Ha Ha Clinton-Dix questions draft-and-develop strategy in Green Bay

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Through the life of true free agency, the Packers have been truly hesitant to fully utilize this tool for improving the roster. Despite making a huge splash with the successful recruitment of Reggie White in 1993, the Packers have been overly cautious since then, with the biggest arrivals coming in 2006 (Charles Woodson), Julius Peppers (2013), and Martellus Bennett (2017).

The last one was a disaster, and that could cause the Packers to retreat from signing veterans from other teams. Veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks at it a different way. Asked whether the draft-and-develop strategy leaves the Packers vulnerable when starters suffer injuries, Clinton-Dix agreed wholeheartedly.

I think that’s exactly what it is,” Clinton-Dix said, via Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We go from our starters to basically [street] free agent players. Sometime that can hurt as we’ve seen through the years that I’ve been here, that we don’t have the guys behind us that we had. Jarrett Bush [was] here when I was a rookie. We don’t have the Micah Hydes that can step in, we don’t have the Chris Banjos or the Sean Richardons that can step in and be held accountable. I think that’s the biggest thing we’re missing.”

The players mentioned (all defensive backs) by Clinton-Dix each got their starts with the Packers. Two of them left via free agency, replaced by younger (and cheaper) players. Those younger players start off as unproven, which creates risk if/when injuries happen.

So it’s not just about spending money on strangers to the team. It’s about spending money to keep players who will provide the depth necessary when injuries happen.

Of course, this approach requires a willingness to spend money and to burn up cap space on players other than starters. But with rookies so much cheaper than before, most teams should have the ability to augment the starting lineup with reliable backups.

Even if they don’t, the challenge arising from the draft-and-develop approach is to draft the right players, and to properly develop them. The Packers arguably haven’t been doing enough of one or the other, or both, in recent years.

56 responses to “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix questions draft-and-develop strategy in Green Bay

  1. Impossible. I’ve been assured that the Packers had success last year because of their great depth. Clearly, the strategy of amassing multiple sixth-round picks, throwing darts at a board to make drafting decisions, and ignoring available players who can help them is working.

  2. The draft and develop approach is actually the approach used by every single team in the NFL. It’s just that some teams are better at it than others, and most teams add to that approach by considering free agents who can step in and fill a need that can’t be addressed in the draft.

  3. Still. Even now. They can’t control their urges. The Viking trolls keep coming back.

    “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
    -Vikings fans, to Packer fans.

  4. Clinton-Dix has no idea what he’s talking about. The philosophy of building through the draft is a great idea. That’s not the problem. The problem is when you don’t have good talent evaluators. A solid scouting department can find good players throughout the entire draft. It’s not just a matter of hitting on your first round pick. A HOF QB can cover up a lot, but you better make sure he stays healthy.

  5. Boy did the Packers mess up with Micah Hyde. 32.5 million over 5 years is nothing for one of the games best starting strong safeties… a little over 6 million a season for a player that is literally a game changer is peanuts. What’s funny is that the Packers had an edge on keeping him because he wanted to remain a packer… they probably could have had him signed at 5 million a year over the next 5 yrs… crazy to pass that up! Remember, Defenses build championships, It’s rare to win a SB with a great offense and horrible Defense.

  6. He’s right about Micah Hyde. The Packers didn’t think he was worth keeping around – goes to Buffalo and is playing like one of the best safeties in the league right now with 5 INT’s on the season and a first ballet Pro Bowler. Not to mention he was instrumental in breaking the Bills playoff drought.

  7. The Draft and Develop of GB has failed not only in the players selected the last 6 seasons overall but has failed to develop leadership from that system on the defensive side of the ball, which is the Archilles heel of this team. Matthews is a prime example of failed growth of leadership.

  8. Meh, as mentioned I think HHCD needs to worry about his own play first.

    Yes, letting Hyde go hurt us – I’ll admit that he and Heyward walking were boneheaded mistakes and is one of the reasons I’m glad TT is gone. But Banjo and Richardson? Well, Banjo spent a lot of time on the roster and never really got past the point of being mediocre. Richardson was a shining spot that was poised to be huge, but had a career ending neck injury.

    But looking at the replacements – Kevin King is going to be a pretty good DB once his shoulder is taken care of this off season. Also, Josh Jones isn’t no slouch either. I think give him another 3 years and he MAY be a pro bowl contender.
    Yeah things didn’t work out this season for the Pack. But to start throwing your team mates under the bus because you don’t think they’re good enough?

