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This team is still built to contend

Ted Thompson will be remembered for making the tough call


Jeff from Loves Park, IL

How soon do you expect the GM vacancy to be filled?

Mark Murphy told reporters Tuesday he expects to start the interview process soon. As Spoff outlined Wednesday, you have to be thorough yet decisive. It's Murphy's job to gather as much information needed to make the best decision in the interest of the organization. There are going to be some great candidates internally. I'm not going to set timelines, but I expect an efficient process.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Are the Packers looking for the next Ted Thompson or are they looking for someone with a completely different skill set/philosophy?

*Murphy is keeping an open mind with candidates, which I believe is the best policy. However, I think it would be wise to revisit what Ron Wolf and Thompson built in Green Bay and look for those qualities in a possible replacement. *

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

As we search for our next GM, does all contract negotiation stop or does Thompson continue to handle that until his replacement is hired?

Thompson is still handling the day-to-day GM responsibilities until a replacement is named. For example, it was his pen agreeing to sign rookie sixth-round pick Kofi Amichia to a futures deal Wednesday.

Richard from Lake Havasu City, AZ

The question is how long will it take the new general manager and his staff to get the Packers back to Super Bowl-contending status? About how many years is your guess?


Six months. Six months between now and training camp. This team is still built to contend. As long as Aaron Rodgers is at quarterback, the Packers have a chance to compete for the Super Bowl every year. I don't see this as a rebuilding situation. This is a reloading situation. **

Jeff from Grafton, WI

Hi Wes. I know TT took a lot of ill words early on when he traded Favre. I did also with family and friends because I thought TT was a genius getting high picks for a 38-year-old QB. I then knew TT was the right guy. What did you think then?* *

With no risk, there is no reward. Like his mentor Wolf, Thompson risked it all on a quarterback. Wolf trading a first-round pick for Favre was a huge gamble, but Thompson had to make the most difficult decision any GM in the modern era has had to make for my money. When he stuck with a young Aaron Rodgers in 2008, Thompson's career might have been on the line. If Rodgers didn't work out, fans would've never forgotten it. Thompson has my undying respect for trusting his scouting ability and laying the franchise's foundation for the decade to come. Thompson will be remembered for making the tough call.

Mike from South Range, WI

I'm actually going to miss Ted Thompson's press conferences, where he showed his humility and humor (but not his hand). At one, a reporter said, "I have one more question, then you can go back to not answering Rob's." Ted smiled and quietly said, "Why just Rob's?"

Thompson's dry sense of humor at the podium will be missed. Bill Belichick gets a lot of attention for his news conferences, but Thompson's were legendary in their own way. He always was respectful, but never let anything out of the bag. While I know it's unlikely, I wish he'd write a book someday because it would be a fascinating read.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

With the draft being the next focus for the Packers, let me start with a cliche by saying hindsight is 20/20. However, what was the thought process behind taking Brian Brohm in the second round of the 2008 draft? While I know we mostly hit in that draft (Nelson, Finley, Sitton) we had a chance at Jamaal Charles. Were they taking precautions against a potential Aaron Rodgers bust?


Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers matched donations made to the Salvation Army this holiday season. Photos by Evan Siegle,

The Packers moved all-in on Rodgers in 2008, but were smart to hedge their bets slightly with the selection of Brohm. While hindsight is indeed 20/20, it's important to remember there were some pundits who thought Brohm would give Rodgers a run for the starting job. There's always coulda, woulda, shoulda scenarios. With the understanding no acquisition is a sure thing, I'd rather play the percentages and land the franchise QB.**

Michael from Brokaw, WI

Ted's most underrated move was signing Ryan Pickett. He was the heart of that defense. He made Cullen Jenkins a better player. He made the play of the Super Bowl. Without him we don't win that game. Lance Kendricks could be that same type of signing to make the difference. That type of signing wins Super Bowls. What's you most underrated move made by Ted Thompson?

