Packers XLV

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes...

Posted January 2nd, 2018 @ 02:01am

We've just witnessed the most tumultuous twenty-fours in Titletown since that time Gilbert Brown discovered the Burger King drive thru was closed. Dom Capers and Ted Thompson have both been relieved of their duties following the crushingly disappointing 2017 season.

Let's start with Thompson since this one comes as more of a surprise. Yes, he'll turn 65 next month and was the second oldest GM behind Belichick, but most believed he would continue in his role at least through free agency and the 2018 draft, a draft that will have the Pack picking 14th in the first round.

Like most of you, I'm excited about the change. Thompson's 13-year tenure will likely earn him a spot in the Packers Hall of Fame, for having the guts to draft Aaron Rodgers in 2005 and building a perennially strong roster that reached the playoffs in all but two of his 13 years as GM.

But there have been some significant misses in recent drafts, especially on the first two days and his conservative nature in free agency has become maddening as we look to take full advantage of the final act of Rodgers' career, hopefully the next 5-6 years. Thompson's rosters have always been among the youngest in the league. It's a solid strategy, but as the salary cap kitties have swelled with all of the TV money, it's become less risky to take some free agency shots: shots in the first week of free agency, not just sniffing for bargains at the flea market.

So who gets the golden ticket? Mark Murphy has said he will look inside and outside the organization--which he has to say. There are four legitimate candidates in-house: Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst, Alonzo Highsmith and Russ Ball. Wolf and Gutekunst have interviewed for GM jobs in recent years and they always seem to come back to the Pack with fancy new titles. Makes you think they've both been told they will be strongly considered as Thompson's successor.

Highsmith's been with the team for 19 years, but he's always seemed a little lower on the personnel pecking order than the other two--since they're the ones that garner interest from other teams. Ball has been the master of the salary cap, but don't underestimate his chances here. He's widely respected within the organization and could shoot to the top of Murphy's list.

As for outside candidates, I would think only guys with ties to the organization would be considered. John Dorsey would have been an obvious candidate but he cast his lot in NFL purgatory. That leaves Reggie McKenzie and John Schneider. With Jon Gruden's imminent arrival in Oakland, McKenzie's job is tenuous. Gruden would be wise to keep him: he's done a very good job remaking the Raiders roster. Schneider used to have an out in his Seattle contract to allow him to return to Green Bay but my understanding is he pulled that out when he signed his latest deal. I would be happy with either of these guys, but I'd be shocked if either got the job.

I've seen a report that says all of the Pack's top personnel guys could get new titles and it could become a committee approach. Give me a break; there's no way the Packers will go this route. You have to have one voice: remember when the Vikings tried the Triangle of Authority? Yeah, that's not happening in Titletown.

To me, it feels like Eliot Wolf has been groomed for this moment. I mean, the dude's dad's name is in the Packers Ring of Honor and you would have to think old Ron would be available to whisper in his ear, when asked. We've seen a young coach like Sean McVay (31) make his mark early with the Rams. Maybe it makes sense to put the team's future in the hands of the 35 year old Wolf.

But it's Murphy's call and he could be infatuated with someone else. Wolf will be the fan favorite, I would think. I'd guess Wolf, Ball or Schneider, though he might cost the Pack some compensation to the Seahawks, if he wants to leave.

Now, on to the defense. For Capers' replacement, I'll be shocked if the Pack appoints someone within the organization. I expect them to target a proven, veteran coordinator. There have been multiple reports that the Packers have their eye on Bears GM Vic Fangio, a Capers protege who has always bedeviled McCarthy, especially when he was in San Francisco. His contract is up in Chicago and they're bringing in a new head coach, so he'll be looking for a comfortable landing spot, and a 200 mile drive north to a team led by Aaron Rodgers would have to be appealing.

My next target would be Gus Bradley, who's a free agent after one year with the Chargers. He comes from the Carroll tree and his defenses are tough and aggressive. Of course, he'd be coming to a roster that has nothing resembling the duo of Rosa and Ingram, but there's a lotto young talent here that could use his fiery style.

John Pagano will be out in Oakland and is about as respected a DC as there is. He was in San Diego, before heading to Oakland and has to be on McCarthy's short list. He'll also likely consider Mike Nolan, who's toiling in New Orleans as LB coach. McCarthy served as his offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2005 (they decided they liked Alex Smith more than Rodgers in that draft. Thanks Mike and Mike).

