Archive for the ‘Ted Thompson’ Category

Scattered thoughts from a scattered geek

August 8, 2008

I apologize for not weighing in on all this stuff more yesterday – work picked a horrible time to be out of control. But I have to admit, over lunch and at other points, even when I tried to put down my thoughts on all of this, I would start and stop and start and stop – something I usually don’t do. I found myself battling many different and at times competing thoughts. So, I have decided now to just give you many of these fragmented thoughts:

  1. When Bob McGinn wrote this in his article yesterday “just about everyone who counted in the football department reached the conclusion that Favre could never win another championship” and dated this back to the Dallas Cowboys game, I had 2 main thoughts: 1) so did TT and “others” think that Aaron Rodgers actually would give us a better chance to win starting this year? If so, I disagree with this position and frankly it concerns me that our management would view the QB situation this way. 2) Doesn’t this somewhat justify Favre’s seeming neediness? Yes, I still think Favre overdid it, but if he had working knowledge that the GM of the organization, arguably the organization’s most important person, clearly didn’t want him to play, wouldn’t that at least have some effect on a decision to continue or not?
  2. Because of the above, I think it was Ted Thompson who started this whole thing. Favre then made it more complicated by deciding to retire in the first place, the unretiring, then saying stupid stuff through the media, then saying really dumb stuff about playing for Minnesota (which was a point at which many Packer fans I believe first grew frustrated with Favre). But TT’s attitude toward Favre started this.
  3. I don’t question that TT liked Favre as a person. But I firmly believe TT did not think Favre was that good of a player anymore.
  4. It could be that this GM was brought in just because the Packers brass knew that difficult decisions may need to be made toward the end of Favre’s career. So that may be in part, why they chose such a stoic, no-affect kind of guy (thinking he’d be good for an emotionally charged situation…you decide if this worked).
  5. If the Packers were 7-9 last year and Favre waffled and then wanted to come back and said some nasty things, I would probably be more sympathetic to management. It would also assist those people out there arguing that Favre’s talent has diminished enough to send him packing. But of course, that’s not what happened. They were 14-4 (and keep in mind, they didn’t have to play a first round playoff game because their regular season record was so good – something Favre was responsible for in good part).
  6. Brett Favre was the most exciting athlete in Wisconsin sports history.
  7. Brett Favre lied to the world when he said at his retirement press conference that TT and others did not affect his decision to retire. Sure, maybe at the time he was leaning toward retirement anyway. But when he said that, I suddenly had flashbacks to a certain “I did not have relations with that woman” comment by Slick Willy. I felt the same way when Marshawn Lynch made his first public comments after he ran that woman over and denied it. You could just hear/feel the lie.
  8. I hope the Jets are really good this year and Favre can go out on a high note. As crappy as he’s been through all of this, in the future, my guess is we’ll be able to look back fondly at his career as a Packer (I think I may be too young to seriously use the word “fondly” though. I think I’ll go now and sit on my davenport).
  9. I will always love the Packers above any one player, but if this Rodgers experiment goes awry, I will be quite ticked off. I’ll still love the Packers, but not TT. Not only have TT and co mortgaged our short-term future (which was bright) on this one player, in the process, they have taken a guy who already had tons of pressure on him and dumped 5x as much pressure on him with this whole fiasco. Maybe this will make Rodgers super strong mentally, I don’t know, but right now I think the honest truth (as opposed to the false truth?) is that Rodgers and many others are just deflated. Fortunately, there is some time before the season to get re-energized.
  10. I feel like this whole thing happened at the wrong time – too early. If Favre were truly welcomed back and also accepted coming back, and had an OK year this year, I could see really thinking about moving on. But the fact is, he came off of a tremendous season and many of us were very much looking forward to rolling into this year. It’s too bad he chose to retire (because he did choose this) but it’s also too bad that that decision was apparently based in part on feeling unwanted.
  11. I didn’t like it when people kept saying that the offense now goes through Rodgers and they’ve made a bunch of changes to accommodate that so the prospect of switching back for Brett would have been a really difficult one. I don’t buy that. Favre knew a bunch of plays last year and the offense, except in the Giants game, ran like a well-oiled machine. Also, if the offense right now is so geared toward Rodgers, isn’t that a bit dangerous – putting all the eggs in one basket – for a guy who has been injured twice in limited action?
  12. I really feel like I need to know, for my own mental health, what exactly happened to make both parties so pissed off. It still doesn’t add up that Favre would act like this. We all knew he needed some convincing and coddling to return, but none of us have seen such a nasty side of Favre before. As I’ve written a few times – nasty behavior doesn’t come out of nowhere. In mental health, you study behavior patterns and considering that he had never shown a public behavior pattern like this before, I think the inescapable conclusion is that there was some precipitating event that made him so angry with the team that he wasn’t sure what to do or say. And he didn’t manage himself well at all feeling like this. He seemed kind of all over the place when he talked about all this.
  13. I don’t like TT and his personality. I’ve never been much into that personality. And I can say safely if Rodgers doesn’t pan out, TT’s time in Green Bay may be limited.
  14. One question I have is just how good does TT think Rodgers will be? He took a huge risk by at least setting the Favre-out movement in motion. Bob McGinn writes “the Packers concluded that it would be the MOTHER OF ALL MISTAKES if Aaron Rodgers got away without being properly evaluated as a starter”. Really? The Mother of ALL Mistakes? That’s overstating unless someone thinks Rodgers is the next Montana.
  15. Something happened in this whole process to seemingly cool Favre’s relationship with McCarthy as well. I wonder what that is.
  16. Favre did choose to retire. There was pressure, yes, but he did make that choice and if he’d waited or perhaps chosen to come back and then retired later, that might have worked out better.
  17. If TT is right about all of this and the packers get back into the playoffs and go deep in the next couples years, many many people will have to give credit where credit is due and TT would probably have to go down with Ron Wolf as one of the better GMs in the game. I won’t rule out that possibility and I’ll certainly cheer hard for it.
  18. Lastly, I’m glad that TT managed to get something for Favre. While it’s still not enough, considering all that happened, it was a decent salvage effort for which he deserves some credit.