    That’s how you find yourself getting replaced by one of those “[Street] Free Agent Players”….

  9. HHCD is right. Ted was too conservative, and when you don’t hit it out of the park in the draft, you have to augment your roster through other means. That said, if Ted wanted, he could have another GM job in an instant. GB keeping him as a senior advisor and moving on is a coup.

    Also, HHCD played like crap this past year. He should remember that before he talks.

  10. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix really needs to look in the mirror and decide if he wants to be a football player or not. His performance against the Lions was worse than inexcusable.

  11. You can dislike Belichick all you want, but his strategy of paying moderate contracts to many players instead of stupidly huge contracts to a handful of star players gives the Pats good depth every year.

    They just gave that receiver 14 mil a year as a prime example of an overpaid player. Yes he’s a fine receiver, but nuts to pay him that kind of money.

  12. Packer fans are loyal, I’ll give them that. For years they have argued that Ted Thompson was a genius, the Packers didn’t need free agents, trades, or many of the tools other GM’s used to augment their teams. He routinely missed on 1st round picks, but fans would argue he excelled in the later rounds and with undrafted college free agents. How often did Thompson take a player in the 1st round that left people asking, “who?” Now his actions have come to fruition and even the players know it. It will take years for the Packers to build back any kind of depth, all while once again wasting the leagues best QB in his prime. Congratulations on your one Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in league history. Most GM’s could have gotten a few more by just doing an adequate job. Packer winter is here and it will be cold for a long time.

  13. “It’s about spending money to keep players who will provide the depth necessary when injuries happen.”

    Really? It took this season for the Packers to figure out what everybody on the planet already knew. Do they get internet in Green Bay yet? The dumpster fire is roaring!

  14. It keeps getting worse and worse in Green Bay.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the league is sitting back with popcorn in hand watching this disaster.

  15. 1. As noted by others, #21 has work to do before he offers his opinion on others. He flat-out quit in the Detroit game. If he couldn’t or didn’t want to play he should have taken himself out.
    2. No GM hits on every pick. Thompson has hit on quite a few.
    3. Even with mittens on, Heidi fans should be able to count to 2 for recent Packer Super Bowl wins. How many have your heroes won with their Hall of Fame QBs, great defenses, and magical GMs?
    4. Pack will be back next season, and in the playoffs.

  16. Spending in free agency doesn’t happen in a vacuum – you are going to have to outbid the usual suspects for most of the decent FA’s – Dallas, Cleveland, and other bad teams.

    It’s all about coaching and working with the players you have. The Patriots have been dominant for almost 2 decades and they break the bank about as often as Green Bay.

    Every year the bottom feeders splash the cash and every year that’s where they stay.

  17. “Congratulations on your one Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in league history.”

    LOL, I demand a recount.

  18. Or, they need to make changes in their strength and conditioning people and procedures to cut down on the number of player games lost to injuries. When some teams consistently have multiple players missing multiple games, and other teams consistently don’t, that’s not luck. That’s a system thing.

  19. And some of those free agent guys you mentioned were only signed because they were cut by their original team, meaning the Packers wouldn’t have to give up comp picks.

    High priced free agents are almost always a bust, but to basically completely ignore the system in place is outright stupid. You can always bring in 3 or 4 quality veterans that are past their second contract and will be very cheap. These guys will be SO MUCH BETTER than some rookie you pick up of the street.

  20. mnfaninil says:
    “Congratulations on your one Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in league history.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Your credibility went right out the window with that one sentence.
    The Packers won SB in 1997 against the Pats, lost against Denver in 97, and won again in 2010 vs the Steelers. Research before looking stupid.

  21. Dear Ha Ha. Sam Shields was a street free agent and the Packers still haven’t recovered from HIS loss. Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson were nothing but special teams contributors. Jarret Bush (core special teamer) was terrible in coverage except for the last half-season of 2010, and his most important play came when he blew his coverage and jumped a route someone else was responsible for. He was toast whenever he was on the field, much like Bhawoh Jue. Two worst coverage players I recall, and given the state of recent Packer secondaries that says a lot. Hyde I liked but he wasn’t a great fit for the Departed Dom’s defense. Now if you mentioned Casey Heyward …..