McCarthy has already said he'll consider in-house candidates, which of course, he has to say. Joe Whitt, Darren Perry and Winston Moss are all viable guys and I wouldn't hate seeing one of them get the gig. But it feels like the right call is bringing in a new voice with new ideas to get this thing back on track quickly.

It's an offseason of upheaval. It started on Friday with the signing of Davante Adams and was followed a day later with Corey Linsley's new deal. Now Thompson and Capers are out. Rodger's new deal will likely be the new guy's first order of business. I have to think #12 has watched these events unfold and will be energized by all of them. Yes, Thompson's the guy who believed in him and stopped his free fall in the '05 draft. But he knows, like we all do, that 13 years is a good run and the Pack needs a jolt to set a course for his sunset years.

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Comments (22):

People here are still mocking me and my Packers! Just because I am from Wisconsin and am a Packer fan! Waaaaaaaaaaahh!! *sobbing*

on January 10th, 2018 at 03:20pm

I took this time today to look over the posts and am very amused. I/m worried about my viking fans getting way to cocky and confident again. don't for get the past. as I have said on here 3 times now, we have been very lucky this year. we have 3 starters out for this game.that's it. all year long we have played teams w/o there very good players do to injuries. I just looked at the saints IR list. they have lost 8 starters just on defense alone.LB's anzalone, klein, stupar, okafor, DT's fairly,hughes, and parry. cb breaux,and safety vacarro, and both starting tackles peat and strief, just to name a few. so keep in mind fans how lucky we have been. don't expect us to be back here next year. it doesn't work that way in the NFL. this is supposed to be our year, BUT don't say anything on the viking report , but we lose this week 24-20, Bree's is just too good. sorry.

on January 11th, 2018 at 01:37pm

You seriously listen to the clown PA? I give up!

on January 11th, 2018 at 07:22am

Welp, folks--your squad isn't so good when I'm not doing my job by ignoring your penalties and making phantom calls on your opponents. Maybe you need a better roster? McFlintstone--pass the vicodin!

on January 12th, 2018 at 01:26pm

WHAT THE ???? ...... Is Zimmer copying and stealing my coaching methods ??? ... I think so ....He would have never beat the Saints otherwise ! .... Also, all you people discussing the new GM and DC I wish you'd knock it Off .... they are totally irrelevant ....... the only thing that matters is that yours truly SUPER MIKE is still here !!!! ..... MM Out.

on January 15th, 2018 at 10:21am

Since half the comments on this site are from Vikings Fans, I'll say it here as well: Good game against the Saints. That was pretty cool. And, if you lose to the Patriots in the SB , I'll never forgive you.

on January 16th, 2018 at 02:15pm

Thanks @lynnDickeyFan : We still gotta get by them thar Eagles. they don't seem to be pushovers____ as the Falcons found out ____ I hope we win !

on January 17th, 2018 at 01:16am

What outside GM candidate would say ok to job that wouldn't let them pick their own head coach? It's Wolf's job because of this.

on January 1st, 2018 at 09:02pm

I totally agree that they should go outside the complex to snag a D coordinator. My choice would be Vic Fangio. I also think that Wolf has to be lead dig for GM.

on January 1st, 2018 at 09:11pm

Exciting times for Pack fans, but also nerve racking. You whiff on the new GM or D coordinator, things will get quite dicey in title town. I don't see how fans can possibly be that excited unless it's a complete overhaul and MM gets the can as well. I mean look at how long they held on to Hundley. That guy is not good enough to be a even a back up qb. The pack is still likely 2 years away from developing a solid defense and that just means more years wasting a HOF qb and inching closer to a life with him, and that is frightening...

on January 1st, 2018 at 10:17pm

New Defensive Coordinator? I’d bring in Jim Leonard - he played in the NFL and he has shown he can coach. Guys transition from college to NFL all the time and it works. Just sayin...

on January 2nd, 2018 at 05:50pm

First Rogers is a great QB and I will not take away from him. Though teams after a change at gm rarely hit it big the first few years and Rogers maybe has five good to average seasons left in him. Who will take his throne? I do feel with Rogers they would have been a 10-6 team and on the cusp if not in the playoffs. Sorry pack the Vikings are the better team at every level including offense. You have a qb and that's it. So will see but I think with so many holes the pack with Rogers will be borderline to make the playoffs the next couple as the Vikes have already won two of the last three division titles and I do not see that stopping with there coach. I know the feeling in NE as Brady maybe has one or two and we keep trading promising backups so we could be joining you as a cusp team though with Bill we always have something in the wings.

