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You cannot be afraid of change

Posted Jan 10, 2018

Make no mistake, this is Brian Gutekunst's roster to manage

Rick from Pacifica, CA

On the topic of the CBA and limited practice time, especially in pads, that players have now, how does this affect the Packers' draft-and-develop philosophy? We have young players not getting as much meaningful practice time. Getting real game experience after an injury forces a less-experienced player into the game is good, but don't teams need more experienced backup players? Doesn't this point to the need for more mid-level free agents?

Spoff and I had a good discussion on this topic a couple weeks ago. I don’t know if it forces you to sign more free agents, but offseason restrictions resulting from the CBA make it more challenging to get young players ready to play, in my opinion. This year was trying on a number of fronts and proved you never can have too much depth at key positions.

David from Los Angeles, CA

I would prefer the next defensive coordinator be on the sideline during the game. Why make it so difficult for position coaches to communicate with their boss at crucial times in the game? How can a DC feel the pulse of his entire defensive unit (players and coaches) staring down from on high separated by glass? Technology can give him the aerial view but nothing can replace the personal interactions.

Dom Capers felt the aerial view gave him a better look at coverages. I didn’t think it was too much of a hindrance in communicating with players, but every defensive coordinator has his own philosophy. I’ll be interested to hear what the next DC thinks about it.

Todd from Sandy, UT

Great work guys, thank you! My question is what duties an OC would have when the HC calls all plays? Can you provide more insight?

The offensive coordinator may not call plays in Green Bay, but he’s heavily involved in the game-planning process. He’s responsible for keeping the offense organized during the week, formulating game plans and getting the position groups to fit together.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Do you think the new power structure is risky? Either those men are extremely understanding professionals (which is probably the case), or it could cause some major conflict.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to structure the power in your organization. I don’t care if that’s the Green Bay Packers or any other walk of life. It depends on the people. Mark Murphy knows Mike McCarthy, Russ Ball and Brian Gutekunst well. He wouldn’t have made this change if he didn’t feel it would work. There’s a negative connotation attached to conflict. Conflict doesn’t have to be negative. It can be constructive if everyone is trying to do what’s best for the team. Times change. You cannot be afraid of change.

Sam from Nashville, TN

Now that Murphy has restructured the front office roles, could you help us understand how these roles are intertwined? How does one guy act as GM while another manages the cap? What are the responsibilities of the director of football ops?

As Gutekunst told reporters Monday, this was more about putting into writing things that already have been in place. It’s not like anyone is getting a role stripped away with the single swipe of a pen. Ball will continue to handle the cap and various other administrative duties, lessening Gutekunst’s burden. Make no mistake – this is Gutekunst’s roster to manage. If he wants a player on the roster, that player will be on the roster.

Drew from Front Royal, VA

Do you believe Geronimo Allison or Michael Clark will take that step to being a true No. 2 receiver to be able to have Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb work the slot? That could be dangerous. Throw in the speed of Davis, Montgomery’s versatility, a run game with Jones and Williams, and hopefully a tight end to send down the seam.

Allison and Clark have the size to succeed on the boundary and both have shown they have the necessary tools. Now, they need to take the next step like Nelson, Cobb and Davante Adams all did. That’ll determine their future in the NFL.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

The thing I enjoyed the most during the GM search was a photo of Ted Thompson, taken on the day of Gutekunst’s introduction, showing him out there scouting at a low-profile all-star game. Truly a scout at heart.

Someone mentioned this when Gutekunst was addressing beat reporters after his news conference. I haven’t seen it yet, but it doesn’t surprise me. Scouting is what Thompson does. It’s his passion. I think he’ll find this new role rejuvenating. It allows Thompson to do what he does best without all the other obligations pulling at an NFL GM.

John from Madison, AL

I know all of you weren't around back then, but for us old-timers, what is the significant difference of having Brian Gutekunst and Mike McCarthy on the same level answering to Mark Murphy compared to Tom Braatz and Forrest Gregg on the same level answering to Judge Robert Parins?

