Sunday, January 4, 2009

McGinn: Thompson Is Doing a Good Job But He Is Doing It All Wrong.

Editorial by McGinn in today's Journal Sentinel (sub req'd):

The good news is that the Packers are in the hands of an experienced football man not easily dissuaded from a proven course who is a far cry from perfect but does rank among the 10 best GMs.

The bad news?  He trades down in the draft too much and doesn't sign enough free agents.  As I said here, and Aaron at Cheesehead TV said here, now is not the time for Thompson to waiver.

I respect McGinn even if I don't always agree with him (reasonable people can disagree).  Overall, it's a good and fair peice.  Nevertheless, he falls prey to a couple fallacies here.  McGinn writes:

For one thing, he [Thompson] has to stop trading down all the time. While it is true that more picks translates into better odds of securing good players, it also almost guarantees that the Packers will remain one of, if not the, youngest team in the league.

So the Packers should be more concerned with not having a statistically "young" team than they are with landing good players?  Silly.  This also falsely assumes that drafting 12 players means keeping more players.  Maybe, maybe not.  It all depends on whether the players Thompson drafts are better than the players on the roster.  There is nothing wrong with drafting 11 or 12 players are only keeping 6 or 7 of them.  As the roster becomes more and more settled, I would expect to see this happening more and more.   [Teaser: I've taken a look at Thompson's rebuilding project and am working on a future post on why the Packers are statistically young, and why you should expect that to change soon.]

Thompson also must be more willing to take a chance in free agency or the trade market. It's OK if he stubs his toe a time or two. His record in unrestricted free agency, clearly a crapshoot, is better than the draft.

This one drive me crazy.  I don't think I'm going to far out on a limb to suggest that Thompson record with free agents and trades (Woodson, Pickett, Grant, Chillar but also Marquand Manual,  and Adrian Klemm) is a product of Thompson's deliberate approach.  Put another way, his record is good because he is selective.  His record probably will not be as good if he is not as selective.

Stick to the program, Ted.

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