A couple of weeks ago, an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Michael Cohen speculated that Russ Ball, the vice president of football administration/player finance of the Green Bay Packers, could possibly be the next general manager of the team after Ted Thompson decides to move on.
Thompson, who turned 64 in January, is signed through the 2018 season in his current duties as executive vice president, general manager & director of football operations for the Packers.
Ball, who is 57, has been with the Packers since 2008 and his primary duties are negotiating player contracts and managing the salary cap. Before coming to Green Bay, Ball previously spent time with the New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
Although I believe Ball is very good at what he does, my guess is the next general manager of the Packers will have a similar background as Thompson has had. Which means having a scouting background.
I wanted to see if my thoughts had merit, which is why I wanted to talk with NFL scout Chris Landry about this situation. I had an opportunity to talk with Landry earlier this week on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show.
I started my discussion with Landry by mentioning the GM speculation about Ball, and that he also had taken over his current position with the Packers from Andrew Brandt. Plus I also brought up three names who I believe would be better candidates as GM for the Pack.
Wolf, who is still only 35, has now been part of 25 consecutive drafts for Green Bay, either under his dad or in scouting capacity with the Packers. Wolf has also been at 26 consecutive NFL Scouting Combines.
After being pro personnel assistant with the Packers from 2004-2008, Wolf was then promoted to assistant director of pro personnel for three years, before he was promoted to assistant director of player personnel in 2011. He then was named director of pro personnel in 2012, a position he held until his most recent promotion of director of football operations, which was in March of 2016.
Another name to consider is John Schneider, who is currently the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks. Schneider (a Green Bay native) started his scouting career with the Packers in 1993 under Ron Wolf and spent 12 years total with Green Bay in a number of capacities, including being director of football operations for the Packers in 2008 and 2009.
Another person who would have to be under consideration is John Dorsey, who is currently the general manager with the Kansas City Chiefs. Like Schneider, Dorsey also started his scouting career in Green Bay in 1991 under Ron Wolf and spent 20 years in the Green Bay organization all told, which also included being the director of football operations.
Dorsey also spent six years in Green Bay as a player.
Landry first talked about Ball.
“He’s [Ball] an administrator, just like Andrew [Brandt],” Landry said. “Andrew was not a football guy. Russ is not a football guy. He’s an administrator.”
Landry than talked about Wolf, Schneider and Dorsey.
“As far as where the Packers will go to replace Ted [Thompson], when Ted steps aside, to me, there’s a big difference between an Eliot Wolf and a John Schneider or John Dorsey, guys who have done it,” Landry said. “Eliot, we know his dad’s name, I think that’s awfully risky to put a kid like that type of a role. I don’t think he’s ready for that. But I don’t know what they are going to do or what Ted is going to do.
“I do think that people might say that John Schneider wouldn’t leave Seattle, I don’t know that he would or wouldn’t, but Pete Carroll makes the final decisions for personnel in Seattle. And if John had total control in Green Bay, he might want to do that or he might not.
“The same thing with John Dorsey in Kansas City, in which he answers essentially to Andy Reid. That could be a factor in them taking it [the Green Bay GM job]. We’ll just have to wait and see. John Schneider grew up in Green Bay and went to high school there, while Dorsey obviously had a background working there.
“I can’t really add any insight as to who [the next GM will be]. It can be very political there and Russ very well might get it [the GM job]. It wouldn’t be the move I would suggest.”
This all may be a moot point after the 2018 season, if Thompson decides to continue his role as GM and signs another extension with the Packers.
How the Packers do on the field over the next couple of seasons will most likely play a big role in that decision.
No matter what, I believe the next GM of the Packers will have a history in the scouting profession.