Favre to Jets – the deed is done

August 7, 2008

Ok, it’s in most publications right now, anywhere you go on the internet. From Tom Silverstein at jsonline, this is my favorite line:

The Jets sold Favre on the fact that the new (team HQ) location is in the suburbs and features some rural areas where he can fish and hunt.

I must admit I am relieved this is all over. What a messed up situation for everyone. One quick question for the Jets: did you do all of this just to jack up the prices on the seat licenses? Anyway, it will be interesting to see Favre in another uniform (if he doesn’t retire before actually playing).

But right now, I’m focused on the Packers picking up Chad Pennington – who is likely to be cut by the Jets. I think he would add very important depth to our QB roster. And, though I know there are others who want so badly to just have Rodgers be the unquestioned guy here, I don’t think stiff competition for the starting spot would hurt him. Listen, as I’ve written before, I think Rodgers might be quite good. But I’ve been wrong about a player or two (DeMond Parker for example, though he was never given a fair chance…). Pennington would not only provide real competition for Rodgers, he could also be a very strong back-up in case of injury, he’s heady and could learn MM’s offense well and if he does back up Rodgers, he could offer valuable veteran guidance, something this team has none of right now.

One concern I do have right now is that Pennington might land with Minnesota or the Bears (who still haven’t decided which horrible option they’ll go with as starter, Orton to start this week and Rex to start next week).

STEVE ADDS: Andy once again smoking crack.  Do you really think, after saying all off-season that Aaron Rodgers was the starter and only when Brett Favre showed up in Green Bay saying that he could compete to start, that the Packers would let Chad Pennington compete with Rodgers?  Crack, I tell you.

I’m fine if we pick up Pennington, though I suspect others will be willing to pay him more than we will.  But it’s not because he’s very good or because he might play.  (We know very little about Aaron Rodgers, but I’m fairly confident he’d beat out Pennington in an open competition.  Of course, I’m fairly sure Andy would beat out Chad Pennington in an open competition and Andy throws like Ty Pennington.  Come to think of it, Ty Pennington might beat out Chad Pennington.)  The reason to sign him is because he’s smart and, apparently, understands the game very well.  It would be useful to have someone like that for Rodgers to talk to when he comes off the sidelines.

‘Bidding war’ for Favre?

August 6, 2008

Green Bay Press Gazette is reporting that part of the reason for the delay in TT’s press conference today is that there is apparently a bidding war going on between the Jets and the Bucs for Favre. The fact that 2 teams want him and are apparently bidding against one another does score some points for the Packers management here. While I’m still waiting to see what really happened with all this, I must say there is slight comfort at the thought that we may end up getting something in return for Favre leaving…that is of course, if Favre actually ends up playing and reporting to that team’s camp.

Steve will immediately rip this apart – but I hope Favre goes to the Jets and we somehow get both a draft pick or two AND Chad Pennington out of it. Despite being a popular guy to rip on lately, I’m telling you, he’s still got something left. He doesn’t have the greatest arm and is injury prone, but there is something about him mentally that could make him a valuable player to acquire. And, as much faith as I still have in Mike McCarthy to develop QBs, I would feel way more comfortable going into the season with at least one QB who has NFL experience.

STEVE ADDS: No, I like the Pennington part of a deal. He’s a veteran, and he’d be a backup. (Plus, the fact that he throws noodles isn’t as big a liability in our offense.) Could mentor Rodgers. My only concern is that the Jets would see it as giving up their likely starter and I think (and the Packers would think) that he’s an add-on, with the draft being far more important.

