Ted Thompson Knows What He's Doing
Aaron Rodgers played well but lacked the gaudy numbers that signals to most casual fans that a quarterback had a good game. This is because Ryan Grant had his best rushing day of the season and scored his first touchdown of the year during the course of running for 105 yards.
Through the first seven weeks, Rodgers and wide receiver Greg Jennings are having Pro Bowl seasons.
Rodgers is third in the NFC in passer rating, tied for second in touchdown passes, third in completion percentage among quarterbacks with 100 attempts, fifth in yards, and has thrown fewer interceptions than Tony Romo, Drew Brees, and Kurt Warner.
Jennings is first amongst wide receivers in receptions, yards, yards per catch among receivers with more than 30 catches, and is tied for second in touchdown receptions in the NFC.
The defense also played extremely well, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, one by Nick Collins and the other by Aaron Rouse. Woodson, along with young cornerback Tramon Williams, completely shut down the Colts passing game. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne had only two catches each for a total of 35 yards.
One of the things all these players have in common is that they were all acquired by Packers General Manager Ted Thompson.
Thompson has taken a lot of criticism, even before the Brett Favre drama this past summer, and most of it has been unfounded. After an unacceptable 4-12 season in 2005, built largely by his predecessor Mike Sherman, Thompson hired a new coach and set off to rebuild the proud franchise.
The next offseason, Thompson surprisingly hired Mike McCarthy as head coach instead of the popular names in the coaching market that season. I'd say McCarthy has done a better job than Brad Childress, Rod Marinelli, and Scott Linehan, all of whom could have (and, according to some at the time, should have) been hired as Packers coach.
Thompson drafted linebacker A.J. Hawk with the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft; all seven of his picks in 2006 (Hawk, Jennings, Will Blackmon, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, Tony Moll, Johnny Jolly) have started games and made significant contributions to the 13-3 team of 2007.
I could go on and on about all of Thompson's drafts. Rodgers and Nick Collins in 2005. The aforementioned 2006 draft. In 2007, he picked James Jones, Aaron Rouse, and Mason Crosby.
The free agents Thompson brought in have also been good players for the Packers. Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett are the two most important. Williams has proven to be a competent cornerback, and Ruvell Martin allows four and five-wide-receiver sets to be effective.
Brandon Chillar, acquired this season, hadn't played much, but made nine tackles against the Colts and is the best coverage linebacker the Packers have right now.
The point I'm trying to make is this: If you don't like Ted Thompson, the 2007 executive of the year, as the Packers' general manager, don't cheer for the players he brought to the team.
Go ahead and clap when Donald Driver does his first down shake. Yell when Aaron Kampman or Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila sack the opposing quarterback. Shout when Nick Barnett makes a big tackle.
But when Rodgers and Jennings connect on a long touchdown pass, please sit on your hands. Leave the room when Charles Woodson or Nick Collins take interceptions back for touchdowns. Turn away every time Mason Crosby kicks a field goal.
Trust me, it'll make you look a lot less hypocritical.
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