Here’s Ted Thompson Talking About Backup QBs

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Scott Tolzien

Scott Tolzien

USA Today writer and noted Minnesota Vikings homer Tom Pelissero sat down with Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson on Friday and talked to him about the team’s backup quarterback situation, among other things.

Thompson’s philosophy? Don’t think about Aaron Rodgers getting hurt.

“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,” Thompson said.

Good philosophy. By that thinking, it doesn’t matter who Rodgers’ backup is.

Thompson goes on to say he doesn’t believe in jinxes, although he pretty much said he does in the comment above.

Then he explained that the Packers haven’t been able to find a good backup, although they’ve tried to develop a number of guys.

“That position’s not really like any other position. 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,” Thompson said.

Wolf was able to find guys like Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck. Thompson found Flynn, but that’s about it.

Now, maybe they’ve found something in Scott Tolzien, who will start this week for the Packers. We’ll have a better idea of what Tolzien is capable of when he gets a full week of preparation.

Clearly, the drop off from Rodgers to the next guy is pretty big, though and Thompson hasn’t been able to find the right guy. Yet.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

20 Comments on "Here’s Ted Thompson Talking About Backup QBs"

  1. Jurgens


  2. Patrick

    From what I gathered in the interview he was probably joking a little about not thinking about the back-up. I think he scouts the best he can and goes with who is the best they feel is available. Plenty of teams don’t have serviceable starting QBs much less back-ups. As far as Wolf, he got Brunell and Hasselbeck but he also let Warner walk. And in the time Favre was there plenty of others that weren’t so amazing. Hey, Ted picked up good back-up for Favre too. Doomed? I’d rather be doomed for 7 games than 7 seasons like most teams. Or 7 decades like the lions….

    • Vijay

      What does that tell you about Wolf…?

      You said “he got Brunell and Hasselbeck but he also let Warner walk”. Um, yeah…Ron was so good at his job that he even ID’ed a 3rd stringer like Warner!? That’s amazing scouting! Plus don’t forget we had Doug Pederson as a backup for like forever. He was more than servicable, even though he rarely got the chance to prove it.

      If I ran the team, Russell Wilson would have been your backup, I wanted him in the 2nd round (SEA 3rd Round pick) because like most Badgers fans, I knew he was gifted and a great leader, despite his so called physical limitations. Why Wilson? Because sometimes you take the best players in order to avoid them going to your competition, which is what happened. Russell makes $390K per year vs. Tolzein who is older and makes closer to half a mil. Which guy would you rather have? I like Scott and am glad we have him but boy oh boy, we’d have very little to complain about had we drafted him instead of Jerel Worthy or Casey Hayward. Obviously, so far Casey was a good choice—the jury is still out on Worthy. Woulda coulda shoulda, I know…

  3. Darren

    The reality is that teams simply cannot afford to keep every good player they have with the salary cap as it is in the NFL. The Packers have been very fortunate with their QBs for a long time. And most likely will continue to be with Ted Thompson as the GM. Sometimes fortune doesn’t simile on you. Hopefully this a one season issue.

  4. PF4L

    Here’s my problem with this…..TT said he doesn’t think about the QB getting hurt, because its a jinx. The same jinx..He apparently doesn’t believe in. <— WTF?

    TT about his star QB getting hurt, goes on to say. "Literally, you don’t think about it. It’s a place where you never tread,” Thompson said.

    Here's my problem with that. His job, Is thinking exactly about that. About being prepared if a key player goes out. That's EXACTLY his job. That he's paid very well to do.

    Now I can see why TT doesn't do many interviews….Holy shit batman

    • Phatgzus

      He doesn’t like to think about STAR PLAYERS (not just the QB, pay attention) getting hurt, that doesn’t mean he puts any less effort into identifying the 53 most talented players to add to the roster; in fact that may be what he’s implying, that he doesn’t allow the potential for injury affect his decision on who makes the roster.

      • PF4L

        Well..Listen…Obviously he didn’t think about our back up QB too much. Signing our #2 on Sept 4th? And #3Tolzien around the same time. After camp. if that’s being prepared. It’s your world sir. And how the hell did he rank their talent? Wallace over Tolzien?…Not even close Teddy.

        • Phatgzus

          I never said nor implied I thought that indicated he was prepared. He did indeed have a backup plan in place, no matter how unsavory it appeared he should’ve stayed behind Harrel for the rest of the year and perhaps brought in another QB early in the year (which hendid do-Tolzien), or he should have drafted someone if his faith in Harrel was so tentative that his fate rested in 4 preseason games. This is one of Ted’s few gaffs with significant ramifications (Harrell, the Favre fiasco).

          • PF4L

            The “Favre Fiasco” wasn’t a Ted Thompson gaff. In realty, it was his 2nd best move besides picking Rodgers. TT had big balls to handle Favre how he should have been handled, by letting Favre know he wasn’t bigger than the Green Bay Packers. 3 seasons later = Super Bowl Champions. You want a Ted Thompson “gaff”? It wasn’t Favre, its maybe getting his back up QB situation right finally, in week 10 of the 2013 season.

  5. Taurean

    I just realized something. The reason why the packers haven’t been able to develop good backups is simple: We NEVER needed to until now

  6. TT in my estimation is about the crappiest judge of talent on the continent. His drafts are mostly horrible and then working with a qb all spring training and then releasing him as the season starts and pissing him off so he won’t come back when you need him. He has done that with more players than I can recall. And Mark Murphy lets him get away with it. I don’t understand it at all.

    And not worrying about your franchise qb going down is totally stupid with the size and speed of the players out there today. The way to protect your qb is giving him a running game to take off pressure, TT has not. Give him an offensive line for protection, TT has not. And lastly, call more dink and dunk plays to slow the pass rush, MM does not do near enough.

  7. E. Wolf

    How hard is this to understand? Most nfl teams cannot even find a quality starter. Far fewer can get both a top notch starter AND starter-quality backup.

    • Phatgzus

      Let me start by saying that based on Wolf’s QB success it would be illogical to suggest that he is anything but the greater of the two GMs when it comes to drafting QBs (realizing Favre’s value, steling Warner from NFL Europe after he was a grocery clerk, or vice versa).
      That said, Wolf was GM for approximately 3 times as long as TT so a direct statistical comparison of successful QBs is not entirely valid, averaged out Wolf is ahead but just barely.
      Also, Ron, as you have preach attested, was incredible evaluator if QB talent, there are very few GMs, past, present, or future, who could manage what he did. He was exceptional, and exceptions, by their very nature, are not the
      archetypes of any category except “exceptions”.

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