ANDY ADDS: What? are you warming to the Pennington in Green and Gold idea? You used to Washington DC me (cut me off immediately) every time I would mention his name! It’s interesting PFT has a story up here, claiming Mangini doesn’t know yet who the starter is – my guess is there may be a reason for this. I sure hope we don’t get Clemens somehow (which I would highly doubt)…that guy rots.

Packers hired Ari to handle Favre’s “upcoming firestorm”

August 6, 2008

(Thanks to reader Ron LaCanne for pointing this out). Read this from WTMJ’s Jay Sorgi. I think we’re getting a bit closer to understanding more about why Favre has been behaving like he has:

People will be asking Favre lots of questions, and according to Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s Bill Michaels, Favre will have lots to say – some of it not so nice in the Packers’ view. Recently, the Packers hired former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer as a consultant to help handle the Favre situation and a possible upcoming firestorm in the press coming directly from Brett Favre’s mouth. “A person close to Brett said that he’s eventually going to talk about this,” said Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s Bill Michaels on Wisconsin’s Morning News Wednesday. “He said, ‘They didn’t hire Ari Fleischer for what’s been done. They’ve hired Ari Fleischer for what’s about to be said’. “Eventually, there’s a part two to all this. I don’t think it’s over.”

While I presently sit here quite frustrated with Favre for even mentioning going to the Vikings and other things, I have restrained myself from blasting him here totally because I continue to believe there is missing information out there that may be needed before making a firm judgment. I think we’re going to hear something really, really ugly and my guess is that it may be compelling enough to turn a good number of people against the organization. You don’t just hire someone like Ari for a simple case of transition.

Interesting Trav note re Campen

August 5, 2008

Trav – I hope it’s OK that I’m posting your comment (let me know if it’s not). Because the media and both parties involved aren’t producing the critical info re what may have happened, we’re left to try to piece stuff together. So, I’m posting this interesting bit of speculation from reader Trav. (Particularly important is Trav’s final question).

I have been passed on some stories today from college friends who still live in the greater Green Bay area. The word on the street is that there is more to the Campen story, when he went to MS to visit Favre. I am not sure, since this was so long ago, if it has anything to do with where they are now in the negotiations, but thought it was of interest. Word is that Campen went down there, spoke with Favre, things did not go well and Favre spit in his face, and threw him off the property. Not sure what the message was that he carried, but obviously it was not well received.

All unconfirmed and speculative (at best), but these two people have been right on stories like these in the past, given their close friendships with support and office staff at Lambeau. (friendships established in the early 90’s for the purpose of getting jobs there after college…to no avail). Again, could be nothing or could be one more factor to the whole overall saga.

(By the way. when does something change from being a “story”, to a “saga”, to an “epic saga?).

Initial reactions to McCarthy’s press conference

August 5, 2008

I caught most of the press conference just now and to me, the main theme was that Favre was unwilling to commit 100% to playing for the Packers. McCarthy wouldn’t touch questions re whether Favre talked with the Vikings. I got the strong sense that McCarthy felt Favre was unable to get over something that happened in the past – something the team did to him around retirement time that Favre finds unforgivable. McCarthy did give some odd answers though that may be somewhat revealing, but I’ll need to wait for the transcript before I can know for sure what he said.

The press conference, as I mentioned above, did confirm my suspicion that Favre feels incredibly wronged by the team somehow. I still think that perhaps the biggest question here is what really happened a few months ago to make Favre and the Packers both so mad. The more we find out the more I think we’re missing a critical piece of info. This press conference also made me even more suspicious that Favre has been trying to land himself on the Vikings and I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the mystery of the stubborn/mad behavior may indeed have something to do with the contact with the Vikings.

One curious question my colleague just asked: what if Favre is traded to Tampa and then the Vikings just trade with Tampa for Favre? Is that possible?

Writing on the wall

August 5, 2008

Perhaps I am overreacting here to some information in Jay Glazer’s most recent piece (actually, that is exactly what I’m doing – I’m a blogger). Read the whole piece here. Following is one tiny event I think might actually be very telling:

Favre emerged from the stadium’s loading dock exit at 2:34 p.m. EDT Tuesday, hugging Packers senior security advisor Jerry Parins before getting in his SUV and driving away. Shortly after, an SUV driven by Packers general manager Ted Thompson left the gate heading in the same direction.

I think it’s significant that he hugged Jerry Parins. Why would he hug the security advisor? I know Favre is rather affectionate, but this seems like something one does when saying goodbye. Sure, perhaps it means that he just isn’t sure when he’ll see his friend Jerry again. But more likely, I think it means that he knows he’s not likely to be around Lambeau anymore.

Also significant in this article is this line:

The continued disagreement on Favre’s role could accelerate trade talks, perhaps with the Minnesota Vikings – something Packers officials have suspected Favre wanted all along but have been firmly opposed to giving him.