With all due respect to those three gentlemen, they didn’t all have a hand in winning a Super Bowl together.

Tanner from Tri Cites, WA

Hey there Wes, hope all is well on your side of the states. My question in regards to all this is who answers to who. Who does Murphy answer to since we don't have a one owner per se?

Murphy answers to the other six individuals on the executive committee.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

I would like to see the Packers re-sign Richard Rodgers. He was much faster last year. I would keep Nelson and Cobb as well. Nelson was leading the NFL in touchdowns until Aaron Rodgers got hurt. Good things happen when the ball is in Randall Cobb's hand.

Rodgers has been equal parts durable and steady since the Packers drafted him in 2014. He’s also a close friend of Davante Adams, who signed an extension last month. Rodgers didn’t gripe when he was asked to take on a reduced role the past two seasons. He does his job to the best of his ability and doesn’t make a scene. That’s the kind of player I want on my team.

Ed from Independence, WI

Will the new powers to be pay more attention to the players that UW in Madison is producing? Seems like Ted wanted to stay away.

Just because the Packers didn’t draft T.J. Watt doesn’t mean they’ve ignored Wisconsin. They drafted Vince Biegel and Jared Abbrederis in recent years and spent three seasons developing Scott Tolzien. They pay attention to what’s going on in Madison. They always have.

Luke from Eagle, CO

Hey guys! Thanks for the daily source of entertainment. The notorious “big jump” happens from first to second year. Any thoughts on when the notorious decline begins? I understand each individual (Favre, Manning) can have great stretches, but how about the average player in the NFL?

It depends on the position and how much wear-and-tear the player has over the duration of his career. Every player develops at his own pace and every player declines differently.

Jeriah from Las Cruces, NM

I'm perfectly happy with picking at 14, but to be honest, I wouldn't mind trading back into the top of the second or third round. Trading into the top 10 is too expensive in my opinion.

This is the earliest the Packers have drafted in nine years. If it’s up to me, not knowing what the board will look like in three months, I think I’d stand pat and increase your odds of finding an impact player.

John from Denton, TX

Statement for you guys regarding the statement from Rick from Chatman, Ontario. I see everything posted online as a rumor until it is posted on There is a lot of bad information out there, but I love the fact that if it's on this website, it's fact. Please don't change and try to out-“scoop” other reporters. I visit this website daily because of your integrity. Please keep up what you are doing and I can promise at least a few clicks daily from this Packers fan in Texas.

We want to get it right. If we lose a reader or two because Spoff and I aren’t speculating on who’s getting hired or fired, so be it. Everyone does it differently, but we talk in absolutes in this column. There was a lot of buzz about the Packers claiming a player last year and people asking why we haven’t said anything about it. Well, the player ended up failing his physical and nothing happened. Once something is official, we’re happy to talk about anything and everything.

Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA

Can you explain the difference in one personnel guy being good at evaluating college talent while another is better at evaluating pro football talent? Football talent is football talent, why the apparent differentiation?

I think you’re right to a certain extent. Football is football, but there are only so many hours in the day. Certain roles require scouts to specialize in a particular region of the country or area of football. Experience and connections all play into the development of a scout. In my current job, I write at times and I broadcast at times. However, my expertise is in writing. It’s not that I can’t do both, but one I have more experience in than the other.

Trevor from Peekskill, NY

No comments about the GuteSuit? Now there is a good lookin' fellow. Haven't seen a suit that nice since the receivers got off the plane in Carolina. Look good, play good. I like it.

I’m not sure whether Mrs. Gutekunst deserves the credit for that or not, but his suit game was on point. Dress for success.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

So if the Packers make some shrewd personnel moves and take the division back from the Vikings, do we all shout "GUTEKUUUUUUNST" at Lambeau?

Good luck with that.

Stephen from Bradenton, FL

Not a question, just a belated Happy Birthday to Bart Starr. A great player and an even greater man. No one represents the Green Bay Packers more so than No. 15. I had the pleasure of meeting him as a young boy in my family’s home in Connecticut a long, long time ago. A distant relative of my mom’s was LT Bob Skoronski. He arranged for my twin brother and me to meet Bart Starr as he knew we were huge Packer fans. I will never forget it.

