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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Joey Thomas Waived

by Joe Lacey


There are a few things I think we can realistically conclude from this move, and I also think there are some more that we simply can't, at this point.

1) Bates, Sherman, and TT are interested in putting the best players on the field, and with being on the field for the GB Packers, comes a responsibility to play as well as you can.

In the past, we've heard Sherman talk and talk about "that's a problem and we're going to get it corrected...". I don't think that MS has not been capable of getting through to the players, but I think that his dual role simply did not allow him enough time to accurately take care of everything that the two jobs demanded. For whatever reason, his messages were not translating into consistent championship-style play from many Packers. I think that getting rid of Joey Thomas is important to put into practice the fact (not just SEND A MESSAGE) that the Green Bay Packers need to play like pros.

2) Joey Thomas worked enough to get released. No one "had it out for him", or "wanted him gone."

It's like a student who fails a class. It's one thing to not pass... it takes a certain amount of negative effort to actually fail. Sherman is NOT interested in being judged as a terrible GM. Bates is NOT interested in being left out to dry with inferior DBs. TT is NOT interested in altering his 2006 draft strategy because "we need to set an example." Any intelligent GM and NFL coach wants to build on the existing team they have, and be able to expect more from the talent that stays with the team. It's no coincidence that MS wants Favre to play; the WHOLE offense depends on Favre's abilities and knowledge. Coaches do NOT prefer to start over, and GMs do NOT prefer to keep trying different people at a single position.

3) Joey Thomas did NOT get treated unfairly.

He played as a rookie. He got hurt as a rookie. He produced some as a rookie, and made his share of rookie mistakes. He was told (along with everyone else) that the starting #2 CB spot was up for grabs, and apparently, he wanted to grab it. He got hurt prior to the season. When he came back, he had several opportunities to continue as a starter. He has not put up NEARLY as many positive plays in 2005 as he has contributed to negative plays. The one game in which our defense really dominated the other team (the Saints), he was getting regularly beat as the nickel back... and the Saints did not have their best WR in Joe Horn on the field, nor their starting RB for much of the game. In other words, he couldn't match up. He was given specific instructions on how to help the team, and he didn't come through (Minnesota, Cincy). When it came time to talk with a reporter, he vented. I think that MS has proven in several cases that he has more patience than many coaches and GMs concerning guys who need time to develop.

We cannot conclude that...

1) We know ANYTHING about what Joey Thomas said or did to make this decision more than a consideration in MS's coaching mind. It's internal. We're external.

2) This was a MESSAGE, or an attempt to set an example. I have read MS say repeatedly that he treats his players with respect and expects them to treat one another with respect. I cannot believe that he would sandbag this young man's livelihood as a Machiavelliani tactic for short-term results. MS expects the Green Bay Packers to use their brains in order to understand the repeated verbal and non-verbal messages that the coaches DO send daily.

3) This will not reflect upon the previous scouting team. My understanding is that TT's forte is scouting. I believe that he will choose his moment(s) to make the necessary adjustments to the folks in the Packers front office.

Considering the deals that TT made this April with his 3rd-rd picks, the reality is that last year's 3rd-rd picks were a disaster. Thomas essentially wasted the organization's time, and BJ Sander is still causing more harm than good, at this point. He'll need several years to get his stock in the black, at the rate he's going. True, he's punting better, but he has participated in several missed PK attempts in games that were lost by less than one score.


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