Packers general manager Ted Thompson spoke to the media at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday morning. Here are some highlights:
On tight ends:
Tight end? It’s the same as it was when we finished the season. ... We’re always in the market at all the positions. I’m not trying to be vague or general, but it’s hard to say. We’re always searching and we’re always trying to get better. Tight end is a position that we value, but we value a lot of other positions, as well.
On Jordy Nelson's status:
I’ve seen him around the building. He’s around the building a lot of the time. I mean literally all the time. He’s a workout, rehab freak like you would imagine, any of you guys who have been around him. That was a hard thing for him to do sitting out the season, but he looks great. You sometimes wonder if he was really hurt. I’m just kidding.
If he's running again:
No, they’re doing stuff more, machine stuff. I can’t tell you exactly what it is. I’m probably not even supposed to. I’m not smart enough to tell you what it is. Machine stuff.
Need a dual-threat player like Deone Bucannon?
There’s always a spot for a football player. I’m no different than any other general manager you’re going to have up here. They’re going to say the same thing. If the guy can play football, we can find a place for him. I think that’s the way it is with those certain players. You’re looking and figuring out different ways with the coaching staff that you can utilize those guys.
On recent playoff losses after young players made late mistakes
We value draft and development. We value free agency. We have guys, Julius Peppers, guys who have been free agents. If you can help us win football games and be a good teammate and that sort of them, you have a place for us. We’re not opposed to doing that. We’ve said all along in a perfect world, you’d be able to draft, develop and keep your own players.
On Ha Ha Clinton-Dix:
I think he’s played at a very high level in a fairly exposed role. We’ve asked him to do a lot of different things like everybody else in the league in terms of their safety production. But we do ask him to do a lot of different things and I think he’s done a really good job.
On being more aggressive with the window of opportunity:
Not really. I don’t think we go through life in the NFL saying, ‘OK, now we’re going to have this philosophy or a few years from now we’re going to have to change to some other philosophy.’ I think you have a philosophy in how you think is the best way to build a team. It doesn’t necessarily mean that those philosophies that people report everything that we do or ascribe to those are not necessarily true. Like I just went through, we sign free agents. We look at free agency. We’ve been doing it for the last several months about perspective free agency. No, we’re not going to chase ghosts because we think the clock is ticking.
On mobile quarterbacks:
I think it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a mobile quarterback. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to put that quarterback at risk no matter how mobile he is. But I do think that you see it all in college and it’s made its way into the NFL. I think you’ll continue to see mobile quarterbacks take advantage of their ability to move around.
On linebacker depth in draft:
I don’t think my job is easy, but at the same time I don’t want you guys to leave here and think it’s not really hard. We don’t look at it like that. We look more long-term. We want to see where we’re strong and where do we need to get more healthy. Does it apply to free agency? Does it apply to the draft or whatever? We’re always trying to make sure we’re solid at as many positions as we can be. I don’t know that you ever get to the point where you feel like perfectly set on a roster, though, because you’re always looking.
On if you could change/add any drills at the combine, what would it be?
I don’t know, and I don’t know politically whether I’m supposed to know. I’m not trying to be smarty, but there are people making decisions in that regard and nobody’s asked for mine and I’m not sure I’m supposed to give mine. So maybe the safest way is to back out. You can ask mark murphy. He’s on the competition committee and he might tell you.
Last 2 seasons have ended with OT losses without getting the ball, would you like to see OT rules change to make sure both sides get ball?
That’s another question that’s probably a little higher than my pay grade. There are people here that can answer that question and give you reasons behind it. I’m talking about studies, 20 year studies and 30 year studies and things like that that I’m not privy to. I think you’d be better off getting an answer from them.
Anything on the possible re-signing of Starks and Jones?
Yeah, they’re part of the group that we’d like to have back. Sure.
On the 2015 season:
My summary for last year is I think we played well. We were typical in that we started off with a really good win streak. Then we stubbed our toe a little bit as we got along. Then we put ourselves in a position to get in the playoffs and had a chance to advance and lost a tough game. … I think we’re a solid team. I think we’ve got good players at places that you need good players. I don’t think we have a lot of weaknesses, so I think we’re going to be a competitive team for some time to come.
On good guards:
First of all the offense goes nuts if you don’t have good guard play. secondly, good guard play, the same thing would be for good tackle play. you need to have the size, the length, the strength, the power, the ability to force their will on other people. Timing, finesse. It’s not a secret. None of these things are secrets. Offensive line play in the national football league is a difficult thing to do. I admire the ones that can do it, and they’re not easy to find.
On determining how to fill a need, veteran or rookie?
We work that with our personnel group in green bay and kind of plot out what’s available. First you have to know what’s available, and not only know it but evaluate and be honest about your evaluation. Sometimes you can label a guy as someone who can come in and do this or this, and in fact they can’t don’t this or this. That’s where you kind of get in trouble.
On Ben McAdoo:
I like Ben. I thought he was a very good offensive mind, which he was very devoted to when he was in Green Bay, worked well with the quarterbacks, good guy, good coach.
As a head coach?
You never know how that’s going to work, but I would think he’d be good at it. That’s not the easiest environment probably, being in New York. I’m from a little town in Texas, so I don’t know.
On Calvin Johnson:
Well, he’s still a very good player. There’s a part of me that would like to make sure he gets the note that I think he should retire. But that’s his business. He’s a professional football player. Just from a far, and I’ve never been around him, but from a far he seems to be one of the more impressive professional athletes there is in terms of the way he conducts himself and that sort of thing. I wish him well, but he’s way smarter than I am and I’m sure he can figure it out.
On Mike McCarthy’s reported frustration with Thompson’s lack of activity in free agency:
Yeah, I don’t know. I saw that, too, I don’t know where that came from.
On managing the cap:
Well, I’m not sure. We work at our stuff just like 31 other teams work at their stuff. I don’t know that we have any secrets in that. We try to make sure that we have the facilities or the players to fit roles, so I don’t know how in depth I want to get on that. It’s not a secret, but we work pretty hard at managing the business side of it. That has to come up from time to time and often times at this time of the year. That was a sorry answer, but I apologize.