Last week, we discussed Aaron Rodgers’ not-so-subtle message to Ted Thompson that the Packers need some more bodies, particularly on defense where a lack of pass rush and coverage ability enabled Matt Ryan to do whatever the hell he wanted in the NFC Championship Game.
Over the weekend, longtime Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers writer Bob McGinn wrote an extensive piece detailing Thompson’s hesitance to sign free agents, and why this has ultimately hurt the team:
Thompson’s aversion to signing players that have been with other teams is holding hostage McCarthy and his coaches, Rodgers and his teammates and members of his own personnel department. None of them like it but they can’t do one thing about it.
Packers President Mark Murphy, the one man who can do something, goes about praising Thompson whenever the opportunity presents itself for the wonderful job he has done and the wonderful job he is doing. Thompson is a good general manager with a long list of admirable qualities. If he were a great general manager, the Packers would have been in the Super Bowl more than once in his 12-year tenure, especially considering his quarterbacks have been Favre and Rodgers.
McGinn went on to name a litany of past or current free agents — Antonio Cromartie, Perish Cox, Matt Forte, Vernon Davis, LeGarrette Blount, Dwight Freeney — who would have bolstered the Packers, but to whom Thompson likely gave little attention. He also noted how free agent signings Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett were paramount to the team’s Super Bowl run in 2010-11.
Thompson’s decision to draft Aaron Rodgers, and to stick with him in the midst of Brett Favre’s first un-retirement, has bought him a lot of latitude, both because it was the right call despite being far from easy at the time, and because Rodgers’ brilliance has masked a lot of the team’s deficiencies.
But, the window of opportunity for success in this era is dwindling, and as Rodgers said last week: They need to be all-in.