|Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy watch CEO Mark Murphy hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2011. (Getty Images)|
Saturday to McCarthy: I haven't really done this in awhile.
McCarthy: I haven't really done this in a long time, either.
The Packers don't normally go after older veteran players and Saturday always believed he'd retire a Colt. The Packers weren't used to recruiting (Saturday was the first unrestricted free agent to sign with the Packers in three years) and Saturday wasn't used to being pursued. But here they were and that awkward dance would result in Saturday becoming a Packer.
It's one of the few free agent moves the Packers have made this offseason. The Packers have had other free agents visit and more are likely to come but these are the same old Packers. Compared to other teams, the Packers are so far under the offseason radar, you'd need sonar to find them. And trust me: that's a good thing.
|More on NFL|
|NFL coverage on the go|
In a league that's at one of its most chaotic points in many decades, the Packers remain a steady and smart presence. They have an almost invisible general manager who may be the best in the sport, and a laid back coach who is as skilled as the best. This is the Packer way. Chill, lay low, dip a little toe into free agency but once the season starts, punch teams in the mouth.
This could change as team needs force the use of free agency but for the moment the Packers are being the Packers. They are quiet in a league immersed in controversy.
The NFL is filled with news of bounties, salary cap scandals, trades, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, more bounties, more scandals, more Manning, more Tebow and a little Andrew Luck.
Many of the moves being made by teams reek of desperation. The desperate in this league die; the steady win. It's that simple.
Great teams actually do little in the offseason. The three best teams in football have been among the least Googled. The Patriots have been mostly quiet. The Giants have been mostly quiet. The Packers have been barely audible. This bodes well for them because in the NFL, quiet is good.
Look at some of the noisy franchises: the Colts, the Browns, the Cowboys, the Redskins. They all have something in common: they stink. Then there are teams like the Jets and 49ers. The Jets are a circus and the 49ers added perennial quitter Randy Moss who has destroyed almost every franchise he's played for and will atomize the 49ers as well.
McCarthy's Packers epitomize the opposite of loud and obnoxious. When I asked McCarthy if he enjoyed being out of the free agency news cycle, he joked, "Ever been to Green Bay?" (I have many times. It's lovely this time of year.) Translation: this is how we roll, dude.
McCarthy has been drilled about the perception that the rest of the division is getting better while the Packers remain stagnant. The Bears added knucklehead Brandon Marshall. The Lions are young and hungry. The Vikings are young and, uh, young.
McCarthy doesn't see his Packers as inactive because they didn't add Marshall or Tebow.
"We're getting better, also," he said.
McCarthy added: "We haven't chosen to be a veteran-driven team. We develop our players."
If there has ever been an anti-circus it's the Packers, and if there has ever been an anti-ringleader, it's McCarthy. He looks the part. McCarthy resembles the guy who comes to fix the copy machine, but he's equipped with a big brain and understanding that steady is good. The Packers' general manager, Ted Thompson, is beyond covert. He's cloaked like a Romulan warbird and skilled in the art of drafting like few men we've seen in this league.
Green Bay's biggest challenge will be resisting the quick-fix temptation that sinks so many others. The loss in the NFC divisional playoff game was a bitter one and when meeting with the media Wednesday, McCarthy faced all sorts of questions about why he rested quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the final regular-season game.
Temptation to stray from the Packer way will come if the franchise allows the pressure of that loss to overwhelm their natural instincts of making smart personnel moves.
Meanwhile, the Packers are just doing their thing while other franchises get their Tebow on. We'll see which philosophy wins. Hint: it'll be the Packers.