Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 2

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s Sunday press conference. Thompson answered questions in the media auditorium prior to Sunday’s practice. - More Audio | Video| 2007 Transcripts

Thanks for coming. Just a brief explanation about why we didn't do this last night is because, number one, the waivers got to us about 8:30 or 9 o'clock last night, and we knew we'd be doing other things today, so we felt this would make a little bit more sense, to kill two birds with one stone so to speak. But I'll be glad to take questions.

(You only have two tight ends. You aren't going into the season with that, are you?)

Well, you never know, Mike. That's where we are right now. We feel very good about the two that we have. We think they've had excellent preseason camp and played very well in the games. You never know. We all kind of get caught up in saying this is the final, final 53, but there's always fluctuations, and whether we tweak our roster as we go forward this week or whether it happens over time, you never know.

(Are your backs hurt more than we realize, with having to go out and grab two more?)

Well, Noah was injured worse than we anticipated after Thursday night. We didn't feel like that it was what it was, but as it turns out it was a little more significant, and that put us in a real bind. It's heartbreaking to Noah, it's heartbreaking to us as Packers to have to make this transaction. But we had to do it because there's a 53-man roster in order to do this going forward, and we didn't think there was any way we'd get him back before the bye, and we just didn't have the luxury of being able to do that.

(Is it a torn MCL?)

There was an arthroscopic procedure done yesterday, and there was some damage that they fixed. I'm not sure if it's appropriate for me to answer that, Pete. I'm not trying to dodge it. I just never talk specifically about injuries.

(How many healthy running backs will you have for Sunday?)

We've had so many changes, I've got to think this through ...

(In other words, are Morency and Jackson cleared to play?)

We're anticipating them being cleared to play. We are.

(Who's the starter going to be at running back?)

I don't know. I don't get to make that call. It kind of depends on how everybody practices and goes through the week, and the bumps and the bruises get better and that sort of things. It's almost like we're in midseason and you think you've got all these guys, and you kind of have to see how it goes through the week, and usually toward the latter part of the week you have a better feel for it.

(Isn't that a major concern, with all the injuries and inexperience?)

Well, no. We don't worry about things like that. It is what it is. Everybody has injuries and we've had our share at that position during training camp, but time marches on, so you have to keep going at it. Like I said, it is what it is. We'd have liked for our whole group to be able to compete from day one, just like I think I've mentioned that in here before at that position, and at other positions, and we felt like we'd have a pretty good group at the end of it. That didn't happen. Vernand didn't get to go at all, and P.J. Pope was injured I think the very first day of practice, or in the Family Night scrimmage I think. So that was disappointing. Tory Humphrey was injured at the tight end position. But you just have to keep going, and you try to pick the best guys for your team, where you are at that particular time. So that's kind of where we are. But at the end of the day, we feel pretty good about this group.

(What did the kicking battle come down to?)

It was really, really a tough deal. I think Mason just did a very, very good job. We feel his positives, he's got an extremely strong leg, we think he's a tough-minded kid, he's kicked in bad weather before. This is not a bad reflection on Dave Rayner. Everybody saw it. It was a remarkable competition. At the end of the day, again, because of roster limits, it just doesn't make sense ... when we're having to do something like we had to do with Noah today, it doesn't make sense to consider maybe keeping two. So ultimately we had to make a choice, and we chose Mason.

(What intrigued you to keep the rookie over a veteran?)

Well, I don't know. I think you just watch them day in and day out, and day in and day out. They're different personalities, but they're both extremely talented kickers. I don't know what it is, whether it's just a gut call or what, but eventually you have to make a choice.

(What factors led to keeping only two quarterbacks?)

Well, again, because of the makeup of our roster at the current time. It's a little bit, I don't know, out of balance than a normal, your projected in-season roster. When you're sitting there in the summertime and in the spring, you're thinking we'll probably carry this many at a certain position, this many here. Ours is a little skewed because quite frankly, on the good side, we feel like we're very strong depth-wise at some positions that we just wanted to hang onto those players. So, then you get at the quarterback position, and we just felt like, a number of teams have done this over the last few years, and we felt it was something worth trying. And you never know if it will work out, but we feel very good about the two that we have.

(Does Carlyle give you that flexibility, realistically?)

Well, we'll start working with that. He's done it, he's played quarterback in college, so it won't be foreign to him. He's done that before. I remember back when I was playing with the Oilers, we played the Steelers in the (Astro)Dome, and we won the game 6-0, but it was a bloodbath. Tony Dungy wound up being the quarterback in the second half, because Bradshaw and whoever else they had got hurt. We'll have to prepare somebody else to play, and I think Carlyle is the obvious choice.

(Did you try to pry a running back with more experience than Grant from another team?)

We talked to a lot of teams, Tom, about that position and about other positions, quite frankly. We were here fairly late. So yeah, we talked to other teams about different guys. We liked what we saw in Ryan during the preseason. He has nice size, he runs well, he catches the ball well. He plays on all their special teams, and we felt pretty comfortable with him. I know he hasn't played a lot in the National Football League, but what we saw on the preseason tape and what we know of him as a person, we feel pretty good about. We talked to Carlyle, who played college ball with him, and Frank Walker, who was a teammate of his with the Giants. He's a good guy, typical Notre Dame kind of kid, so we feel pretty good about him.

(What did you find the running back market like when you were fishing around?)

Certain teams, and we're all the same way, I'm the same way with this team - once you get down to kind of where you feel comfortable with this group, it doesn't matter what you call and offer me, we're going to keep our group. There were a number of teams that were kind of deep at running back, and they were going to keep their guys.

