Most of us work 12 months out of the year. Until this year, the job of Green Bay Packers’ general manager did not carry that requirement.
Or if it did, said requirement was never fulfilled.
Former general manager Ted Thompson worked about three months out of the year, maybe four. When the season ended, he began preparing for the draft. After the draft, he sat around until training camp where, eventually, he would cut some players. Then he went into hibernation.
Occasionally you might catch him being propped up by a stick in one of the Lambeau Field boxes watching a game, the stench of his rotting corpse keeping everyone else in the personnel department away.
But no more!
Big Ted has been sent off to the nursing home. There’s a new sheriff in town and he works year round!
Brian Gutekunst has proven that not only by (gasp!) signing players in free agency before the draft, but signing players after the draft. Gutekunst added veterans Marcedes Lewis and Byron Bell in the past two weeks, strengthening two positions with questionable depth in the process.
Thompson never made such moves. Once the draft was over, those were the guys the Packers were rolling into training camp with.
Coach Mike McCarthy noted that this week.
“I think it goes back to Brian’s comments,” McCarthy said, “and just the conversations we had. Player acquisition is a 12-month process, and there’s definitely a pool of players that come available at this time of year.”
Strange that Thompson never noticed. Then again, there are apparently a lot of things Thompson doesn’t notice, like the drool running down his chin.
“This is a market that he wants to be active and aggressive in,” McCarthy said, “and once again, when it fits, we’re looking for an ability to improve. Any time you can add experience, and let’s not forget about the way these men fit into the locker room, their reputations, what they bring, that’s all part of it. Because you’re always focused on the chemistry and the culture of your locker room, and it’s just an opportunity to improve.
“I think we clearly have done that this week.”
That would suggest the Packers aren’t necessarily done tinkering with their roster or signing players. If the right player or players become available.
What a frickin’ refreshing approach after so many years of do-nothing Big Ted.