It’s too soon to criticize Ted Thompson for not acquiring Marshawn Lynch. Maybe the Packers always prudent general manager will trade for another back before the Oct. 19 deadline. Or maybe John Kuhn, Brandon Jackson and Dmitri Nance will prove capable of adequately replacing Ryan Grant. Or maybe rookie James Starks will come off the physically unable to perform list in a few weeks and provide a second half spark. Or maybe Green Bay can make a run to the Super Bowl without any semblance of a ground game. Sure that’s a lot of maybes, but the point is, it’s only fair to let things play out before Lynching Thompson.
It’ll be fascinating to watch how things unfold for Green Bay and Minnesota over the next few months. Thompson, despite a slew of injuries and an obvious lack of talent at right outside linebacker, has chosen to stand pat. He’ll apparently live or die with his players. Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman is taking the opposite approach. In desperate need of a wide receiver, he dealt a third-round pick to New England for Randy Moss. Ironically, that same pick would probably have been enough to pry Lynch away from the Bills.
For better or worse, Thompson believes in drafting and then developing talent. How well that strategy has paid off is a matter of opinion. On one hand, the Packers are blessed with one of the league’s youngest and most talented rosters. They’ve also gone to the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. On the other hand, a lack of quality depth at tackle nearly crippled the team a year ago and similar problems at running back and in the secondary threaten to do the same this season. They’ve also won just a single playoff game since Thompson took over in 2005.
So while it’s too soon to criticize Thompson, he’ll be fair game three or four months from now. There’s no excuse for another one and done in January. One playoff win in six years simply wouldn’t be good enough. Thompson deserves a lot of credit for formulating a blueprint and then sticking to it, but sometimes it’s OK, even necessary, to deviate from the plan. We’ll soon find out if not adding a few free agents in an uncapped year and not acquiring Lynch were two of the times when veering off course just a little might’ve been the best route to take.