Expanding on MMQB

As is inevitable during this time of year, I find myself fiending for football season to start. Each August, when we have passed training camp and are slogging through the preseason, nothing gets me quite as excited about football as Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. King uses MMQB as a platform to both expound upon and inform on tidbits he picks up traveling from camp to camp. It is unclear whether he sleeps or rests during this stretch but each Monday King’s tone invariably becomes increasingly anxious; his enthusiasm and excitement for the start of the regular season are palpable and infectious.

King started today’s MMQB by writing about the Packers, specifically detailing the selfless leadership of Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, and Ted Thompson. King writes:

And when it was the biggest story in sports back in 2008 — pick a side: you’re for Favre or for Rodgers, and there’s no middle ground — Rodgers said precious little. Rodgers knew Thompson and McCarthy had his back, and though it was going to be tough, he could trust them to keep their word. Which they did. And in the last three years, despite the mud that landed on all of them after the Favre debacle, every one of them today looks like a genius.

Thompson for sticking to his guns, McCarthy for believing in Rodgers, and Rodgers for shutting up and just playing football. Rodgers’ average season since 2008: 4,130 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. And a Super Bowl win.

I understand that King has space constraints and is responsible for covering all 32 NFL teams. That being said, in his using the Favre situation as the main example for the Packers’ organizational strength, King is incomplete on two points. First, he failed to juxtapose Favre’s last three seasons on and off the field with those of Rodgers. Further, King completely ignores the unbelievable job that Thompson and McCarthy have done in building and training the rest of the Packers roster.

As I previously detailed in a post entitled “Live by the Favre, Die by the Favre,” Favre had a great start to the 2008 season as quarterback of the Jets, but ultimately ended up submarining their season and was excoriated by veteran teammates Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes on his way out. With the Vikings, he had a “storybook” 2009 season that concluded on one of his trademark mindnumbingly dumb interceptions and a lackluster 2010 season in which he threw 11 TDs and 19 INTs while the Vikings went 5-8 in his starts. He has retired three times, un-retired twice (so far…I have a bet that he does again), and been the subject of an off-field sexual harassment investigation. How and what Favre has done since Thompson and McCarthy opted to go with Rodgers is an important factor in the equation that goes unmentioned by King.

Moreover, while Rodgers was the most important piece of the Packers Super Bowl team there were lots of areas on the team where Thompson’s methodology of building through the draft and re-signing players before they became free agents, coupled with the training from McCarthy’s staff, contributed immensely to the team’s championship run.

The team’s only star free agent, Charles Woodson, originally signed with the Packers against his will after no other teams made a competitive offer. Middle linebacker Desmond Bishop was drafted in the 6th round in 2007 and signed to a four-year, $19 million dollar contract extension that now looks like a bargain. In the middle of last season, Thompson signed previously undrafted free agent cornerback Tramon Williams through 2014; Williams went on to have huge interceptions in the playoffs versus the Eagles and Falcons. Nick Collins, a 2005 2nd round pick, was signed to a three-year extension worth $23.4 million before last season and went on to have an interception Week 17 versus the Bears which sealed the Packers berth in the playoffs as well as a pick-six in the Super Bowl. Prior to the 2010 season, Greg Jennings was also locked up before he hit the open market.

Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones were drafted and developed in house. Any other team could have drafted or signed Sam Shields who was picked up as an undrafted free agent. As starters continued to go down, reserves continued to step in ably to take their places. The selflessness and forward-looking focus which King speaks about in Rodgers, McCarthy, and Thompson has pervaded through the organization to all these ancillary pieces who also deserve a share of the credit for the Packers past success and future promise.

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