Throughout the season, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back to the weekly mailbag! Back by popular demand for the regular season, I’ll be answering your Packers-related questions here each and every week in my own inimitable fashion. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
From Derek Leo:
After signing Ahmad Brooks and Quinton Dial, some people have been suggesting a "new" Ted, some people have come up with fanciful conspiracy theories. Is it possible the two recent moves are classic Ted benefiting from a 49ers fire sale? And that the similarities in defensive schemes added even more value in Ted's eyes?
I tend to think it’s a bit of both, Derek.
The people who are positing their “New Ted” theories aren’t wrong as this is, without a doubt, the most active Thompson has been in acquiring free agents in many years. It’s a striking departure from the norm for a man who has notoriously sat on his hands in the recent past when it came to bringing in players who didn’t develop within the Packers’ program.
With that said, you’re absolutely right to suggest that both Brooks and Dial are the kinds of players Ted has gone out of his way to sign in the past, in that both have relatively inexpensive cap hits (Dial especially) who won’t count toward the compensatory draft pick formula.
As for the 49ers “fire sale,” don’t think for a second the Packers didn’t anticipate these guys coming free. The work a personnel group does often goes unnoticed, but there’s no doubt Thompson’s lieutenants in personnel knew that both players might come free, both due to their age and salaries but also due to the fact that San Francisco hired a new coaching staff this offseason and are in the midst of implementing a new defensive scheme, one that they drafted young players for.
Now, did the Packers know for sure both Brooks and Dial would be available? No, but they knew it was a good bet, and they undoubtedly did their homework on both because of it. Where “New Ted” enters is that it appears he’s willing to bring in a few more guys and maybe listen to his lieutenants a little more.
Thompson spoke a few times this offseason on the roster having possibly gotten “stale.” He also conceded after the draft that if that was indeed the case, it was no one else's fault but his own. It would appear, even at his advancing age, Thompson is capable of self-evaluation and growth.
From Zach Mielke:
No matter how much our defense improves from last year, I think they'll always struggle to sustain success just from the amount of time they spend on the field. People forget that our offense can go end zone to end zone in just two or three minutes at the pace they work, and that makes it very difficult for a defense.
Additionally, I think that's why we see better teams make early blow outs interesting like Seattle and Dallas did last season. Do you agree?
Not sure I buy that there’s a direct line from one to the other in such a stark way, but I hear what you’re saying Zach. The offense can certainly light things up and go the length of the field in the blink of an eye at times.
But I also remember this team having plenty of long, grind-it-out drives last year. (Go back and watch the Eagles, Texans and Cowboys playoff games again)
The fact of the matter is the offense will play lots of different ways. The defense needs to do its job regardless of how the offense goes about its business. Will there be times the offense “scores too fast”? Maybe. But that doesn’t change the brief.
As for early blowouts being made “interesting” Dallas certainly did, though I think that was much more about them executing instead of stubbing their own toes.
Not to say that kind of thing doesn’t happen, by the way. It absolutely happened to the Falcons in the Super Bowl. You saw a defense that had been getting to Tom Brady for three quarters run out of gas in the fourth. But you also saw an offense trying to go for a kill shot rather than chewing up clock, but that’s a discussion for a different time.
From Brian Johnson:
Hey Aaron, short and sweet question, which Packers rookie RB finishes the season with the most touches?
Hey Brian, short and sweet answer: Aaron Jones.