Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 24

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s Friday press conference. Thompson answered questions in the media auditorium following the first cutdown of players. - More Audio | Video | www.PackersTrainingCamp.com

(Do you have an update on Donald Driver?)

Not real specifics, other than the fact that he was feeling better today, and the doctors are still fairly encouraged. He's, as you guys know, you guys know better than me, you've all been around him during the time when I was out in Seattle, he's a remarkably tough professional football player that was also blessed with remarkable genetics, I think. But we're hopeful. I don't know how you can predict this, but we feel fairly good that he's going to be OK.

(So you don't anticipate him missing any regular season games?)

Well, that's what we're hoping for. I don't know that we have enough information there. We don't have enough to say that he won't. I just don't want to promise you something and then it doesn't happen. But we feel pretty good right now. We're lucky.

(Did Dr. McKenzie eliminate the Lisfranc possibility?)

I'm not going to get into specifics, but we feel pretty good Pete, and that should probably answer that.

(How does that feel when you see one of your key players getting carted off?)

Bad. Especially with him, because you don't go out and get him very often. He usually comes off on his own accord, even if he's banged up a little bit. I'm no different than any other fan in that regard, except maybe I sweat more in those circumstances. But that's the nature of the beast. That's the National Football League. Football is interaction among highly skilled athletes, and you're gong to put your foot in the wrong spot sometimes, and things happen. But fortunately we think we dodged something here.

(Would you rule out the possibility that, upon getting more information, you might have to stand up there and say Driver is out for 10 weeks?)

I don't anticipate that Bob. I don't want to have to do that and then you guys say you told me he was going to be OK. We feel pretty good, and without getting into specifics, that's about as far as I can go. We don't anticipate that happening.

(You don't have the specifics or you don't want to tell us?)

I don't really quite have all that. I talked to Pat this morning, and he said everything looks good, and they were going to do some additional scans just to make certain. But he was feeling better today, in terms of pain and all that, and it goes along with what he thought last night, which is we dodged something.

(So your best guess is he'll be on the field Sept. 9?)

Sept. 9, who are we playing then?

(Philadelphia.)

That's what we're hoping for. That's what we think will probably happen. But you never know. That's what we're hoping for.

(You got some big catches from the tight ends last night. Do you feel better about that position or would you still consider bringing someone else in?)

Well, I think you're always looking at all the positions, like we've said all along. Yeah, I think it was good to get them involved in the offense. I think Brett feels good when the tight ends are catching the ball down the field. Those were a couple of nice plays. It was good to see. I'm sure they were glad to participate. Sometimes they can get overlooked, in the course of the preseason game especially when things get out of hand and it gets a little sloppy. But I thought they did a nice job, and they blocked pretty well too.

(Can you talk about the decision to keep Paul Thompson and release Ingle Martin?)

As I've done in the past, I'm not going to say anything negative about any of our players. I will say this about Ingle - he's a great kid. He's done absolutely everything we ever asked him to. I'm sure that he wished maybe things had gone a little bit better for him, but the world is round and it could be that he might be back on this team at some point. Just the way the rotation went, and quite frankly because of the injuries we have at other positions, even at 75 you get a certain amount of concern going into this last preseason game without enough players at certain positions, and at the quarterback position, it was Paul's turn to play in this game, so we felt like that was the roster move we needed to make in order to keep somebody at a different position.

(Should Thompson feel OK or is this still a big week for him?)

It's a big week for all of our guys, including Paul.

(Are you at 75 now?)

No.

(What are you at?)

  1. I think. You should know that, Bob, you keep up with stuff like that. We have to get to 76. Carl-Johan Bjork is an international practice player. He will be on our practice squad at the end. He doesn't count against the 75-man roster limit.

(So you have to make one more move by Tuesday?)

Yes.

(Do you see good reason to keep three quarterbacks or would you consider keeping only two?)

I don't know, it's kind of where you are with your team at that particular moment. Every team I've ever been associated with has always had at least three quarterbacks on the 53. So again, it kind of depends on where you are with your roster and how the thing works out when you get down to it. Even though we've played three preseason games, we've still got another week and another game to play, interaction with other clubs, trades or waiver claims and things like that. So it kind of depends on how it all falls out.

(Even though you've never done it, could you envision keeping only two quarterbacks?)

Sure. Any position, you have these ideal, I think, numbers that you have. When you start training camp, this is how many you would like on your final 53. But it never works out ideally. I think last year we kept four, maybe five, tight ends or something like that, which is rare. We'd like to keep the best players.

(Was P.J. Pope too far away from being healthy to consider keeping past this first cut?)

Yeah. He had one of those injuries that was poor timing, because he was still going to be a little bit dinged up at the start of the season, and without having been able to compete during the course of training camp at any time, and wouldn't be well for maybe another couple weeks, we just felt like, again, because we're hurting in other spots and trying to get through this game, we felt like this was the time to make that roster move.

(He seemed like a guy you thought would fit in pretty well?)