  22. HHCD mentions Bush, Hyde, Banjo and Richardson as his reason that you need good depth like those guys instead of UDFAs. Of those 4, all were UDFA except for Hyde (5th round).
    Bush and Banjo started with other teams as UDFA but were later signed by GB. So HHCD contradicts his argument with his ignorance.

    Of the current DBs, Evans and Brice both look like promising UDFAs, and Pipkins also has shown some ability.

  23. mnfaninil says:
    January 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    How often did Thompson take a player in the 1st round that left people asking, “who?”?
    ____________________________
    Never. If you don’t know who a player is selected in the first round of an NFL draft then you probably don’t know much about football. Maybe people asked “why?”, but never who. Like, Why Ponder picks like Matt Kalil, Patterson and Treadwell? Enjoy your season but the narrative the Packers won’t be competitive for many years….. that’s just your wishful thinking. Now if Rodgers was on his way out of town….

  24. TheVikingsHaveHowManySBTrophys? says:

    January 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    mnfaninil says:
    “Congratulations on your one Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in league history.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Your credibility went right out the window with that one sentence.
    The Packers won SB in 1997 against the Pats, lost against Denver in 97, and won again in 2010 vs the Steelers. Research before looking stupid.

    he meant Rodgers and hundley

  25. What a dope. Ha Ha was supposed to be a Defensive Leader, instead he was a guy that totally regressed, dropped picks in right in his hands, played uninspired, & looked like he quit on the Team with his lack of effort for half the season. Instead of complaining, how about raise your level of play & actually do something that changes a game in a positive way for once.

    Love his references too, Bush was facing a steroid suspension if anyone signed him, Richardson cannot play due to a career ending neck injury, Banjo was a Special Teams Star who played with a heck of a lot more heart than Dix did this year, & Hyde, nice player but everyone complained how he was a hair slow all tie time when TE’s used to make catch after catch on him.

    Maybe we should have signed Hyde though, that way Dix could have been one of the “non street free agent” back-ups he says we need if he sat the bench behind Hyde.

  26. Seahawks last minute gave up a 2nd for Sheldon Richardson and mid season a 3rd and a 5th for big bad Duane Brown. Where did that get them? Out of the playoffs minus 3 picks and 10-12 million added to their cap.

  27. I can agree that he sometimes was left with receivers uncovered by others, but unfortunately Ha Ha didn’t give the Street Free Agents any tackling lessons this season. He’s got the talent to bounce back. Hope he realizes it.

  28. stellarperformance says:
    January 2, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Still. Even now. They can’t control their urges. The Viking trolls keep coming back.

    “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
    -Vikings fans, to Packer fans.
    _________

    Oh, I see. You’re going to spend years telling us about the greatness of Ted Thompson, the Packers organization, and the depth on the roster, always comparing them to the Vikings, but when Viking fans are proven right and the whole thing blows up in your face, you expect us to remain quiet so you don’t have to face the humiliation of the truth.

    If (that’s IF) the Vikings lose in the playoffs, I’ll expect you to say nothing.

  29. The Pack actually have 2 SB trophies since Favre joined in ’92 but ONLY 2. Yes, the Vikes are looking for their 1st one but the Pack have had 2 HOF QBs the last 25 years and only have 2 – That is just a total travesty!!

  30. In Teddy We Trust says:
    January 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Oh, I see. You’re going to spend years telling us about the greatness of Ted Thompson, the Packers organization, and the depth on the roster, always comparing them to the Vikings, but when Viking fans are proven right
    ___________________
    Okay right here, this is the crux of the purple problem. By your own admission you have been waiting for years to be actually “proven right” and yet your fanbase repeats the same skold schtick over and over and over. Whether you are then currently right or wrong. Nine years later the Packers miss the playoffs and you are “proven right”? At least you have retired the one-and-done mantra….

  31. HHCD took a step back this year IMO. I am hoping he will benefit under a new scheme. He is a great player, but he seemed to be lazily lost out there a number of times. Losing AR for most of a season is enough to deflate the teams morale, but in general the defense was abysmal. Having said that, the offense was nothing great either, but you can’t replace what we lost. Thats the nature of the NFL when you lose an all world player. The defense for the most part was some what healthy. We got torched by everyone including cleveland this year, especially on 3rd and long. We were the closest to the browns winning a game this year. He is correct about the talent, or lack thereof, at CB. Last year it was Gunter, who was unimaginably awful. We let teams run wide open on us and we rarely get stops when we need them. We can’t afford to just sign everyone, but we can try to sign the right players who can help.

