Thompson Lauds Rodgers, Says 3-4 Not Dramatic Change
By By Lance Allan and Jay Sorgi
It's a second straight off-season of dramatic change in Green Bay, with an almost complete change in defensive coaching staffs and a complete formation change on that side of the ball.
Last year, the major change happened at the quarterback spot, when Aaron Rodgers took over at quarterback for the retired, then unretired, then traded Brett Favre.
Rodgers far outperformed Favre statistically, with 4,038 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions, finishing with a 93.8 quarterback rating, 6th in the National Football League.
Favre ended up with an 81.0 rating, 21st in the league, after a season with 3,472 passing yards, 22 touchdown throws and 22 interceptions.
Where Rodgers fell short was in the comeback role.
Not once did he deliver a touchdown throw to win a game, though he did deliver his squads for field goal opportunities in games they still lost.
The man who pulled the trigger to draft Rodgers in 2005, Packers general manager Ted Thompson, told Lance Allan of TODAY'S TMJ4, 620WTMJ and the Packers Radio Network that despite that statistic and a 6-10 overall record, Aaron Rodgers is still a winner and doesn't need to prove that he is one.
"Oh, I think he already is," said Thompson.
"He did what we asked him to do. He'd drive us down and get us in position to kick a field goal and it just didn't work out."
The greater culprit this year was the defense.
Seven times, in the final 7:17 of games, the Packers' defense gave up the lead.
With that in mind, the Packers made huge defensive changes, with six new coaches on that side of the ball including defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
His scheme will include the 3-4 defense, which is making Packers pro bowl defensive end Aaron Kampman move to outside linebacker.
Thompson, though, says implementing the change won't be so big of a deal.
"A veteran coach who coached the 3-4 for a long time said the only change is that one end plays with his hand up instead of on the ground," explained Thompson.
Other changes Packers fans have clamored for in the offseason has been one in personnel.
Much talk has come about trying to acquire defensive free agents like Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott.
Thompson, however, might not be changing his free agent philosophy for this off-season.
"I don't think it's going to be the helter skelter that everyone is anticipating," said Thompson.
Thompson said he won't have a specific need for getting a free agent to provide a new level of leadership in the locker room.
"No, not for leadership," explained Thompson.
"Free agency is interesting and helpful. It's more important because it affects your team more. It effects the locker room. You need to be careful. The draft is more long term."
In recent years, the Packers have been able to sign more free agents than they actually did, with large sums of money left underneath the salary cap.
That has brought criticism upon Thompson for not doing "all he can" to try to improve the team.
"I don't pay much attention to it," said Thompson. "You have to stay on your plan. You can't sway every time the wind blows."