I'm disappointed, and I'm sure P.J. is extremely disappointed that he didn't get a chance to compete. I like him a lot, as a person and as a player.

(Does Pope have to pass a physical to be waived?)

He was waived with an injury settlement.

(Will you be looking over everybody else's cuts to see if there's anyone that can help?)

Sure. Yeah, you're always doing that. I think we were the only ones that announced any sort of roster cuts today, probably because we played on Thursday. Last year I think we played on Monday, next Monday, as opposed to Thursday. But we felt, again, once you've made a decision we like to try to get their names out there.

(Why wait on the 12th cut?)

We haven't figured out what we're going to do there.

(Could that be somebody going on IR?)

It could be a lot of things.

(What would you have to see in Martin to consider bringing him back?)

Are you talking about Ingle? I just said, there's been a lot of guys during the course of the NFL, certainly when I was here before and out in Seattle, at some point during the mandatory releases that you make, that player winds up coming back on your team at some point. So we'll see how that goes.

(How big a role did last night's game play in these decisions?)

For these players? It played a part. And also part of it is how other people performed. It's a collective body of work, I guess, for want of a better word. But yeah, everything is factored in.

{sportsad300}(With Driver's situation, how will that help you evaluate the rest of the receiver group?)

Well, help is the wrong word to use. That doesn't help us. But yeah, it gives some other players more opportunities to play coming forward, certainly in this next game. Quite frankly, Donald was probably pretty close to being done for the night in another couple of series last night, and I don't know how much he would have played at Tennessee anyway. So I would rather it not happened.

(Is the magic number five or six at wide receiver?)

Again, it depends on the people and what other roles they might play and how the other parts of our roster turn out to be.

(What did you think of Thompson when you signed him? Did you think it was realistic for him to recapture his quarterback skills?)

We didn't know, Jason, quite frankly. But he wanted a shot at trying to be a quarterback, and we felt that he had enough credentials that we should bring him in and watch him perform during the month of June. And I think he's done OK. He had a tough outing last week, but it was kind of chaotic out there.

(What do you like about him and what does he need to do to get better?)

Like any young quarterback, you have to kind of learn the speed of the game, and learn all the different things that people try to do to you. It's a pretty nasty position to play. And I doubt if there's many that have come into the league that haven't had to master those same ingredients. His quarterback play at Oklahoma was I think limited pretty much to his senior year, so he's not a real experienced guy, but he has some intangible qualities to him that we find attractive at that position.

(How confident are you in the run game, and what has to be done to make it better?)

I'm OK with the running game. That was a pretty good defense we were playing last night. We weren't as successful as we would have liked to have been. We've got to block them better, we've got to run better, we have to do all those things better.

(Is Morency close? Do you see him practicing this week?)

My best guess is no, he probably will not practice this week.

(Are you confident for the opener?)

Confident is probably too strong a word. We don't know, but he's doing very well.

(With Harrell, did you envision him playing more into that first four rotation than he has?)

Well, that's a pretty good first four rotation, but Justin is doing OK. There's a lot of speculation on No. 1 picks and people saying what about this, what about this. I think he's going to be a fine player, and I'm sure he'd probably like to have a little more success, but he's had his moments in preseason games. But again, that's part of being a rookie too is learning the speed of the game and the violence in there. It's different. Even though you played at a place like Tennessee, it's different in the NFL. Especially with him and Daniel (Muir), most of the second halves, they kind of played the whole second half, and those big fellas get tired. But we're not disappointed in Justin. But I don't know how the rotation is going to work. I'm not involved in that.

(Would it help him to be in there more with the first group?)

I don't know. I think football is football. I think last night he was in there with some of our starters at a time. I don't know if that was maybe early in the second half or late in the second quarter or something like that.

(Is it OK with you if your first-round pick doesn't dress for the opener?)

I suppose. I guess it's happened before. We'll see. But like I said, we've got some pretty good defensive tackles, and I don't make that call.

(Was it an injury settlement with Hicks?)

No.

(So straight waiver on him?)

Yeah.

(Any other injury settlements other than Pope?)

No.

(What are the intangibles you mentioned that you like about Thompson?)

I like the way he carries himself in the huddle. He's got an air about him on the field. I think he likes to play the game. I watch players during practice to see how they kind of conduct themselves, and he's very intent on watching the other guys and seeing how they're doing it and studying defenses. I think he has some physical ability. I think he can throw the ball pretty well and move around and he's got good height. I just think there's some qualities there.

(You would never consider keeping two kickers, would you?)

Never say never.

(So you wouldn't rule it out?)

We might have had a couple at one time out there in Seattle one year, but it was for different reasons. We weren't sure about either one of them. That doesn't happen very often. Sometimes people will keep a punter, a placekicker and a kickoff guy, but both of these guys are pretty good kickoff guys.

(Would you hang onto both in the hope of making a trade with a desperate team?)

I suppose it's possible. Again, never say never. I'd hate to tell you I would never do that and then all of a sudden I do it. So I guess I'm not going to answer your question.

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