Ted Thompson and Packers Flying With No Safety Net

Peter BukowskiSenior Analyst ISeptember 25, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20: Defensive back Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers is attended to by trainers as he lays on the field after an injury as head coach Mike McCarthy looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bengals defeated the Packers 31-24. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The best lesson I learned on the golf course was never let one mistake turn into two. Time for Ted Thompson to learn his lesson.

Many fans bristled to find out the Packers had kept Jarrett Bush over a more experienced play maker in Anthony Smith, who was shining in the preseason. It got worse when the secondary became woefully thin due to injuries against the Bengals...but thank God Green Bay had three full backs.

Unless Kuhn, Hall, or Johnson can play some safety, the Packers messed this up.

No one could be sure if this would come back to bite Green Bay when the Packers made their cuts, but it didn't take an NFL analysts with Chris Mortenson's credential to figure it out.

Nick Collins was a Pro Bowl safety last year, and Bigby performed at a high level when he was healthy. Keeping Aaron Rouse despite his injuries made some sense because he was a supposedly talented player, not to mention a high draft choice by Ted Thompson. Green Bay traded for Derrick Martin, another 3-4 veteran and young talent on cut day, so keeping Rouse, Martin and Bush as back-ups seemed like plenty.

Now with Bigby missing extended time, Collins nicked up and Rouse not performing up to par (so much so that he was cut in favor of a young player who'd never played a snap in the 3-4) the Packers are stuck. If Collins couldn't go, they'd be forced to start two players who'd never been full-time starters and had never started for this team in this scheme. You can't win football games like that.

No, you can't plan for injuries, especially when they lose both your top guys like the Packers have. But Thompson kept three full backs...three. A position the Packers use maybe half the time on offense and we've got three players to play it. If you want to talk about special teams, I'm pretty sure Martin could have played special teams and the Pack could have kept Anthony Smith to be a back-up player so you could keep two fullbacks.  

So where is Anthony Smith now? St. Louis, the team Green Bay will face this week. Just another reminder to Thompson that of that wayward drive when he cut Smith.  

I have been, and still am a Ted Thompson supporter. Personnel decisions are not made solely by the GM, the coaches and staff have a big input in how these things work. THere's no way Thompson made these decisions without consulting Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy. The coaches decided Rouse was such a lost cause, that a never-has-been like Matt Giordano was a better option.

We know all about hindsight and what great vision it is. Could Brandon Underwood have gotten some time at safety? Should the Packers have kept Anthony Smith instead of three fullbacks? Should Jarret Bush be playing professional football? All valid questions. (I really hate ganging up on him, but c'mon the guy has done nothing but screw up every chance he's gotten, at some point it's time to let him go. If Rouse was booted for not playing well, Bush should have been carrying his bags out with him).

The Packers never should have cut Anthony Smith in favor of Aaron Rouse or  John Korey Kuhn Hall, and certainly not for Bush. We didn't need hindsight to see that, it was clear at the time and is even worse now.  

When Smith got his pink slip and 3 fullbacks wound up the roster, Thompson hit his drive way right. When he cut Aaron Rouse and signed some random no-name former-Colt reject, he decided to hit a wood from the rough instead of laying up, didn't hit it cleanly. Now he's laying 3 from 300 yards out wondering what to do next. 

The only way this isn't a snowman on TT's scorecard is if Nick Collins comes back healthy (and stays healthy) and the Packers can get enough from Derrick Martin, and gulp Jarrett Bush until Atari Bigby gets healthy.  


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