Ted Thompson believes in quarterback jinxes, unless he doesn’t


In today’s NFL, few teams have franchise quarterbacks.  Those that do need to have a good plan to fill the void in the unfortunate event the franchise quarterback becomes injured.

Unless, of course, the man responsible for stocking the roster believes in jinxes.  Or claims he doesn’t, but actually does.

Consider this recent exchange between Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Packers G.M. Ted Thompson:

Pelissero:  “When you’re building your roster from year to year and thinking about the big picture, how much do you take into account the possibility of an injury to Aaron Rodgers?”

Thompson: You make sure you have so many of every position, given the limitations of a 53-man roster.  But quite frankly, you never think about your better players ever getting hurt.  If you think that way, you might jinx it.  It might happen.  Literally, you don’t think about it. It’s a place where you never tread.”

Pelissero:  “Do you believe in jinxes?”

Thompson:  “No. But you still never tread. You just don’t like to say it.”

That’s sort of like someone explaining when they choose possible vacation destinations that they hope to find houses that aren’t haunted — even though they don’t believe in ghosts.

Thompson’s remarks raise a question far more real than jinxes and ghosts.  Is it possible that Thompson hasn’t spent more time and effort cultivating a better backup for Rodgers because Thompson fears, whether he’d admit it or not, that spending too much time and effort planning for a worst-case scenario would invite it?

Sure, Thompson used a first-round pick on Rodgers at a time when Brett Favre was still the starter, but that wasn’t about preparing for a Favre injury — it was about being prepared for the inevitability that his ongoing will-I-or-won’t-I musings about retirement would suddenly leave the team in a lurch.

“That position’s not really like any other position,” Thompson said.  “But when I was here in the ’90s and went to Seattle and even here, we’ve always liked to fool with that second and third quarterback thing, trying to tweak it and find a guy.  In a perfect world, you do it like Ron [Wolf] — you find a good one, he’d apprentice to Brett for a couple years and then you’d trade him for a second-round pick.  Not to treat him like a commodity, but then you go get another one and you do the same thing with him. It sort of worked that way a little bit with Matt Flynn.  But it doesn’t always work.  We’ve drafted a couple of guys.  We’ve had guys here who never did find it.”

That’s the real problem the Packers now face.  After Flynn left via free agency, the Packers hoped 2012 seventh-round draft pick B.J. Coleman or undrafted journeyman Graham Harrell would grow into the job.  When they didn’t, Thompson fired them both before Week One and then resorted to the scrap heap, adding 49ers castoffs Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzein.

Ideally, every franchise quarterback would have a drafted backup who knows the system — and whose name is at least remotely recognizable.  So here’s a good rule of thumb for assessing whether a franchise quarterback has a competent backup:  Do you instantly know who the backup is?

Tom Brady?  Ryan Mallett. Peyton Manning?  Brock Osweiler.  Tony Romo?  Kyle Orton.  Robert Griffin III?  Kirk Cousins.

Andrew Luck?  Matthew Hasselbeck.  Russell Wilson?  Tarvaris Jackson.  Ryan Tannehill?  Matt Moore.

Matt Ryan?  Um, I’ll get back to you.

Drew Brees?  I think it’s one of the McCowns.  Or is he the backup in Atlanta?

Matt Stafford?  Is Dan Orlovsky still there?

Matt Ryan?  I said I’ll get back to you.

In Green Bay, we all now know Seneca Wallace serves as the backup to Aaron Rodgers, for all the wrong reasons.  And it if all blows up on the Packers as Rodgers recovers from a broken collarbone, we all know who gets all the blame.

“If something went wrong at the backup quarterback position, it’s my fault,” Thompson said. “It’s not somebody else’s fault. It’s not even one of those quarterbacks’ fault. I just didn’t get it worked out right.”

On one hand, it’s admirable that Thompson admits that it’ll be his fault.  On the other hand, who else’s fault would it be?

Moving forward, Thompson should simply tell himself that the jinx comes not from having a solid backup plan, but from not having one.

Putting it that way, Thompson definitely should believe in jinxes.

35 responses to “Ted Thompson believes in quarterback jinxes, unless he doesn’t

  1. Ted Thompson is the worst GM in the NFL

    Without the Rodgers pick, their team has nothing to build around

    Mediocre RB’s & below average defense

    Packers won’t make this playoffs this year

  2. I’ve always supported TT, this is just a hiccup on his impressive resume. The run game that he’s created this year, the offensive line that has produced three separate hundred yard rushers this year, should all keep us in games. Wallace/Flynn/Tolzien just has to keep the ship straight until the captain is back.

  3. Give me a break. Matthew Stafford has one of the best backups in the league, in Shaun Hill.

  4. Floria, OMG, by writing this long story about jinxes and naming all these quarterbacks, you’ve just caused all kinds of injuries to occur on Sunday. Jinxes are as real as the shine in your eye when you see a pretty babe twerking your way!

  5. Do people ever get tired of trolling pft comments? Seriously, give it a rest pal. Nobody thinks you’re amusing.

  6. So the Pats would do good with Mallett, Broncos with Osweiller and Seahawks with Jackson? When a team has a great QB, the drop off to the back-up it’s going to be huge. When a team has a franchise QB, but an OK one, there will be little to no drop off. A QB like Manning, Rodgers, Brady, who do so much at the line of scrimmage are not easily replaced.

