If I were Ted Thompson ...

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson had a good offseason, but his work shouldn't be done yet. If PackerReport.com's Steve Lawrence were in Thompson's shoes, he'd start by promoting Greg Jennings to starting wide receiver.

If I were Ted Thompson, I wouldn't be sitting at my computer typing this column. I'd also be a lot wealthier. Then again, I'd have more hate mail, so I guess it's a wash.

Anyway, after watching Saturday night's scrimmage a few times on tape and Sunday night's Hall of Fame game snooze fest, I thought of six ways Thompson could improve the team in the five weeks between now and the start of the regular season.

— If I were Ted Thompson, I'd promote rookie wide receiver Greg Jennings to the starting lineup. Today, if not sooner. Sure, I can understand the logic of waiting a few weeks. Keep Jennings hungry. Keep Robert Ferguson and Rod Gardner hungry, too, in hopes the three-man battle will bring out the best in all of them. Still, the more time Jennings spends working with Brett Favre, the better. Unless he suddenly fizzles in the next few weeks, it should be abundantly clear to Thompson and the coaching staff that Jennings is everything Ferguson and Gardner are not.

— If I were Ted Thompson, I'd call the Oakland Raiders every day to see if the asking price has decreased for disgruntled wide receiver Jerry Porter. Yes, Donald Driver is a big-time player and Jennings looks like he could be the real deal. Yes, the Packers just got rid of one headcase in Javon Walker. But Porter would give the Packers what they don't have: someone who can stretch the field. Rookie receivers almost never produce even decent numbers, much less become standout performers, so Porter would be a good insurance policy to help an overall weak group of wideouts.

— If I were Ted Thompson, I'd be bringing in anyone and everyone who can play offensive left tackle. With Kevin Barry and Adrian Klemm out for the season with injuries and glacier-slow Will Whitticker lacking the mobility to play the vital spot, the Packers are Paris Hilton-thin at the position. That showed during the scrimmage, when it was a jail break for most of the night because converted guard Junius Coston and undrafted rookie Josh Bourke couldn't have blocked a statue.

— If I were Ted Thompson, I'd sign veteran kicker Paul Edinger immediately, if not sooner. If Billy Cundiff and Dave Rayner can't handle kicking in Lambeau Field in an August scrimmage, how can either of them be expected to perform with a playoff berth on the line with the wind swirling and snowflakes flying in December? "There is definitely a technique and a tact for kicking in those places, and the only thing that you can do is have more experience," Ryan Longwell said last week when asked about kicking at Lambeau and Chicago's Soldier Field. Edinger is no Longwell, but at least the former Viking and Bear is a weather-tested kicker.

— If I were Ted Thompson, I'd take a long look at rookie Abdul Hodge to determine if the linebacker is as good as he looked during the scrimmage. Hodge was everywhere, especially early, when the second-string defense stuffed a series of running plays by the No. 1 offense. Hodge's natural position is middle linebacker. That's the position Nick Barnett has manned since his rookie season. A popular sentiment among some fans is moving Barnett, but if that were the best recourse, one of the Packers' four defensive coordinators who have coached Barnett would have done it already. That means Thompson, a former NFL linebacker, must determine if Hodge has what it takes to play on the outside. If he does, the move should be made right away so he can learn the scheme and start getting comfortable after a lifetime playing in the middle. The current starter on the strong side, Ben Taylor, is the epitome of average. There's something special about Hodge — namely, he's a football player more than an athlete who plays football — and the Packers must find a way to take advantage of it.

 — If I were Ted Thompson, I'd put a bounty on Vikings safety Darren Sharper after the former Packer said Favre was "a little senile" for thinking this year's Packers team is more talented than the Super Bowl teams. No, not the kind of bounty Buddy Ryan used to put on the opposing team's players. I mean, a player who beats Sharper for a touchdown or runs him over on a running play or bowls him over with an outstanding block should be rewarded with a night out at one of Green Bay's hot spots. Like Chuck E. Cheese.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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