INDIANAPOLIS -- The Green Bay Packers have watched their season end in cruel fashion in each of the last three years.
Rookies have made grave mistakes in each of their season-ending defeats, leading one reporter to ask general manager Ted Thompson on Thursday if it's time for Green Bay to consider becoming more aggressive in free agency.
- Remaining free agents
- NFC free agency grades
- AFC free agency grades
- Free agency winners and losers
- Seven riskiest free-agent signings
- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
- Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
- Collateral benefits: Players aided by free agency
The presumed logic: By leaning on savvy veterans rather than mostly inexperienced players, you leave yourself less vulnerable to the type of physical and mental errors that can sink a season when the stakes are highest.
"We value draft and development," Thompson said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We value free agency. We have guys like Julius Peppers, guys that have been free agents. If you can help us win football games and be a good teammate and that sort of thing, you have a place for us. So we're not opposed to doing that."
Aaron Rodgers is set to enter his 12th season. The Packers have gone six years since their victory in Super Bowl XLV. Would Thompson make an uncharacteristic offseason move because he feels Green Bay's window is beginning to close?
"We're not going to chase a ghost just because we think the clock is ticking," he replied.
Translation: Don't expect the Packers to make a big free-agent splash in the next few weeks. The Packers remain a very good team that can again become a great one with a few tweaks and a little luck. Thompson's strategy isn't sexy, but that doesn't make it wrong.
Some other Packers takeaways (Mike McCarthy followed Thompson on the podium):
1. Jordy Nelson is on track to be a full-go by training camp. "Jordy looks great," McCarthy said. "I think where he is in his career, I'm not worried about him getting back to where he was. He's way ahead of schedule. I've already talked to him, with this fifth preseason (Hall of Fame) game, about how we play him in the preseason. He'll work some in the OTAs, but I don't see him having any limitations come training camp." Thompson joked that Nelson looked so good he wonders if the wide out was ever actually injured.
2. We asked McCarthy if he expected Randall Cobb to revert back to 2014 form once Nelson returns. The coach said Cobb played through significant injuries, while acknowledging that Cobb was played against his strengths in Green Bay's attack. "If you look at the offense last year and his production the year before, obviously his opportunities came from different positions, different situations, different combinations of players. So Randall will be a better player because of what he was asked to do this past year. There was definitely a lot of things we did with Randall in prior years that we really didn't get to enough of those probably until the end of the year."
3. McCarthy expects Aaron Rodgers to be ready for OTAs following a knee scope. "I would think so. The way he's hitting the golf ball I would think he's ready to go."
4. Thompson's dry wit and understated sense of humor is welcome in these overly serious proceedings. His audience laugh-to-minute ratio lapped every other coach and GM in the building over the past two days.