Signing Tramon Williams to the practice squad in 2006. I remember one of my former colleagues being absolutely stunned when Williams made the 53-man roster in 2007. Truthfully, it was a bit surprising but he developed into a Pro Bowl cornerback in Green Bay. He was another unsung hero of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV team in 2010.

David from Marana, AZ

No Pro Football Hall of Fame for LeRoy Butler. RIDICULOUS!!

Don't get me started. No disrespect to John Lynch, but Butler was the better safety in my book. Baby steps, though. It was an improvement for Butler to make the semifinals this year. Here's to next year. For now, the voters can make up for it by letting Jerry Kramer in.

Malte from Odense, Denmark

Insiders, whoever our new GM is gonna be, do you think he'll feel pressured (for lack of a better word) by Ted's legacy and success in the draft to trade up in the first round and grab a big name?

I don't think so, especially given where the Packers are picking this year. Having a top-15 pick improves the pool of players to choose from. The new general manager has a chance to make a mark regardless of whether he stands pat or moves.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

Historically, is there any benefit to hiring a new coach or GM as fast as possible? Common sense says that there would be but that doesn't necessarily translate to actual benefit. For example, Mike McCarthy didn't have a ton of suitors knocking on his door but that seems to have worked out pretty well.

One adage Murphy referenced Tuesday was "fire quickly, hire slowly." Like any occupation, there needs to be a balance between moving fast and taking the necessary time to make the right call. I don't know the exact timelines Harlan and Thompson used in 2005 and 2006, but I remember both taking rather deliberate approaches. Both hires worked out for the best.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Could you explain who fires and hires who? Example: GM, Head Coach, President/CEO of the Packers.

The Packers have maintained the same hierarchy since Harlan hired Wolf as general manager – President/CEO hires the GM, the GM hires the Head Coach (and runs his personnel department), and the Head Coach hires his assistants.

Matt from Hartford, WI

I'm a little concerned with what direction we have forced ourselves into. Our personnel is mainly reflective of a zone-blitz defensive team, or is it? Does the next DC need to fit the personnel, or are we talking about a full reboot of our personnel on a new system?

I don't think a change in defensive coordinator will require a reboot of personnel. If you look back to 2009, Nick Collins, Charles Woodson, Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk were all able to make the switch to Capers' scheme. Playmakers find ways to make plays regardless of the scheme.

Scott from Wasilla, AK

I am writing as a Dom Capers fan. When he had Nick Collins, Charles Woodson, and a young Clay Matthews, his was the most exciting defense in football. If you can, try to let him know that a lot of fans do value his legacy and appreciate the creativity and dedication he brought to the Packers.

The hiring of Dom Capers in 2009 helped the Packers win a Super Bowl. His scheme brought the best out of Woodson, Collins, Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Matthews, Pickett, B.J. Raji and an endless line of other defensive playmakers over the years. From a media perspective, you couldn't ask for a better individual to deal with. He was asked a lot of difficult questions over the years and never once raised his voice. As Mike McCarthy likes to say, you have to step back and take the emotion out of these decisions. After reviewing the season, McCarthy felt it was time for a fresh start on defense. He'll get that in 2018.

Eric from Greenville, WI

Why is it so difficult for people to show respect, especially where it's earned? Capers has had more success on his worst day in multiple cities than most fans on their best, yet they act like he slept with their mother or something. And Ted? Built a Super Bowl team in Seattle, built one here, and had them stacked to win another in '14 and people act like he couldn't pick a player out of a bag of players. They aren't perfect, but they certainly have done enough to garner respect from the fans. Why do they find it so difficult?

With a few exceptions, it's tough for coaches and personnel executives to curry lasting favor with fan bases. It's the nature of the business in a league where only one team ends the season with a smile on its face. Capers and Thompson had a nice run in Green Bay and I believe fans will appreciate their tenure more in years to come.

