Is The Ted Thompson Train Going Off Track? : Packers Insider

Is The Ted Thompson Train Going Off Track?

May 14, 2010 by  
Filed under News

May 14, 2010 ~ By Rob Reischel, Special to Packer Plus

~ It was February 1996.

The Green Bay Packers had just finished an 11-5 regular season that included an NFC Central Division crown and a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Those Packers ranked seventh in the NFL in offense and 14th in defense.

General manager Ron Wolf and head coach Mike Holmgren both were a little more than four years into their jobs of turning around a moribund franchise. Quarterback Brett Favre was in his football prime, having just turned 26 years old. 
Now, fast forward to today.

Again, the Packers are coming off an 11-5 regular season, although this one didn’t include a division title and featured a first-round playoff loss. The 2009 Packers, though, ranked sixth in total offense and No. 2 in total defense.

Ted Thompson was tutored by Ron Wolf, but he seems to have missed this particular chapter.

General manager Ted Thompson just completed his fifth year on the job, while McCarthy – like Holmgren – wrapped up Year 4. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers – like Favre – is 26.

In so many ways, there are enormous parallels between where the Packers are today and where the organization was 14 years ago. But there’s also one enormous difference.

In 1996, Wolf sensed just how close his team was to an NFL title.

He used free agency to sign defensive tackle Santana Dotson, kick returner Desmond Howard, wideout Don Beebe, left tackle Bruce Wilkerson, linebacker Ron Cox and traded for safety Eugene Robinson.

Where would the 1996-97 Packers have finished without the addition of return ace Desmond Howard? How is the Packers current special teams return unit?

That group all played huge roles the following season as the Packers won their first Super Bowl in 29 years.

Thompson has had four months to improve his roster since the Packers’ 51-45 overtime loss to Arizona in the NFC wild-card round. His scorecard currently reads: zero free agent signings, zero trades.

With such little activity these past four months, the question begs: Can Thompson get this team over the hump, as his mentor Wolf did 14 years ago?

Full Story

GM Ron Wolf realized his 1995-96 team was good, and close to a Super Bowl, but it needed a few positions upgraded. As a result, he utilized a little-known aspect called unrestricted free agency and he brought in some key veterans like Desmond Howard, Santana Dotson, Eugene Robinson, and Don Beebe.

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