(Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
After being one of the major characters in the 2008 offseason, Ted Thompson has avoided the spotlight in 2009.
That is good news for Packers fans because this season is the most important of his five years as general manager.
Besides the emergence of Aaron Rodgers, everything else went horribly wrong in 2008. Thompson's style of building through the draft seemed to produce a young, undiciplined team. The blockbuster trade of Brett Favre only netted the team a third round draft pick, even though Favre's Jets outperformed the Packers.
A protege of famous Green Bay GM Ron Wolf, another poor season would be very disappointing for someone intrumental in the Packers' success in the 1990s. His work with the personell department during that period brought in fan favorites like Reggie White and Desmond Howard.
In 2000 he took a position in Mike Holmgren's Seattle Seahawks front office. As vice president of football operations he was one of the major decision makers that put together the Seattle team that appeared in Super Bowl XL.
With a track record of success, Thompson is at a crossroads. Another losing season and he will have some tough decisions to make about the future of his coaching staff.
He will also force Packers president Mike Murphy to evalutate his status with the team.
Of course a 2009 playoff run would go a long way towards repairing the public relations damage done during the 2008 Favre saga. It would also prove his strategy of building through the draft as effective.
It will be put to the extreme test this season with the switch to the 3-4 defense. Without any big name free agent signings, the pressure will be squarely on Thompson's draft picks (five of eight were defensive).
Will he succeed? It is unclear at this point but his track record definitely gives him a fighting chance.