INDIANAPOLIS—The Ted Thompson show produced a flurry of information at the scouting combine on Thursday. Was this a new, more media friendly Thompson?
“I usually give away the kingdom up here,” he joked.
Thompson didn’t give away the kingdom, but he was forthcoming on several fronts, especially on the subject of former general manager Ron Wolf’s impact on the Packers organization.
“He has an effect on how this team is run because that’s where I learned most of his craft,” Thompson said. “He still means a lot to the Packers. It was a thrill for him to get (elected to) the Hall of Fame. He cares about the history of the game. It’s a well done honor. You can see around the league his influence in how organizations are put together.”
You could also “see” in Thompson’s words Wolf’s impact on the Packers’ salary cap philosophy.
“I think a lot of it goes back to the legacy of Ron Wolf. He set the organization up a certain way so that football decisions would be made by football people. It would be a football decision based on what’s best for the football team. That turned the organization around,” Thompson said.
“We feel like we understand what the cap means. We’re going to run our business the way we think it should be run. We make football decisions and not economic decisions; they’re all football decisions.”
Those comments go directly to what the Packers will do in free agency this year, especially pertaining to the team’s efforts to re-sign players such as Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb, both of whom would have considerable value on the free-agent market.
What will the Packers decide? That’s where the flow of information stopped.
“We’d like to re-sign all of our free-agent players,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s scouting combine media session drew a large crowd. He’s become famous for skillfully avoiding questions; it’s as though reporters enjoy the cat and mouse game.
“I’m not supposed to say negative things about this draft. There are players every year. I think we’re way too early to tell,” Thompson said when asked to evaluate this year’s draft class.
“I talk to the press too much,” he added, drawing a hearty laugh.
One of the subjects on which Thompson spoke is Coach Mike McCarthy’s recent decision to relinquish play-calling duties.
"Most of that was his own thinking. We had conversations,” Thompson said. “Mike does a lot of thinking and he examines everything, to the point of what he’s going to say to the team. He thinks all of that through. He’s thinking how best to use his time, injecting his attitude into different parts of the team. I think he wants to spread himself out a little more.”
His recollection of having scouted Aaron Rodgers?
“The game I keep bringing up is Cal was playing USC. He was so effective and so productive in that game,” Thompson said. “There are different ‘it’ factors for different players. They don’t think and act alike. There are moments during games that you can see this guy is something different. They see things a little bit quicker; they’re a little more cognizant of what’s going on.”
“I think all of this is important. All of this can be helpful. You’re looking for a spark in somebody’s eye, a twinkle. We’re not saying we’re soothsayers. I’d like to try to figure out – if we can in 15 minutes – if this guy is a good fit for your team,” he said.
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