(What did you like about Kuhn that Miree couldn't offer?)

John, we looked at him a lot last year, and we considered him in a similar type transaction last year, and we wound up doing something a little different. He was a runner at Shippensburg State, which now we have two players from Shippensburg State on this team. He was an outstanding runner I suppose. But he's been there on the practice squad on and off for a couple years. He's a big guy, he's tough, a very square blocker. He catches the ball well. He can run the ball when necessary downhill in short-yardage situations. We just felt like, we only had one fullback, and we needed to get some more umph there, and we think he'll be a good addition. Supposed to be a very good guy.

(Is Kuhn the only waiver claim you put in?)

We put in what's known as a ... not sure what it's known as. It's a thing where you say, OK, we'd like to claim this guy, and if we don't get this guy, then this guy, one of those kind of deals. You probably don't know what I'm talking about, do you?

(How far down the list was Kuhn then?)

He was our first guy. It's interesting, you get to the final cuts, and I've always found this interesting. You think all these guys are going to get claimed, or there will be 50 teams, or not 50, but 10 teams claiming this one guy, and it's almost remarkable in that you go right down the list when the waivers finally come out, and they're not even out yet. The only thing that we know is what happened to anybody that we put on waivers and guys that we claimed. We don't know. In fact, Shaun Bodiford was claimed. We don't know what team he was claimed on yet, because they won't tell you that when they call you. You think all these guys are going to get claimed by multiple teams, and in fact two years ago, there were I think 32 different claims, and they were all by 32 different teams, each person. It's just the way it works. It depends on where you are with your own individual team, and the anxiety about getting through the first couple weeks of the season.

{sportsad300}(Was it a matter of having younger, faster, special teams help than Manuel, or is that a pratfall of free agency?)

Well, Marquand did fine. He did all we asked him to do. I think it's more of a reflection of the emergence of Atari Bigby and a couple of young guys that we have high hopes for that we think are going to be very good players. We just feel like, and we were very honest with Marquand all along, especially when it started looking like it was going to go the other way, and I'm sure he's probably signed with another team already. But he did fine for us. He was always honest, he worked as hard as he could. Did we expect a little more last year? Yeah, but it wasn't because he wasn't trying. It just didn't work out.

(How much can Grant help you on Sunday? Or Wynn?)

Well, we'll see. We've got a little bit of a long week. We're starting on Sunday I guess is the reason it's a long week. But we'll see how fast he can get acclimated. He's supposed to be a very bright guy. In terms of DeShawn, he played in the last game and he did OK. He hit all of his assignments, he did exactly what he was supposed to do. He's still in the growing pattern on this team, and we've talked to him about, and it's not his fault that he was hurt, but this part of being a professional is answering the bell, and he knows that and he understands where he is. But if they're our players, then they're our players on Sunday. But we're not there yet, Jason, I'm not trying to dodge it. We're not there yet in terms of who's going to do what.

(Do you envision Grant filling Herron's role on third down? Can he get up to speed on time?)

Yeah. Can he get up to speed? We'll see. Edgar is very good at grabbing those guys. In fact he grabbed him this morning as soon as he got off the plane and had him in a closed-door session. But we'll see. Philadelphia runs some fairly exotic stuff. But blitz pick-up I'm sure isn't that much different, what the Giants do than us. Now I'm sure I'll have all the coaches yelling at me that it's completely different, but we'll see.

(With 11 defensive linemen, did you get much interest from other teams, and if so, why didn't you make a deal?)

Some early. I don't know that we had anybody call us yesterday about that, which was a little surprising, but I had kind of made up my mind. Like I was talking before, I felt good about this group. I kind of wanted to keep this group together.

(Why 11, though?)

It's just the way it worked out. We feel like we have 11 that can play. Like I said before, anytime you have big people that you feel have promise and can actually contribute and do all those things, I think you have to try to carry them if you can. Now if someone would have offered us a blockbuster deal, we might have considered it. But Mike and I have talked about it over and over, we wanted to make sure we tried our best to keep our best 53, and that might mean the roster gets skewed a little bit. But during the course of the season, that will normally start to balance itself out.

(Do you intend on keeping 11 all season then?)

I would guess yes.

(When were you going to get Culver back, and how severe is that shoulder injury?)

More, much (more severe). He's going to have to have surgery, which is a four-to-six month thing.

(Where does Hodge stand?)

He's also I think planning, too, and our doctors agree, that he's going to have surgery, which is another one of those four to six months.

(Will he have it on both knees?)

That's my understanding. Here I am talking about injuries, which I never do.

(How long have you gone before with five linebackers, and is Havner your sixth if something happens?)

Certainly anybody on our practice squad, and we've already talked to each one of the fellas today, that their job is to prepare themselves to play. Not just to be here to run the card stuff, but their job is to get ready to play. So yes, that would be a consideration if something were to happen. We did it in Seattle I think a couple of different years, and then again, we started out with five, and maybe by the end of the season we might have seven or eight. It's just the way the roster kind of gets switched around during the course of the season.

(Was Birdine claimed by another team?)

No.

(Was he a guy you were interested in putting on the practice squad?)

He was, and we made it clear to him that he was. Quite frankly, he counted the roster, and he and his representative wanted to pursue other options. They can't really do that yet, because the waivers aren't out yet, but we wanted him to be certain we were offering him a spot. But he would rather maybe go someplace that only has eight defensive linemen.

(Was the trade yesterday for a conditional draft pick, and was it a seventh-rounder?)

It was undisclosed. See, you guys say I never trade a pick. I traded a pick for a player. It was not conditional.

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