Interesting that the last few posts on Packergeeks have generated some debate over whether or not TT is even good at his trade. Read here about how Sporting News awarded him Executive of the Year, beating out the GM for the Giants.
I feel compelled at this moment to render my own judgment on TT. I’ve had a waffling opinion of TT from the start. When he came in and fired Sherman, I thought he was a quality GM and someone who had the stones needed for team improvement. Then, he looked past Jim Bates to hire Mike McCarthy (Mc-Who?) and I suddenly began to wonder. In the beginning of the MM era, I thought TT had hired McCarthy more as a puppet so that TT could rule the whole organization from his cold, lofty perch. McCarthy of course got off to a 4-8 start and I started thinking TT didn’t know what he was doing with coaches and/or player personnel. But one thing didn’t make sense: why would he take a flier on an unproven coach when there was so much at stake for TT himself for the coach to succeed?
When McCarthy and the Pack turned it around at the end of 2006, I once again began to question my own criticism of TT. After the surprising 2007 campaign, I suddenly started telling people, “yeah, I’ve always thought building through the draft was smart – TT and I think alike” even though I’ve always had more of a balanced building philosophy of draft and free agency . I began lying as I rode the TT wave. Then, Favre retired and questions swirled around about whether or not TT and MM did enough to persuade him to come back. And something still tells me that while that may not have factored much into his ultimate decision, somehow I believe it’s true, TT in particular didn’t make much of an effort.
Now, I look at what he’s done (or hasn’t done) in free agency and I’m starting to wonder again. Sure, results are on his side for his draft-first philosophy dating back to his Seattle days – but I am still left feeling like he could be doing just a bit more in free agency. I agree with brother Steve that this year’s free agent crop is weak, but I still think we should have picked up Warrick Dunn or Billy Volek. I’m pleased with the Chillar pick-up (a told-you-so goes out to those who criticized my frequent criticism of Poppinga), but there were a couple other options it seems he didn’t look into much. And, bringing in Frerotte? That guy is horrible!
In the end, the bottom line is, it is difficult to argue with results. I’d contend so far that TT had one iffy year in 2005 (most of that was Sherman/Rossley’s fault), one OK year in 2006 and one great year in 2007. Overall, it has been a positive progression. I think this year will be a real test though. How good is the defense that TT himself has mostly put together? How many weapons does this offense really have? Will Aaron Rodgers prove he belongs at least among the very solid QBs of the NFL? Will Mike McCarthy continue his creative ways and bring the Packers back to the playoffs? Will TT make 2 or 3 crafty additions to the team through the draft or free agency before this season starts who will make significant contributions?
If I had to make a more conclusive statement re TT though, I would have to say that so far, I think he’s done a good job.