The original GOAT. I pray he and his family had a happy and healthy 84th birthday.

Brian from Newport Beach, CA

As someone who doesn't watch much college football, it became apparent watching the championship game how much better the officiating is in college as opposed to NFL. Seemed like a much better flow to the game and fewer flags in my opinion.

The game is slower in my opinion. NFL officiating is not easy. You have a fraction of a second to see the play unfold. There cannot be any lapse in your focus or concentration for three hours. I’m sure college has its own challenges, but I don’t think you can compare the two.

Andrew from Huxley, IA

Alabama's QB made a great throw and immediately I saw people blaming the Georgia cornerback and safety. Is it not enough to give credit to the coach for making a bold decision and the quarterback for making a great throw? It seems like in today's world everyone wants someone to blame. My question is why do we require a scapegoat?

People love to draw conclusions – the faster, the better. If X happens, they immediately want to know why. The problem is that can lead to false assumptions.

Ian from Waukesha, WI

Hypothetically speaking, if the open position of quarterbacks coach were to be filled by, say, Aaron Rodgers, would any extra salary from his coaching position be counted towards the salary cap? Asking for a friend.

Anything you pay Aaron Rodgers counts towards the cap.

Samuel from Bethany, WV

With Rodgers aging and having limited years remaining, does that place more pressure on Brian to win now and less time to implement his culture and system?

Rodgers is 34. Tom Brady just threw for 4,500 yards and posted a 102.8 passer rating at 40. Fans need to stop pressing fast forward. Enjoy it because Rodgers isn’t close to being done. I get the nerves. Injuries happen, but this narrative is getting old. Rodgers isn’t going anywhere. The Packers absolutely want to win now and maximize Rodgers’ years. The moves they’ve made this offseason prove they’re doing whatever it takes to get there.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

My neighbors here in Minnesota keep trying to convince me to cheer for the Vikings because a Vikings Super Bowl win would "be good for the NFC North." I continue to resist because I don't understand how any green-and-gold-blooded Packers fan would rightfully cheer for the Vikings. Am I correct here or is there merit to their argument?

Yes. That’s ridiculous. This isn’t college football. Nobody cares about the strength of the division. If you’re a Packers fan, I see no reason to cheer for the Vikings, especially given what happened this year.

Tony from River Falls, WI

A friend of mine said that the Cavs and Golden State dominating in the NBA is hurting basketball since it's the same thing year after year. Did you think this goes for the Patriots, too? I understand dynasties, but the Patriots are always Tom Brady plus a rag-tag group of players that is starting to get B-O-R-I-N-G.

The dominance of the Cavs and Warriors makes it difficult for me to get invested in the NBA. I don’t get that feeling with the NFL, though. I think that’s because of the wide variety of Super Bowl champions over the last decade. Yes, the Patriots have largely dominated the AFC but it hasn’t always resulted in a Lombardi Trophy. If there were teams dominating the NFC and AFC, maybe I’d feel differently.

Michael from Savage, MN

Hi Mike, I am a lifelong Packer fan but went to school at the U of MN and have had football season tickets now for 32 years, so I was there when Brian Gutekunst’s dad John was the coach here. His nickname was "Gutey" around here so maybe like father, like son?

Like son.

Bobby from Barnegat, NJ

Why is Aaron Rodgers not listed on the website on our roster anymore?

Scroll down.

Tony from Burbank, CA

I found the perfect family vacation spot for you and your family. It's the “Game of Thrones” ice hotel in Finland. While you and your wife take in the Northern Lights on a snowmobile safari, your infant son could have in-house child care. Which babysitter would you prefer The Mountain, Melisandre, or a White Walker?

Jaw. Dropped…and none of the above.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

Where can I purchase my "I am Gute" T-shirt or embroidered pillow?

Let me check with the Pro Shop.


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