape. He's also a bigger, stronger guy than your average receiver, which would lead you to believe that he has the ability and the strength, sort of like Koren, in terms of breaking tackles and bouncing off guys on special teams. We thought he did a pretty good job the other night.

(Do you wait until the final week to decide how many you will keep at each position or do you already know now?)

I think there are minimums that you keep at every position. You don't want to get too thin. But we don't have any absolutes quite frankly. Last year we had some numbers that were different than normal. On our wall in our draft room we have several different combinations of the least you could take at a position and the most you could take. Last year I think we had 11 defensive linemen, which is an unusually large number, and we were light at some other positions. It just kind of depends. There's a lot of preseason left, a lot of decision to be made yet, so you don't get too wrapped in, but obviously you're not going to start the season with one something, you know. So it's a work in progress, and it changes daily and weekly, what you think it's going to be, and then usually it's like a lot of things, it winds up going back to the way you thought it was going to be in the first place.

(So keeping a sixth linebacker for example might come down to special teams?)

Yeah, certainly special teams is a huge factor towards the bottom of the 53. Decisions you factor how you're going to suit up 45-man, who can contribute, the versatility of different guys, which we try to have at all of our positions. We have normally in the past at all the places, including here, gone with six linebackers. For instance, the last couple years we've maybe been at five, starting out. So we just kind of see how it works itself out.

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