The Green Bay Packers have zero plans to rush Ted Thompson into retirement.
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Team president and CEO Mark Murphy made that crystal clear Wednesday during a meeting with reporters in which he fully backed the club’s 64-year-old general manager.
“Ted and I, we have a great relationship,” Murphy said, per the Wisconsin State Journal. “As long as he wants to continue to work, and he’s still doing a good job — and I think he still does a great job for us — we want him to continue to be our general manager. At a point he decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore for whatever reason, then we would do a cheap cowboys jerseys search.”
For all of Green Bay’s grand success under Thompson over the past 12 years, antsy Packers fans have critiqued him for traditionally ignoring free agency in favor of building through the draft.
Thompson was more active on the open market this offseason, going after tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, while signing veteran guard Jahri Evans, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois and cornerback Davon House (a former Thompson draft pick who spent the past two seasons in Jacksonville).
That activity helped quiet whispers that coach Mike McCarthy was “fed up” with Thompson’s conservative approach to free agency, with Murphy emphasizing the two “have a great relationship.”
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The Packers have watched both John Schneider and Reggie McKenzie leave Green Bay for successful GM assignments with Seattle and Oakland, respectively. It’s fair to wonder if the team would eventually aim to promote well-respected director of football operations Eliot Wolf, but those plans are on hold for now.
Once a quarterback hits his mid-30s, it’s hard not to think about looming retirement and contingency plans at the position. Rodgers was squarely in the middle of such a situation early in his career, which involved his predecessor Brett Favre. The Packers’ current gunslinger believes his ability to play at a high level for a decade has been a product of one key factor: Remaining in Green Bay.
“I think we all have numbers,” Rodgers said. “When I was a young player, I remember thinking as I looked at some of the older guys, if I got to five that’d be cool, or eight, or anything after 10 would be amazing. For me, I think the longevity is tied to being a Green Bay Packer. I’d like to finish my career in Green Bay.”
As long as Rodgers is at his peak behind center, the Packers should always be considered contenders for the Lombardi Trophy. After holding off the Steelers to win the 2011 Super Bowl, however, it’s been a disappointing stretch filled with crushing playoff losses.
Despite entering last postseason with “hottest team in the league” status in the wake of ripping off six straight wins to end the season, Rodgers and co. failed to reach the Super Bowl for the sixth straight year. Over that span, the Packers have only had a first-round bye twice and home-field advantage throughout once.
The Packers have cost themselves better playoff seeding with stagnant stretches in the middle of each of the past two seasons. Rodgers hopes the team doesn’t fall into the same trap and customized NFL jerseys cheap again.
“Well, we got to start faster,” Rodgers said. “We didn’t start fast last year, we lost four in a row in the middle there. We’re a tough team to beat late in the season, as we’ve shown the last couple years. But we’re really tough to beat at home, especially the last three, four, five years.
“It’s starting to [tick] me off a little bit,” Bakhtiari said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You’re not guaranteed another year. Keep getting close and not making it is stressful. We’ve got to collectively — we’ve got to do more. … The Green Bay Packers — I mean, the trophy is the Lombardi Trophy. We have to get back there and win it.”
While Bakhtiari is probably being a little hard on himself, expecting rings and not relishing the feat that he and his teammates have accomplished thus far in his short career, his comments reflect some quiet hand-wringing that has to be going on in Green Bay.
The Packers have one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Yet there’s only one Super Bowl ring to show for Aaron Rodgers’ sterling career so far. The team has also won the NFC North five out of the past six years, but has only advanced out of the divisional round of the playoffs twice in those seasons.
With Rodgers slated to turn 34 during the 2017 season, there’s certainly more pressure to add more Super Bowls before Father Time catches up to the All-Pro. As Bakhtiari points out, the anxiety level is only going to continue to rise as long as the Packers only have that one ring — and several disappointing playoff finishes — to show for all of Rodgers’ team’s flare the past decade.