on January 2nd, 2018 at 07:37pm

HELLO REBUILD!! Get used to 3rd place in the division, because you won't finish better than that for at least the next couple seasons....

on January 2nd, 2018 at 07:48am

First of all a shout out to my old time friend and sometimes foe on this blog...THE VOICE. Voice..I know these are very troubling times for you with all these Packer changes. You and I are old guys but while I have been embracing change on this blog for years you wanted to stay the course in both personnel and leadership. Now...finally we are coming into the modern era of sports. The old TT approach of draft and develop while having its very successfull days is not the only approach anymore. The draft will always be important but going into veteran free agency with difference makers is todays world of professional sports. After Rodgers was injured this was exposed. TT's approach of using undrafted free agents and putting them in a scheme ( either Capers or MM) does no longer work. Talent wins out ( see Rodgers as perfect example). I called out for Capers and TT to move on in the last Packer Preview show and it happened. I also called out for MM to be replaced as offensive coordinator and keeping his head coaching job. His offense...even with a healthy Rodgers is becoming too predictable. With 11 draft choices and drafting 14th we are in position with the new leaders to make an impact. Will be very interesting to see who fills the positions of Capers and TT. Voice...You will be OK...just embrace some of this positive change. GO PACK GO !!

on January 2nd, 2018 at 10:42am

With Rodgers back we won't be third in the division. If we don't miss on the D coordinator and a little free agency help, we won't be third in the division. I think there is plenty of reason for optimism. I doubt we will be drafting many running back, for one.

on January 2nd, 2018 at 11:11am

Wow! Big news out of Titletown, very exciting times, thanks to TT and Dom for their time, but we need a few new voices in Lambeau to shake things up a bit. As bad as the season was, we did get to see that our RB stable looks like it was fixed, and Davante proved to be a playmaker. If ARod doesn't go down we probably move on to being a 2nd or 3rd seed in the playoffs, as the butterfly affect would've changed everything, offense on the field longer, defense playing with leads, etc. etc etc., but it would've also led to covering up the issues this team has had (namely Dom, TT), we got to see just how big of a bandaid that ARod was for them, and also proved why he is the MVP of the league. It's going to be an exciting year I think. GO PACK GO

on January 2nd, 2018 at 11:49am

According to sources close to the Packers the Executive Committee instructed Mark Murphy to replace Thompson after concerns TT was showing some health issues as he approaches 65. That and the potential for losing more of their front office talent to other clubs. They already saw John Dorsey, Reggie McKenzie and John Schneider go elsewhere and have success. Alonzo Highsmith is rumored to be joining Dorsey in Cleveland. Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst have been interviewed for GM jobs in other places. Better move now before more homegrown talent leaves. I think it comes down to Wolf or Gutekunst. But McCarthy stays as hc no matter what.

on January 3rd, 2018 at 05:56am

@Packerlifer wrote: "But McCarthy stays as HC no matter what. " You're darn tootin I'm staying ! ...... I have incriminating evidence on everyone .... EVERYONE up the chain of command Heh Heh Heh ! ..... MM out.

on January 3rd, 2018 at 09:18am

Yo Yo Yo...shout-out to my good buddy OSSG!!! Let me start by apologizing for my long absences here - my schedule this fall has been insane, and with the SB coming to town, will be even more insane (I'll spare you the details). Moving on...with the departure of Capers and Thompson, and you may be shocked by my saying this, will be regarded as a good thing. I don't think TT's heart was in it the same as it had been in years past, and at age 64 in a high pressure job, it's time to take a step back. And for Capers, he's had talent to work with even with all the injuries, but there was a disconnect between him and the players that can't be easily described. Whether he gets another job coaching somewhere remains to be seen, but for his sake, a change of scenery will help him out. Bottom line - Capers's departure will help this team by bringing in a new philosophy that should rejuvenate the defense. I'm looking forward to it.

on January 3rd, 2018 at 10:48am

Hello. And Bye.

on January 4th, 2018 at 09:06am

I listened to Davey this morning with Trent. Oh boy, with new coordinators, a new gm, and a fairly high draft pick......Davey is going to be unbearable this summer. He is going to love every person they hire and love the top draft pick. It's going to be so HOMER! I will have to tune in just to hear it.

on January 6th, 2018 at 03:36pm

Yeh, nothing like PA.

on January 8th, 2018 at 10:13am

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