2010 vs 2005: Are we in better shape?

Great article from Mike Vandermause in the Press Gazette a couple days ago...his conclusion is that we are a better team NOW than we were when Thompson took over.

He compared the work that Thompson has done since taking over the reigns from Sherman as GM. He doesn't really spend too much time talking about cap condition or things of that nature which is a little bit of a shortfall of his writing. I didn't find too many that I would argue about though.

I might have called Favre/Rodgers SAME instead of better. Both are pro bowl caliber QBs who were playing very good football. Its hard to call Rodgers better at this stage but he is certainly up at the level Favre was playing at. Clearly the offensive line is the one place where Thompson has failed to successfully retool the team...not that this is anything new to us. Just an interesting way to look at it. Here is a link but I'll post his answers after the jump:

Starting offense

Quarterback: Brett Favre lovers will squawk, but the numbers suggest Aaron Rodgers (30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 103.2 rating, 4,434 yards) is an upgrade over a 35-year-old Favre during the 2004 season (30 TDs, 17 INTs, 92.4 rating, 4,088 yards). BETTER

Running back: Ahman Green was in his prime and coming off a fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season (1,163 yards, 4.5 average). Ryan Grant’s rushing numbers are similar (1,253, 4.4), but Green was a bigger pass-catching threat (40 receptions compared to Grant’s 25). WORSE

Fullback: There’s not much difference between an aging William Henderson and the John Kuhn-Korey Hall combo at the least consequential starting position. SAME

No. 1 receiver: Javon Walker had one breakout season but flamed out quickly. Consistency gives Greg Jennings the edge. BETTER

No. 2 receiver: It’s only natural that a 29-year-old Donald Driver (84 catches, 1,208 yards) had a little more spring in his step than he does now (70, 1,061), but there isn’t a huge gap. WORSE

Tight end: The difference between Jermichael Finley (55 catches, 676 yards) and Bubba Franks (34, 361) is like night and day. MUCH BETTER

Left tackle: Until rookie first-round draft pick Bryan Bulaga proves otherwise, Chad Clifton remains the starter. But he is older, slower and more injury prone. WORSE

Left guard: Daryn Colledge hasn’t come close to filling Mike Wahle’s shoes. If Wahle was a size 12, Colledge wears a size 9. WORSE

Center: I’ll take my chances with Scott Wells over Grey Ruegamer. BETTER

Right guard: Thompson has been chastised for letting Marco Rivera go in 2005, but it was the right move. I favor a youthful Josh Sitton over a long-in-the-tooth Rivera. BETTER

Right tackle: As with Clifton, it’s admirable that Mark Tauscher is still around, but he’s no longer in his prime. WORSE

Starting defense

Primary pass rusher: This designation will help in comparing the current 3-4 defense to the Packers’ former 4-3 scheme. Right defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was a sack machine in his prime but one-dimensional, and thus right outside linebacker Clay Matthews receives the nod. BETTER

Defensive end: Johnny Jolly is versatile and can be a force but has stiff competition against Aaron Kampman entering his best years. WORSE

Nose tackle: Grady Jackson doesn’t reside in the same ZIP code as Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. MUCH BETTER

Defensive line: I will take Cullen Jenkins over Cletidus Hunt any day of the week and twice on Sundays. But then, I would take just about anyone over the underachieving Hunt. BETTER

Middle linebacker: Nick Barnett still is the starter after all these years, and despite a potentially devastating knee injury in 2008, can still bring it. SAME

Linebacker: Brad Jones has only half a season of starting experience under his belt, but he looks good compared to Hannibal Navies. BETTER

Linebacker: A.J. Hawk gets criticized for not making enough plays, but his stock soars when matched up against Na’il Diggs. BETTER

Cornerback: Five years and one serious knee injury have taken their toll on Al Harris. He can’t possibly be as good, can he? WORSE

Cornerback: Ahmad Carroll vs. Charles Woodson? That’s like comparing my dandelion-infested back yard to Lambeau Field. MUCH BETTER

Free safety: Take your pick between two Pro Bowl-caliber players in Darren Sharper and Nick Collins. SAME

Strong safety: Atari Bigby has struggled the past two seasons, but he’s a cut above Mark Roman. BETTER

Backup depth

Defense: Five years ago, bench players included R-Kal Truluck on the line, Paris Lenon and Steve Josue at linebacker, and Michael Hawthorne, Joey Thomas, Jason Horton, Chris Johnson and Bhawoh Jue in the secondary. Today, Tramon Williams is vastly better than Hawthorne as the No. 3 cornerback, and quality players like Raji and linebackers Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop can’t even crack the starting lineup. BETTER

Offense: The 53-man playoff roster in January 2005 included Sean McHugh and Ben Steele at tight end, Robert Ferguson, Antonio Chatman and Andrae Thurman at receiver, and Steve Morley and Brad Bedell on the line. No wonder the Packers went out with barely a whimper in a first-round postseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau. BETTER

Other areas

Special teams: Other than kicker Ryan Longwell, the Packers’ special teams were mediocre five years ago, yet Thompson has failed to upgrade those units. SAME

Coaching: Mike McCarthy in four seasons has the same winning percentage (38-26, .594) as Mike Sherman in six seasons (57-39, .594). McCarthy gets the edge because he advanced to the NFC title game, while Sherman never got past the divisional round of the playoffs. BETTER

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