Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.
Two names which are forever etched in the history of the Green Bay Packers for a number of reasons.
From their pairing in 2006 to the magical 2007 season to the trading of Brett Favre and the beginning of the Aaron Rodgers era through a Super Bowl victory and a franchise best 15-1 regular season record, Ted and Mike have formed one of the best GM-Head Coach marriages in the NFL. They have already written themselves into the history books of the Packers with what they have done in 6 plus seasons, with much left to be written.
The 2012 season is no exception.
Heading into the season, they knew changes had to be made. They knew they would not be able to win another Super Bowl without fixing a piss poor defense. Dom Capers and crew knew they had to perform if they wanted to avoid the wrath of over reacting fans as well as keep their jobs. So what did Ted do? Restock the defense in the draft with their first six picks.
There wasn't much of a need to worry about the offense. After blowing the doors off the record books in 2012, Aaron Rodgers and company were coming back with a vengeance this season. With incumbents Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver, and even Jermichael Finley among others back on the field in 2012, the offense figured to be just as good. Adding Cedric Benson was expected to make the offense even better.
Special Teams are never a concern with Shawn Slocum leading the charge. With the ever reliable Mason Crosby kicking, Tim Masthay punting, and Randall Cobb returning kicks like a man possessed, there was never a reason to worry about Special Teams heading into the season.
No issues here.
Lets flash forward to the present and see how things are shaping up.
First round pick Nick Perry, drafted to be Clay Matthews counterpart for years to come-out for the season.
Desmond Bishop, tackling machine-out for the season.
His replacement, DJ Smith-out for the season.
Perennial Pro Bowler and emotional leader of the team Charles Woodson-out until December with a broken collarbone.
Clay Matthews-nursing a sore hamstring (again).
Cedric Benson, the supposed savior at running back-out until December, perhaps the entire season.
Bryan Bulaga, starting right tackle and on the verge of greatness-out for the season.
Mason Crosby-currently kicking a less than stellar 67% on field goal attempts.
And what has Ted Thompson done to stop the insanity? To put and end to all fears that everything is going to be OK? Nothing. Not one thing other than sign a few practice squad guys and a previously released linebacker.
Yet despite all this, the Packers are sitting at 6-3, one game behind Chicago in the division standings, lurking in the playoff hunt.
Seems to me we've been down this road before, when injuries and question marks hovered over the Packers. And somehow, they managed to pull together and win the prize every team sets their sights on at the beginning of the season.
The 2012 season still has much to play out. With almost half the schedule still to go plus the playoffs, there is no telling what direction the fate of the Packers will go. We all hope it goes well, but the truth is we simply do not know what the end result will be.
What I do know is if the Packers season ends up going the way I hope it does, with another Lombardi Trophy being hoisted up in New Orleans this February, the 2012 Packers season will go down, at least in my mind, as the best job Ted and Mike have done in their time in Green Bay.
With expectations set through the roof following last season's 15-1 regular season, many teams would have folded under the pressure of watching so many players fall victim to the injury bug. But not the Packers. Ted has stuck by his philosophy of build from within, even when the temptation to make a splashy trade or sign the "big name" free agent. Mike has kept this team focused, even when the doubters were doubting, even when injuries were causing many to say "not again." They stayed true to their beliefs, maintained focus, and the team just keeps on winning.
Here's hoping that trend continues.
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