    Oh, and recognizing a name means exactly nothing. I heard of Leaf, Young, Orlovsky and so on. That does not mean they would be a viable back-up

  7. I second the opinion that Shaun Hill is one of the better backups in the league. Not flashy but more times than not he finds a way to get the job done. One of my favorite former 49ers!

  8. The name recognition argument is so weak. I would take Shaun Hill over any of the backups listed, except maybe Kirk Cousins.

    The guy has played in plenty of games, started a lot in the league and had moderate success.

    It’s your own fault you dont know about him, and really I have no clue why you thought adding the Lions into the article would strengthen the argument. Why not jab at the Cardinals or Chiefs backups if you needed one more team to sweeten the deal.

  9. Stafford? Seriously?

    Shaun Hill performed at a very high level for two years while Staff was hurt. He is more than competent.

    the only reason you haven’t heard his name recently is because Stafford has been healthy for a few years.

    I thought you guys were supposed to be knowledgeable about football?

    Epic Fail…

  10. He did a lousy job of finding a backup for Rodgers.

    Now he claims he “doesn’t even think about” the possibility of the scenario he’s in.

    Even though it’s possible to find the best possible backup while never thinking about your starter getting hurt, he probably shouldn’t have said that, and here’s why: the lesser lights among Packers fans will probably think he never contemplated finding a good backup for Rodgers.

  11. The word balloon that no one could see above Ted’s head said;

    “Stay Calm and Carry On.”

  12. In Ted we (used to) trust…

    The QB’s he released before the season started would have been better than Wallace.

  13. “Is it possible that Thompson hasn’t spent more time and effort cultivating a better backup for Rodgers ”
    This Thompson guy was on Ron Wolf’s staff when they found Hasselbeck/Brunell/Warner/Aaron Brooks to develop into quality backups….

    Then went to seattle – found Seneca who was ok as Matt’s backup – came back to Green Bay, got us Rodgers – then Matt Flynn….

    but yeah – man does he suck at finding backup QBs.

  14. Saying TT is a bad GM is ridiculous. Nobodys roster has a great backup QB in this league. Packers just need to tread water and win half their games until Rodgers can come back. Then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win out the season all the way to the SB

  15. Yeah, if the packers miss the playoffs, it will hurt. But any Packers fan that wants to pout and pin it on Ted needs to go root for the Vikings, because he’s brought a lot more good than bad to the Packers.

  16. thepftpoet says:
    Nov 9, 2013 4:53 PM

    I have a poem for you:

    The Vikings have the best RB in probably the history of the game and they STILL can’t build a competitive team.

    The End.


    The simple fact that some of you are actually stating….”gee, if we just win half our games….”

    Are you delusional?!!!!

    My Vikings have a better chance at winning half their games, because Ponder is playing like a starter.

    Seneca Wallace was wanted by NOBODY for a reason.

    I truly believe the packers and the “genius” TT are screwed and will NOT WIN A SINGLE GAME in Erin’s absence. In fact, I see Philly blowing out gbay this weekend.

    It will get uglier before it gets better.
    You can’t improve no talent, and frankly, S. Wallace is awful.

    Hell will break loose in a few weeks when you are sub .500, and the blind love for TT will wane.

    The venom will come out, and rightfully so. TT failed to find a suitable oline to protect him, and he failed to have a semi capable backup in place when Rodgers went down.

    Spielman got Cassel after the Joe Webb debacle last year, and TT should have taken note.

    I gave Spielman props in getting a 3-13 team in 2011 to 10-6 and the playoffs in 2012, nut he gets no hummed this year. It was PAINFULLY obvious that we needed to find a better MLB this year, and we bring back Erin Henderson, WHO IS TERRIBLE!
    He also thought the young CBs could play better than aging, but savvy Winfield. Wrong!

    So, no free passes…..

    It won’t take long for the water to boil about the Wallace issue, as losses that pile up will take care of that!

    Wake up pack fans……you will be calling for his head in 4 games.

  18. Because 30-year-old Jeff Hostetler is on the street right now waiting to be signed, right?

    Gimme a break.

    The Packers tried Harrell and Tolzien, and those guys didn’t work out. They gave Vince Young a shot, and he didn’t work out. Sometimes players don’t work out and you pick up Seneca Wallace.

    This is a team that was missing 5 of its previous 7 first round picks to injury in the Bears game. The Packers lost by seven and the result was in question late in the fourth.

    Tomorrow a prepared Wallace will take the field vs. Philly, and all due respect to the Eagles, but I’ll be surprised if it’s anything but a close game, win or lose. Ted Thompson is an excellent GM. He’s not perfect but he’s one of the top three or four in the business.

  19. Ted Thompson has a proven system that works.

    He is correct in saying the back up QB is a developmental position.
    The Cowboys had Romo develop until he was ready to start, Rodgers developed behind Brett Favre, Tom Brady developed behind Drew Bledsoe.

    There was just a sudden gap in developing QB’s when one them proved incapable.

    It is better to have a guy who could be good than an old “never was” guy.

    Ted’s way, is always the best way.

  20. Thank you Vikings fans for your input. It will be considered. However, since the Packers backup QB (who is arguably the worst backup QB in TT’s tenure) is only slightly worse than your starting QB, it will be taken with a grain of salt.

  21. 84smooninlambeaunevergetsold says:
    Nov 9, 2013 10:06 PM
    What a circus you guys are running over there in that wasteland you call Green Bay.

    We run the circus and you shovel our dung.

  22. Thompson is a lot like Bill Polian and we all know how that worked out for the Colts when Manning went down since Bill relied on him to never be injured.

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