Sydney Speaks! Jury still out on GM

As I thought about it over the weekend I might have been a little hard on the Packers' GM Ted Thompson. As I thought about it at great length I realized that he has made more moves that I approved of than not. Trust me, he doesn't need any one else's approval, let alone mine. Here's why:

Thompson has gotten rid of so much dead weight, such as guys that were under-achieving like Cletidus Hunt. Everyone has patted him on the back for that move. He also drafted guys like Nick Collins that everyone questioned, including myself, and look how well he has played. This guy played like he has been in the league for years. Look at the potential of Brady Poppinga even though he got hurt late this season. I believe he is a player that may be a rising star.

Another guy that will be a player in this league will be Will Whitticker, even though he had rough cuttings at times. With the experience that he gained this past season how could he not be a solid starter in the future as his confidence grows?

We all know the Samkon Gado story, which was awesome, but how did the running back get here? Ted Thompson and his staff found him.

Thompson also might have found a diamond in the rough depending on whether Rod Gardner has found a home or not because he sure looked like a player that really could contribute for the Packers in the future.

The other find was Donald Lee. He turned out to be the most dependable of all the tight ends last season.

Also the insight he had to sign Aaron Kampman back from the Minnesota Vikings last off-season for the price was a steal considering how well Kampman played for the Packers this year. Kampman might have been their MVP this season.

Part of Ted's job is to prepare the Packers for the future and I think he has young players in place to do so. Look at how many young players got a chance to play. Look at the progress of defensive end Mike Montgomery. Another guy that maybe a player in the future is free agent linebacker Roy Manning. This team is surrounded with youth and speed. Defensive backs Mike Hawkins and Marviel Underwood are prime examples of that as well.

Trust me, Ted will be tested this off-season. With free agency looming large and the Packers organization that he represents, Thompson will have to decide who to go after but also will have to decide who of their own to keep. He has tough decisions, like do they re-sign William Henderson back for his leadership and work ethic? Or how much is Ryan Longwell worth? Also, what about Ahman Green, Grady Jackson or Mike Flanagan? What happens with them? We all want Brett Favre back, but then again is he worth $10 million, or do they ask him to reconstruct his contract?

Then again there is the issue of free agency. Ted seems very uncertain of the value he places on going after players in free agency. In every press conference he talks about it like it's a necessary evil. Unfortunately, Thompson is old school, I believe, and wants the Packers to grow from within. He wants this team to develop its own players and not spend a lot of money on other teams' castoffs. But the NFL has changed and I believe he has to change with it.

This is why I am taking a step back and even though it's hard for me I'm going to hold off my opinion for now and wait to see how things unfold. I understand the firing of Mike Sherman because the Packers have to get to the next level and he didn't think it would happen, therefore a new direction. I didn't like the fact that Jim Bates didn't get the job because I believe he had earned the right to become the head coach, but that didn't happen. Ted Thompson hired Mike McCarthy and he hired Jeff Jagodzinski for offensive coordinator.

Now Jim Bates has left the Packers. If he would have stayed, it could have caused problems. Think about what could have happened if McCarthy struggles as a head coach and the players look up to Bates. What kind or situation could that present? Ted left it up to McCarthy but don't you think when McCarthy is sitting in the Head Coaches office and Bates has to walk by it every day, it might not eat at him? I know Jim Bates is a true professional, and that played into the decision he made on Monday.

So UPON FURTHER REVIEW, I have to wait and see what direction Ted Thompson takes the Packers.

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

Packer Report Top Stories