Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 6

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s press conference Sunday from the Lambeau Field auditorium. - More Packers Sign Eight To Practice Squad

(Was the decision on Anthony Smith a performance-based one?)

It was just a thing, we had an opportunity to get a player from Baltimore that kind of fit what we were looking for. A little bit of a corner, a little bit of a safety, special teams. It just came down to that.

(How do you feel about Martin on the field and with his off-the-field situation?)

Right. I feel pretty good. We were aware of the things that have happened. We checked with Ozzie in Baltimore, and all the reports there seemed good, so we were reasonably comfortable with that.

(What do you like about him as a player?)

He's a very active guy. He's got good feet. We studied him quite a bit out of Wyoming a couple of years, actually three or four years ago. We liked him then, and as we talk about a lot, a lot of our moves that we make on the pro side are based first and foremost of what we thought of him in college, and we thought he was a good player. He's a thicker lower body guy. We thought even then he would have the ability to play inside, and the fact that he does have that versatility and he's a good special teams player.

(Can you talk about the decision on Brian Brohm?)

Well, I don't think it's so much a negative about Brian. It's sort of, in our view the way we looked at, it was because of the strength of our roster. We had some very, very hard decisions to make, and we had to release some good players, and at some point you come down to a numbers thing. That's kind of the gist of it I guess.

(Are you in the market for another quarterback or are you set there?)

Well, I don't know if you're ever set. I don't know if you guys got it, but we've announced our practice squad signings and we were fortunate enough to get Brian onto our practice squad, so we'll have the three guys.

(So you're not actively pursuing anybody in a trade or otherwise?)

Not right this second, no.

(How about the decision to go with Swain over Ruvell Martin? Did it come down to special teams?)

Yeah. There were some really painful moments over the weekend, and that was clearly one of the more painful ones. Ruvell was everything you asked of in a Packer. He's a good player, he's a great person, a great teammate, well-respected by his peers. At the same time we felt that Brett had earned a spot on the team. Quite frankly they both had, and it just came down to trying to decide what to do. Probably special teams was the deciding factor.

(Was Anthony Smith picking up the defense the way you wanted him to?)

Sure. Yeah, I thought Anthony was a good teammate and he was productive. Again, it kind of came down to having to make a tough choice. Like I said, we were sort of looking for a guy that had some versatility and can be a little bit of a swing player.

(Do you expect to have Rouse back soon?)

That's a medical thing, but our estimates are that he'd be healthy enough at some point. Why don't you ask Mike that just so I don't get in trouble.

(What does Harrell going on IR do for his development?)

Well, like we said a few weeks ago in here when the back thing first came back up, it's a setback. What Justin and the Packers are going to do is we're going to commit six, eight, 10 months of intensive rehab, intensive core strengthening and try to get this remedied. Nobody's given up on anybody. The Packers haven't given up on him and he hasn't given up on the Packers, so we'll go forward.

(Do you plan on him being able to do all of the offseason stuff again and bring him back for training camp?)

Sure. That would be the plan. Nothing that's happened has been Justin's fault. He's not a bad guy. He's trying his best, but we have these medical things that have come up, so we're going to try to get past that.

(Is there some point where you have to give up on a player if he can't get healthy?)

I wouldn't ... that would be sort of speculative. We're going to look at it like the glass is half full. We're going to get it fixed.

(Do you feel like it is more bad luck with his back as opposed to his conditioning and core strength not being there?)

Well, like I say, we are going to attack the rehab and the core strengthening and things like that, but yeah, it's not someone's fault if they get hurt. But I understand the gist. But what we're going to do is go forward.

(Has the medical staff found anybody who has gone through a similar injury and gotten through this?)

Oh yeah, I'm sure. I don't know of anybody specifically. But these aren't career-ending mishaps. These are just things that kind of keep cropping up, and we're going to try to get it to the point where they don't crop up anymore.

(Has another surgery been ruled out?)

I don't think that's anticipated, though. That's a medical question, though. I can get in trouble.

(You seen to have a lot of patience for him, waiting for him to turn the corner. What if he doesn't?)

Well, if he doesn't, then he goes on with his life and the Packers go on with our lives. But again, the kid's a good kid and he's a good player, and we just have to get him out there and be able to keep him out there. That's part of the NFL and we've talked about this before. There's durability issues and being able to get back up off the ground and go again. That's what this league is all about.

(Do you anticipate being able to go through the whole season with just two quarterbacks on the 53?)

I don't know. That's the thing is we all do, and certainly we have over the last 48 to 76 hours gnashed our teeth over this 53. And everybody says well now it's set. Well, it's not set. The team moves and evolves during the course of the season. You guys have been around, you know that. The roster will change over the course of the season. I can't predict whether something would change in that regard.

(Is it a risk to just have two quarterbacks?)

Well, we feel good that we have Brian on our practice squad. That's certainly a good thing to have.

