All the buzz in Green Bay this season revolves around Brett Favre—let’s not kid ourselves about that.
But way up in the executive offices at Lambeau Field, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has quietly engineered an improbable powerhouse.
Thompson, now in his third year as Green Bay GM, has assembled the surprise team of 2007. The first-place Packers have silenced their critics with their play on the field.
After the Pack's abysmal 2005 campaign, Thompson was faced with a daunting task: restoring a 4-12 team to its former glory.
It made sense that the former linebacker would start with the defense.
Thompson used the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 Draft to nab LB A.J. Hawk. Since then, he's added Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, and Charles Woodson to make the Packers defense the best in the league.
Still, public opinion on Thompson was anything but positive coming into the 2007 season.
The Packers didn’t have a running back, Favre didn’t have enough weapons, and Randy Moss was wearing navy blue instead of green and gold. What's more, Thompson selected DT Justin Harrell in the first round of the 2007 Draft—much to the dismay of the Packer faithful.
In fact, papers called for Thompson's head after the draft, and fans were livid. “Brett can’t go out like this” was the prevailing sentiment.
Thompson, for his part, continued to steadily plug in the pieces.
Ryan Grant has emerged as a solid running back. Young wide receivers James Jones and Greg Jennings have been legitimate threats in the league's second-ranked passing offense.
Thompson has dealt with skeptics since the day he arrived in Green Bay. His decision to bring in coach Mike McCarthy, for example, was widely criticized.
After winning 15 of his past 16 games, McCarthy is being hailed as a hero.
Even for all his success, Thompson isn't one for self-glorification. The old-fashioned Texan isn’t one to tell you much of anything, actually.
He'd rather sit in his office, do his job...and talk to reporters when he has to.
These days, though, Thompson doesn't need to answer questions about personnel decisions. His 10-1 Packers speak for themselves—with the most potent offensive attack in the league.
Not bad for a team that doesn't have enough weapons.