Why would Packer officials suspect this “all along” and Glazer write this if there weren’t something behind it. More evidence for Steve’s Favre-to-Vikings post.

Divorce talks back on – Favre/McCarthy not on same page

August 5, 2008

Jay Glazer from Fox Sports reports here that Brett Favre met with Mike McCarthy last night for so long that McCarthy had to cancel his 8:15pm press conference. (I was tuned in to the press conference starting at about 8pm last night and was able to hear the reporters in the room. What initially sounded like regular conversation, I soon realized, was reporters practicing the asking of their particular questions – out loud. Brother Steve, you never told me you people do this. You journalists are odd, talking to yourselves like that). Anyway, Favre met with McCarthy and it apparently was amicable, but they still can’t see eye to eye.

Favre apparently noted on several occasions that he’s worried about messing up team chemistry (something that on its face may seem altruistic, but it could also be further evidence that he may be trying to wiggle out of this to play for the Vikes. “You know, I’ve been feeling bad about all this and just don’t want to disrupt the team any further. I guess I should just play for the Vikings then”). Among other things, Favre apparently now is in line with Rodgers being the starting QB.

I just can’t help but think something else is going on. It seemed McCarthy’s tactic last night may have still been to steer Favre away and Favre’s tactic may have still been to figure out a way to play for the Vikings. He apparently reiterated his desire to play within the division. When Favre first said this to Greta a few weeks ago, he even added “for obvious reasons”. What are those “obvious reasons”? To stick it to TT, the team, and all of Packer Nation? I just don’t get why he’d insist on playing within the division when it seems like such a jackass stance for someone who has been the face of the Packers for nearly 15 years (he wasn’t the face his first two years, Holmgren was). I guess what I struggle with most is that in Favre’s mind, there appear to be just 2 options: 1) starting for the Packers or 2) playing for the Vikings. It just doesn’t make sense – if he really loves this team and organization etc, you’d think he would rule out playing for Minnesota (unless again, he’s so ticked off about something we don’t know about, which I continue to believe is what happened).

Why did TT tell Rodgers he was the guy “no matter what”

August 4, 2008

The D-List (Milwaukee’s ESPN radio program in the morning) were talking this morning re whether the team’s/Mark Murphy’s recent words indicated that the team was softening its stance or not. In talking about it, they discussed how difficult it would be to go back now, and then pointed out that Ted Thompson told Aaron Rodgers the day after Favre retired that Rodgers was the guy, and TT apparently added “no matter what”.

First of all, why would you ever say “no matter what” and be so definitive about something that isn’t a very definitive thing. I think TT set himself up for some of this misery by saying this so soon after Favre retired. Now, I know Rodgers at the time was not only the most sensible option, but the only option, so I don’t blame the team for looking in his direction. But what if a draft pick came in and lit up camp or a veteran became available somehow who fit the system perfectly? But I think TT telling Rodgers he was the guy “no matter what” served to paint the team into a corner – especially should Favre want to play again, which of course is exactly what happened. I think a lot of this comes down to TT being stubborn and not wanting to go back on his promise to Rodgers. And I think that is partly why Rodgers was so certain back in June (read Steve’s previous post) that he was still the guy despite Favre’s growing itch. He was promised the starting job. And this is just part of why I feel badly for Aaron Rodgers.

But the bigger issue I have with this is that it was Ted Thompson who told Rodgers this. Listen, I’m glad we have a GM who seems to have an understanding of talent etc and that he’s really into his job. And despite my recent criticism of him, there are still many reasons why I think he’s a good GM. But it’s none of his business to declare a player a starter “no matter what”. That is Mike McCarthy’s decision. If McCarthy would have declared this back in March, I would have thought it was premature, especially if he said “no matter what”, but I wouldn’t have written a post about it because that’s his call. I just am frustrated that it was TT who apparently made this call to Rodgers immediately after Favre’s retirement to make this premature promise.

The only excuse I could see for this would be if TT was just fuming at the time because he had just learned that it was the Vikings and Favre’s interest in playing for the Vikings that prompted Favre to want to unretire.

Rodgers: 100% Certain that Favre Is Done with Packers

August 4, 2008

Ouch. How certain was Aaron Rodgers that Brett Favre would never play another down in a Green Bay Packer uniform? “100 percent.” That was June 27, 2008, just a few days before the Favre news broke. The conversation went like this.

Jim Rome: As far as Brett goes, are you convinced that he’s played his last down?

Rodgers: In Green Bay? For sure. 100 percent. I really don’t see him coming back with another team, but when it comes to, you know, training camp and maybe getting that itch again — who knows? But as far as Green Bay, we’re moving forward with the guys we got.


“I don’t know what’s going to happen when training camp rolls around. But as far as Green Bay is concerned, we’re just moving on without him.”