I remember when Ted Thompson first came on the scene as our GM with Mike Sherman as HC. Throughout the year we had injury after injury. He also let a few people go because of backloaded contracts. Rather than use free agency, Ted used the locker room and the draft pool to attempt to replace those losses.
I remember many at the time felt he was sabotaging Sherman on purpose by giving him inferior talent and making it harder for him to win. However, now, 6 years later and one week before the Packers play in the Super Bowl, we realize this was just Ted Thompson's way.
Many Packer fans even this season were upset that Thompson wouldn't make a trade for Marshawn Lynch to replace injured starter Ryan Grant. This was one of the reasons why writers like Tom Oates believed Ted would never get the team over the hump because of his unwillingness to sign majory free agents year after year. This year again, we saw Ted do what he does and that's trust the program and the locker room. Veteran WR Donald Driver has expressed his approval of the way Ted handles these problems. He said it showed the trust that managment had with the players that are already in the lockerroom or in the system. The only time Ted would even look to FA late in the year is when the injury bug struck a certain position hard such as OLB or DL when he signed guys like Walden and Green.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers believe that there is a standard of play that they have to live up to no matter who is in the lineup. That much is obvious as they enter their 3rd Super Bowl in 6 years with many players that most have never heard of outside of Roethlisberger, Ward, Harrison, Polomalu, and Mendenhall. Now we have a general manager in Ted Thompson and a coach in Mike McCarthy that have set that same standard as the Steelers. They believe that no matter who's in the lineup, the standard of play is the same no matter if it's Bulaga, Jackson, Quareless, Crabtree, Green, Walden, Bishop, Hawk, Peprah, Sheilds and more. I, for one, am happy to be excited about the fact that Packers are in the Super Bowl with such a young core of players that will set the standard of a winner for the future.