(Was he anxious to come back or was there some reluctance on his part?)

No. Again, nobody has given up on anybody, and you'll have to ask Brian those specific questions. But he's a competitor and he wants to compete and I'm sure he's disappointed.

(What was the thought process with keeping the three fullbacks?)

Again, from a positive standpoint I think it was a thing where we felt like they all three earned a spot on the team. It's a little bit unusual but we felt like there was value in all of those guys. Korey and John, who have been with us, are excellent special-teams players, good fullbacks, and we think Quinn Johnson has the ability to be a special player. Again, that cost roster spots in other areas that wouldn't normally happen but we felt like it was worth it.

(Brohm was a second-round pick, a year under his belt, but no team claimed him. Where is the problem with him?)

Yeah, and I understand people's questions there. Football is an interesting game. One thing I'll say to start with is Brian is continuing to make progress. I think his most recent preseason game was his best outing. He is a competitor, he wants to be a good player, and he wants to contribute to the Packers. Now that we have him on the practice squad, we're going to continue that development. We haven't given up on him and I don't think he has given up either.

(Wouldn't you expect a second-round pick to be on the 53-man roster for at least a few years?)

Clearly I don't think anybody would say he has played as well as he probably thinks he could have or should have. But yeah, sometimes it doesn't work the way you want it to. It doesn't go down this path that every second-round pick does this and this and this. It just doesn't work that way. It's real life.

(Did you feel like it was a risk to cut Sutton, especially since he was claimed by Carolina?)

Yeah, he is a very good player, just like he was at Northwestern. It came down to where we felt like we had a number of good backs and keeping the three fullbacks was a factor in this. We're sorry to lose him. Gave him a big hug today and he'll do fine.

(Is Brandon Jackson going to be ready for the Chicago game? Is that why you felt OK keeping just three halfbacks?)

Again, I don't know that specifically. Coach McCarthy will be able to address that.

(Did you consider keeping four halfbacks because of the Jackson injury?)

Yeah, doing this process you consider hypothetically all kinds of different numbers. The whole thing is connected. You focus on a position and then you realize whatever you are doing here is affecting everything on this board. The whole thing is kind of tied together.

(Did you put in any claims on guys on waivers?)

No.

(How comfortable are you with the offensive line, especially since you are pretty short on tackles?)

We feel pretty good about this group. Again, you hate to let any of these guys go though. You all know me, I'm sort of like a collector and I love putting together the 80-man roster. You feel so comfortable watching the first group and the second group and even sometimes the third group go out there and play and you think, 'Those guys are pretty good,' but you have to get down to 53. You have to make these hard decisions.

(Are the guys you put on injured reserve going to be there for the whole year or could some be injury-settled at some point?)

I think a little bit of both, yeah.

(Do you expect all three fullbacks to be on the roster all season?)

You never know how time changes things, but we kept them because we felt like they should be on our team. I would imagine that would be the same thought going forward.

{sportsad300}(Where do you think Meredith is in his development?)

He's coming along. I thought he competed very well. Actually this last game was his best game. He played guard in college, certainly his senior year, and I think the move to the outside is something you've kind of got to experience. I think that is what he needs. I think he needs experience. Again, we feel very happy that we were able to get him on our practice squad.

(Were you happy that seven of eight picks from this year made it? Does that make it a successful draft?)

I wasn't even aware of that. I hadn't even thought about it. I think drafts, and I have said this before, I think you've got to look back three years from now or four years and see what they have done. Don't do that right now with all of those other ones.

(How much do you consider the draft position a player was when you make roster decisions?)

We hope it is all football. Obviously if you draft a player you see some potential, even if it's not there right now. So sometimes it's drafted based on what you think the guy is going to become as he develops. Sometimes obviously it's based on the impact that the player can make now.

(Cutting Smith and Preston didn't do much for your reputation that you don't like free agents...)

Both of those guys are on teams right now, so they're OK. They're good players.

(Any concern about the depth at cornerback with some injuries there?)

I think you are always concerned about nicks. We feel reasonably content, without getting specific about our medical question, that some of these guys are going to make some recovery. Again, that played in a little bit in terms of our overall roster of adding another guy that has the potential to play some safety but also can go outside and play.

(With the preseason over and the first-teamers playing well, can you put into perspective where you are going into the games that count?)

I'm not a predictor. I don't do that. I don't want to put up any bulletin-board stuff. I do think this is a good group of guys and I think it's a good team and if we play well I think we'll have a chance to win. What that means I don't know.

(Are you excited about what this offense could generate this year?)

Every year is a new year. I do think, especially our first group, has played very well in the preseason. That is preseason, but there is a confident air in our locker room and I think our guys think that we can hold our own against most people.

(Some players are predicting that this team could make a run at the Super Bowl. Does that bother you?)

No, but I don't ever do that.

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