On Wednesday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ted Thompson revealed a stunning truth about his job: his goal is winning a Super Bowl. While that revelation is hardly shocking on its face, the context of his comments sheds a little bit of light into how Thompson views the role of a general manager and the goals of a football team in general.
Following his primary media availability, which you can watch here, Thompson met in a more intimate setting with Packers media to further expound on the comments he made in the open session. When asked how he views the Packers in terms of being Super Bowl contenders, Thompson should have put to rest any question that he is satisfied with just making the playoffs, saying “we’re getting paid for one thing. That’s get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. We don’t try for anything else.” He clearly was disappointed with the team’s finish, losing in the NFC Championship Game to the Atlanta Falcons, noting that “It’s not an easy thing to walk away from” and referencing the heartache and pain that goes into every season.
Don’t expect Thompson to change his approach significantly, however, regardless of his own age or that of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. His exact words were “It doesn’t matter how old we are” when asked if he would be more aggressive in light of those factors. “We’re going to try to do the exact same thing every year,” Thompson said; “We’re going to try to get to the Super Bowl and win it. That’s what we’re going to try to do again this year.” With that in mind, expect the Packers to continue with their same overall strategies as the offseason continues on.
Meanwhile, one of the main culprits of the struggles in the NFC Championship and throughout the season was the cornerback unit, and Thompson addressed that position group, particularly second-year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. He acknowledged disappointment with those players “to some degree,” but then said that “we have to take into (account) that both of those players were playing injured for much of the season.” Thompson also gave cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt a glowing review, saying he did a “great job getting his guys ready (when) we were asking a lot of them.”
On the other side of the football, Thompson glowed about the success of Ty Montgomery’s transition from wide receiver to running back. “I thought it was outstanding,” Thompson said of the coaches’ success in helping Montgomery make the switch, and he noted that it was always a possibility from the day he drafted #88 in 2015: “We knew that he had some pedigree as a running back and his body type ... coaches or personnel people are sitting around chewing the fat, we think about things like that.”
Still, it’s Montgomery’s attitude that seems to have impressed the GM the most about the situation. Thompson noted that “ he took the bull by the horns and he embraced” the move to the backfield - a great sign and vote of confidence from the man ultimately in charge of the roster.
Just a few days after the Combine concludes, Thompson and his charges will make a quick shift over to the free agency process, and he has about 20 players with expiring contracts. As usual, Thompson appears to want to focus on them to start, noting that “our best intentions would be to sign as many of our own players as we can and keep it together.” Some of those moves might happen sooner rather than later, too. “Over the years, we’ve probably signed several (players) right (around) the start of free agency,” Thompson said; “my guess is that’s what’s going to happen this year.”
With that in mind, keep a close eye on the Packers’ free agent players, and names like Eddie Lacy, Micah Hyde, and Datone Jones in particular. Those players appear to have greater value in Green Bay than any place else, and it would be logical to expect one or more of them to agree to terms sometime next week.