General Manager Ted Thompson has lost some quality people over the last couple of years in his personel and scouting department. De Pere native John Schneider is the GM of the Seattle Seahawks and this year, Reggie McKenzie became the man in charge of the Oakland Raiders. Longtime scout Shaun Herock joined McKenzie with the Raiders. To fill the voids, Thompson has promoted from within, boosting several long tenured scouts. John Dorsey, with the Pack for 21 years as a player and college scouting director, has been named director of football operations. 30 year old Eliot Wolf, the son of former GM Ron Wolf, earned his second promotion in four years, rising fast to become the team's director of pro personnel. Brian Gutenkust, an area scout for the past 13 years, takes over Dorsey's job as director of college scouting. Alonzo Highsmith was named to the newly created position of senior personnel executive. Three other scouts, Sam Seale, Richmond Williams and Chad Brinker were also promoted. The scouting and personnel departments have funneled plenty of talent to the Packers, a big factor in the team's success of late.
Thompson isn't finished stockpiling defensive line help either. On Wednesday, he signed former Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling. The 6-5, 315 pound four year veteran was released by Miami this spring after an underachieving start to his career. Drafted with the first pick of the second round in 2008 out of Clemson University, Merling appeared in 46 games with three starts. He has 66 tackles and three and a half sacks. The highlight of his career came on the final week of his rookie season when he intercepted a Brett Favre screen pass and raced 25 yards for a touchdown, helping deny the Jets a playoff berth in Favre's only season in New York. He tore his Achilles's tendon in 2010 and saw only spot duty last season. Merling was released by the Dolphins in April. He joins free agents Anthony Hargrove, Daniel Muir and draft picks Jerel Worth and Mike Daniels as defensive line newcomers this season.
He was a quiet Texan who played a cagey defensive back in his day. Jesse Whittenton, a starting corner on Vince Lombardi's first two championship teams has passed away at the age of 78. Drafted by the Rams in 1956, Whittenton was cut by the Bears the following season and joined the Packers in 1958. His first game as a Packer was a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the only win the forgettable 1-10-1 season. Jesse worked his way into the starting lineup and twice made the Pro Bowl and was named All Pro in 1961. He intercepted 20 passes in his career and started both championship games against the Giants in '61 and '62. After retiring in 1964, Whittenton purchased a golf course in Texas. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1976.