    Hoping a new GM and DC are enough to get the team, the defense especially, onto a better league average. I don’t think anyone expects a top 10 defense by any stretch.

  32. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix needs to shut up and play the game! Period! This kid puts way too much energy into his social media opinions and not enough into “making a flip’n play” on the field!!! Figure out how to get yourself into a position to challenge a third down completion within the 16 – 3 hour periods during the season. Dix is a perfect example of lacking the “leadership” skills of hard work and performance in his play. He sure has a lot to say through the tapping of his fingers on keyboard. If only the heart of a champion were in his body…..

  33. The Packers should just go into rebuild-mode. This dumpster fire was smoldering for years- Rodgers going out was just the gasoline that fueled it- exposing this organization for what it was. Amazing how one player could cover-up all that ineptitude.

  34. Pure Draft and Develop just doesn’t work as well as it used to before the last CBA. All the new restrictions and time limitations regarding how much time coaches can work with young players in the Spring seriously limits development. This is particularly true for offensive linemen and QB’s who came from spread offenses which dominate the college ranks lately. It also applies to every other position, but to a somewhat lesser extent. The Packers need to change with the times!

  35. “Rodgers going out was just the gasoline that fueled it- exposing this organization for what it was. Amazing how one player could cover-up all that ineptitude.”

    Clearly the G.O.A.T. Packers have been a Top 4 team for years with Rodgers, and are the Browns w/o him. Contrary to purple trolls, many of us Packer fans knew this was the case before it happened. Which is why Rodgers is clearly the G.O.A.T. 4-1 with him pre-injury, 3-7 without. In 2013 it was 6-1 with him, 2-6-1 without. NE is great with Brady, but has Garoppolo even lost an NFL game yet (the answer is no, for both NE & SF)? The Pats keep winning, they even won every game with Brissett when he was healthy, and were 11-5 with Cassel when Brady was injured in 2008. Rodgers has led a crap team with a crappy coach to the playoffs eight straight years, incl a Super Bowl win and multiple NFC championship games. Hopefully they can extend him for under $50M/year even though he has shown that he is worth more than half of the team cap.

  36. TheVikingsHaveHowManySBTrophys? says:
    January 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm
    mnfaninil says:
    “Congratulations on your one Super Bowl with two of the best QBs in league history.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Your credibility went right out the window with that one sentence.
    The Packers won SB in 1997 against the Pats, lost against Denver in 97, and won again in 2010 vs the Steelers. Research before looking stupid.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Talk about looking stupid…Packers played in two Superbowls in 1997. Who knew?

  37. In my opinion its actually all the higher paid Packers that need to perform better point blank. The amount of money invested in Matthews, Perry, Daniels, Ha-Ha, and Burnett seems to be a stretch for the actual return the Packers get on the field. Yes injuries have surely played its part in that lack of production ( outside of Ha-Ha) but when your paying pro bowl difference maker money for production that equals borderline starter across the league it sure will make your depth look very thin.

  38. Im ok with moving on from TT but these people smashing the his philosphy are foolish, including Haha.

    TT has drafted TWO QUALITY starters since coming to GB whether it be Nick Collins and Aaron Rodgers, AJ Hawk and Greg Jennings. Jordy Nelson Josh Sitton, or more recently with players like David Baktiari and Micah Hyde, Davante Adams and Corey Linsley, and there is usually also a good “gamble development” player in many of those classes as well, which they have had varied success on developing them.

    Some of them have been injured and moved on to bigger things Casey Hayward started out GREAT as rookie got hurt, never recovered SD paid him and he was able to stay healthy and went to the pro bowl. Sure splashing some FAs in there CAN help, but only if its smart $, first day FAs are a WASTE.

    For exammple, TT knew throwing a ton of money at Greg Jennings was a dumb idea, and he even had QB that knew how to use him. Spending money just to spend is even dumber than, not spending it. Look at Denver they won a SB they spent GOBS of money on it and while it was worth it that ONE year…. they are strapped have NO starting caliber QB and a lot of older players. Going all in IS ok, you just need to choose wisely. The Vikings went all in the year they got Favre… and they still haven’t found a long term starter at QB.

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