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Week 1: What the heck is going on at 1265 Lombardi Avenue?

September 5, 2013 - Matt Wellens

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson loves to use the phrase, “it is what it is,” when analyzing his own decisions.

With a stoic look on his face, he’ll tell you the Packers are just dealing with the cards they’ve been dealt and that’s just the way the cookie crumbled.

After this preseason, I’m actually starting to buy it.

The reality is that no GM has been more calculated over the last decade than Thompson, from his handling of Brett Favre’s departure to free agency and drafts.

That has obviously not been the case this preseason at backup quarterback, where Thompson has worked more like a fantasy GM than a real NFL executive.

Fourth-string undrafted free agent QB Matt Brown out of Illinois State was waived just before training camp began on July 23, leaving you to believe Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy were confident in B.J. Coleman or Graham Harrell backing up Aaron Rodgers.

You knew that confidence was shaken when Thompson called a rare audible, signing former Tennessee Titans starter Vince Young off the street on Aug. 6. The move appeared brilliant because despite not knowing much of the playbook, Young became the No. 2 spot after two preseason games.

Things began to get weird on Aug. 25, however, when Harrell was released prior to the last preseason game, leaving everyone to believe Young would be Rodgers’ understudy and Coleman was heading back to the practice squad.

But on Saturday, when NFL rosters had to be trimmed to 53 men, it was Young who was let go, with Coleman being cut on Monday.

Now longtime Seattle Seahawks backup Seneca Wallace is the Packers No. 2 despite never taking a game snap in green and gold with former Wisconsin Badgers QB Scott Tolzien on the practice squad.

The only thing that made sense about the signings is both were in camp with the Packers Week 1 opponent — the San Francisco 49ers — last month. They may not know the Packers playbook, but at least they’ll know the opponents.

This whole sequence of events is not like Ted Thompson, and may not even matter if Rodgers never gets injured.

It’s questioned my mantra, “In Ted Thompson I trust,” to the point where I can’t help but wonder if he’s finally cracking.

For the Packers’ sake, Rodgers has to stay healthy. If not, Thompson must be better prepared when selecting a backup QB in the spring. He’ll get to do it with a top 10 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Now onto the picks, which each week will include a short analysis on the Packers’ and Lions’ games, plus the three primetime games on NFL Network, NBC and ESPN. With two Monday Night Football games this week, you get six. The rest of the picks will follow.

Week 1

Vikings at Lions, 1 p.m., Sunday, FOX

The Lions have a suspect secondary, but the Vikings quarterback situation is every shakier. What good is Greg Jennings if you have Christian Ponder over throwing him on every play? Lions 31, Vikings 28

Packers at 49ers, 4:25 p.m., Sunday, FOX

The Packers have had an entire offseason to prepare for the Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers piston/read-option offense, but is the team better equipped to handle it? I don’t think so, though look for Rodger to make this a better game than last year’s playoff rout. 49ers 42, Packers 36

Ravens at Broncos, 8:30 p.m., Thursday, NBC

A home baseball game for the Orioles forces the Super Bowl champion Ravens to go on the road for the Thursday night season opener to play the the team everyone thought would win the Super Bowl in the Denver Broncos. If this is the postseason, I take the Ravens, but Peyton Manning shines in the regular season. Broncos 24, Ravens 18

Giants at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m., Sunday, NBC

The Cowboys seem poised to crash and burn this year. The Giants remain a steady contender, on the other hand, while Washington is on the up with Robert Griffin III and Chip Kelly’s Eagles keep teams guessing. The ’Boys drama-filled downward spiral begins with a season-opening home loss. Giants 28, Cowboys 17.

Eagles at Redskins, 7:10 p.m., Monday, ESPN

Every Redskins pick revolves around one thing and one thing only: Griffin III’s knee. If it hold, the Redskins win big while Kelly continues to tinker around with the Eagles. If not, the new coach pulls the upset. Redskins 27, Eagles 24

Texans at Chargers, 10:20 p.m., Monday, ESPN

It doesn’t matter if the Chargers are playing dogs like the Oakland Raiders in Week 1 or good teams like the Houston Texans. They still stink early in the season. It’s the only franchise that wants a longer preseason and shorter regular season. Texans 38, Chargers 12

Here are the rest of my picks with winners in bold:

Patriots at Bills

Titans at Steelers

Falcons at Saints

Buccaneers at Jets

Chiefs at Jaguars

Seahawks at Panthers

Bengals at Bears

Dolphins at Browns

Raiders at Colts

Cardinals at Rams

Check out the Armchair QB column of Mining Journal Sports Editor Matt Wellens every Thursday here at Follow him on Twitter (@mattwellens). Email him at



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Blog Photos

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback B.J. Coleman (9) throws during an NFL preseason game agains the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)