Lets take this a step further. Safety was as big a concern coming into this season as any other position on the team. Dashon Goldson was a Free Agent that I really, really wanted Ted to pursue. I thought it made perfect sense to bring a veteran S like him into the fold to play alongside Morgan Burnett, and that it would be well worth the price tag.
Enter, Chris Banjo.
Who? Just a remarkable find IMO by Ted Thompson. Banjo is one of those players in the secondary that plays much bigger than his size and stature. The guy has what look to be great football instincts, and he knows how to finish a play. McMillian has been a huge disappointment to me thus far. Great to see somebody jump in and perform at a high level at the position.
We also have a slim possibility that Sean Richardson gets his chance to show what he can do. I'm very hopeful for this player, as he was Hayward's teammate at Vanderbilt, and he has great size for the position. Figure too, that MD Jennings is looking to be playing a little bit better this year. I have a hard time saying that, but I do believe it is true. Player development.
The monies Ted may have had to spend on a player like Goldson would have made re-signing some of our other important players this next offseason impossible. Ted stuck to his guns, and found some Safety help in the UDFA bargain bin.
Another example is the addition of a veteran presence with proven skills to our DL. Johnny Jolly has far exceeded the expectations of many. It was a great risk to bring him back to this Packers team, but Ted has done such a great job of infusing quality people into his system, that this second chance for Jolly seems to carry a lesser risk. He is surrounded by supportive, positive reenforcement from a pretty damn good group of teammates. It is amazing what this player has done for our defense this season. Looking at it now, I'd much rather have Jolly on our team than Chris Canty… Jolly's presence has helped to transform our defense and the attitude they play with - that is perfectly clear. High risk. Great reward.
Letting Jennings and Woodson move on to other teams, along with maintaining his stoic, conservative approach to offseason FA, has given him a lot of cap room to work with, while retaining the services of some key, top of scale veteran players. I've marveled at Ozzie Newsome's winning ways in March… but my hat is off to our own GM, Ted Thompson.
We have not won anything yet, but I would venture to say this team is far and away better than those we put onto the field in 2011 and 2012. A lot of that has to do with Ted's philosophy of building from within, retaining his players that he invests heavily to scout and draft, and developing that talent. Its not "sexy," but the guy's got "sizzle!" He is getting results. The depth of talent on his team proves that, along with their winning ways.