Bryan from Thayer, MO

Who are some of the possible candidates for the DC job? I feel like we have enough talent on defense to draw the attention of some good options.

I'm going to be honest with you. I don't know. I know that's not a flashy answer, but it is an intelligent one. I say that because there are a lot of folks who sign onto Twitter and act like they know the right man for the job. Never mind the fact they probably couldn't name 10 actual defensive coordinators in the NFL. At the end of the day, only McCarthy knows what he's looking for in the next DC. There are some good in-house candidates, but it's possible he'll open up the search, as well. We should learn more when McCarthy meets with the media at 11 a.m. CT.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

I believe a healthy Kevin King can be a shutdown corner. I was very pleased with how Randall improved after his benching vs. Chicago. A healthy King and Randall will help the secondary. The biggest need I see is a pass rusher.

The Packers need more from their pass rush in 2018. An extra edge rusher or two would help.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

Trade up? Since 2000 there have been eight future Pro Bowlers drafted at No. 14, including Darrelle Revis, Malcolm Jenkins, Earl Thomas, Thomas Davis, and Robert Quinn. Not to mention, the last time the Packers picked 14th, in 2000, they selected future Pro Bowler Bubba Franks. I would imagine fans would be happy with any of those players.

This seems to be the overwhelming sentiment among fans at the moment.

Sean from Boonsboro, MD

We've seen the Packers re-sign Adams and Linsley within two days of each other. Will we see them re-sign Morgan Burnett before free agency hits? He's equally as important on the defensive side of the ball in my opinion.

We'll have to wait and see. Burnett said during Tuesday's final locker room he wasn't privy to any talks of a possible extension. The Packers have struck deals before free agency the past few years, even up until the 11th hour with the likes of Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga.

Mike from Novato, CA

Regarding the Falcons' trade to snag Julio Jones; Atlanta had had winning seasons before that draft, then essentially spent the entire draft on Jones. They proceeded to have two more winning seasons, then three bad ones (averaging worse than our recent 7-9 campaign). They were only made relevant again when they hit on a draft that produced something like five starters. It's almost never worth giving up the farm for just one guy.

I'm not saying there's a right or wrong answer. It depends on how you play the odds. Would you rather take four or five shots at scoring a run or swing for the fence with one player? By nature, I tend to be more conservative, so I lean toward the former. That's just one individual's opinion.

Steve from Fareham, UK

Any news on the Packers coming to the UK next season? It would be good to see them this side of the pond.

Nothing new to report, Steve. My apologies. Trust me – I want to go on that side of the pond, too.

Zach from Missoula, MT

Was Gruden aware that you followed him around Green Bay in his cruiser? Did you have a long telescopic camera lens?

I stayed at least 500 feet away at all times.

John from Apopka, FL

When you read about Adams' and Linsley's contract extensions it was extremely smart to do them before the end of the 2017 season so some of the prorated bonuses was placed in 2017 salary cap year. That saved money in the future salary cap years.

This is accurate.

Ben from Denver, CO

Wes, I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for the GM job. See my career achievements: Won six Super Bowls in eight seasons in Madden 2010 (Difficulty: All-Madden). Was able to annually trade my first-round pick to the worst team in the league for their first- AND second-round pick, thus stockpiling assets. Was able to manually change the positions of star players (i.e. made A. Rodgers a DT), thus reducing their overall ranking, allowing me to sign him to a 7-year, $20M deal. These are just a few of my biggest accomplishments. Please ensure this gets in front of Mark Murphy's eyes. I look forward to working together closely with the Insiders upon receiving my job offer.

Savvy, shrewd moves, Ben. We'll be in touch.

Noel from Norwalk, CA

Whoever is hired to be GM will be able to "do their job." How close to real life was "Draft Day"?

I can't think of the last time I've laughed that hard during a movie. Hey, I stole your scouting department to do "salary-cap troubleshooting" on draft day. There are some classic one-liners in that movie, though.

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