Doug from Union Grove, WI
Philosophical differences between Brian Gutekunst and Ted Thompson?
They’ll reveal themselves over time. I think Gutekunst made clear in the news conference the draft-develop-retain foundation won’t take his energies away from other avenues that need to be explored. I don’t think it’ll be a splashy free-agent move that will tell us the difference, it’ll be during the season when injuries inevitably strike and we see how the overall roster is constructed. Will the “next man up” be totally unproven or a veteran who’s been there before? As Wes mentioned the other day, back in 2010, the Packers brought in guys like Erik Walden and Howard Green when the need dictated. In more recent seasons, we didn’t see as many injury substitutions with experience.
Achilleas from Volos, Greece
I liked the first interview of Gutenkust. The key word that had me was aggressive. That's what I think was lacking the last five years.
The phrase that caught me regarding free agency was “being prepared to pull the trigger.” It makes me wonder if assumptions were made about markets and price tags for certain players that ultimately proved inaccurate, which led to regrets the Packers didn’t explore various opportunities more.**
Paul from Ellensburg, WA
Hey fellas, do you feel the reorganization with Mike McCarthy answering directly to Murphy speaks to the coach’s increasing influence in the personnel office or a need for the president to be a peacemaker with the new team?
How much influence it’ll have remains to be seen. But I think this gives McCarthy the opportunity to explain when the coaches feel hamstrung by the talent available to them, or describe what he feels they need, without coming across as, potentially, insubordinate or overstepping.
Jim from Mukwonago, WI
With the change in power structure, (McCarthy, Ball, and Gutekunst all reporting to Murphy), people seem to be worried that Murphy will become some kind tyrannical overlord over football operations. I believe that Murphy will be more of a mediator between the coaches, personnel, and finance, having department heads explain why decisions were made and opening up communications between themselves.
I agree. Hearing Murphy mention “silos” was telling. There’s a difference between silos and boundaries. I think Murphy is trying to break down the former with a structure that respects the latter.
Thiago from Curitiba, Brazil
You are the GM picking first overall in the 2020 draft in need of a QB. Who do you pick? Tagovailoa or Fromm? What a game.
I’m not going to anoint either as the top pick in an upcoming draft, but that was something, watching two freshman QBs duel it out on the biggest stage. It takes some guts to bench a QB who’s 25-2, but it also takes some moxie to follow up a 16-yard sack in overtime with a 41-yard, game-winning TD pass on the next play. Wow. **
Matthew from Allentown, PA
When the Patriots or Steelers do eventually make the SB, that’d make 15 out of 17 years with Peyton, Brady or Big Ben in AFC...’02 Gannon, ’12 Flacco. Point taken, though.
It just feels like Brady and Roethlisberger have been on a crash course for the AFC title game this year for a couple of months now, just like some of those Brady-Manning years. It’s hard to see Mariota or Bortles cracking that code right now.
Matt from Eau Claire, WI
Hey Insiders, with that challenge situation in the Rams-Falcons game, couldn’t the defense exploit that situation by having a player offside in order to have more time to get a review of the previous play? I feel like that’s a pretty big loophole.
You’re not the only one suggesting that. It’ll be interesting to see if the strategy takes hold. If so, the league may have to do away with the challenge system and just have booth reviews. I wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as they build mechanisms for speeding up the decision-making process.
John from Dallas, TX
With a new defensive coordinator, will this stunt the growth of first-year players making the jump to the second year, having to possibly learn a whole new system?
It shouldn’t, provided the system is geared toward taking advantage of what individuals do best. The more valid question is when a second-year player is capable of showing his best.
Paul from Milwaukee, WI
Insiders, in getting a new defensive coordinator, will he be sitting up in the box or standing on the sidelines? I'm not sure whose decision it falls on, the head coach or the DC himself?
In the past, McCarthy has left that decision up to his coordinator.
Sam from Janesville, WI
Does Brian Gutekunst have a nickname? If not, I vote for Gutey. I just hope it doesn’t become BG. It works for MM and TT because of the alliteration but not for Gutey.
The Green Bay Packers officially named Brian Gutekunst as GM on Jan. 8, 2018. Photos by Evan Siegle, Tyler Gajewski & Matt Becker, packers.com.
He’s never objected when I’ve called him Gute (or Goot). But as someone sensitive about Mikey, I don’t go for Gutey, even though he doesn’t seem to mind.**
Michael from Dover, PA
If anyone doesn’t grasp what the term “salary cap ail”’ means one needs to look no further than the Denver Broncos. They mortgage the future entirely by signing Manning and they did win a Super Bowl...but look at the mess they’re in now. Is that the direction the wolves want? Signing Manning to that bloated contract meant losing key components but there was no guarantee Manning would deliver. Now they’re left with little chance of anything except drafting high for the next few years...and it comes with an absolute guarantee of no playoffs let alone a Super Bowl.
And if they draft well they’ll have another up cycle, as long as they have a QB. Any team is capable of rising after the falloff, but your point about mortgaging the future coming with no guarantees is the astute one. That’s why I’d rather have as many at-bats in the playoffs year after year as possible. That said, I think it’s easier to make a “go-for-it” type of move now without crippling the cap because it continues to rise.
Kevin from Rockton, IL
Spoff mentioned that the salary cap has been increasing steadily about 10 million per year. How will this trend be affected by a nearly 10 percent reduction in NFL viewership during this last regular season? What affects the salary cap most dramatically?
TV revenue is the biggest factor, and while ratings are down, we won’t know the real impact (nor will the cap) until the TV contracts are up for bid again, which isn’t for another couple of years.
Al from Green Bay, WI
Compare and contrast: In the Ice Bowl, on Starr's famous QB sneak to win the game, fullback Chuck Mercein raised his arms so the officials didn't think he assisted Bart across the goal line. Fifty years later in the Falcons-Rams playoff game, Atlanta center Alex Mack literally carried RB Devonta Freeman across the goal line. Is that legal now? What did I miss?
Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr celebrates his birthday on Jan. 9. Photos by packers.com, Harmann Studios, Shawn Hubbard, Green Bay Press-Gazette & AP.
Somewhere along the line the “assisting a runner” rule came to prohibit only “pulling” not “pushing.” The push is never called anymore. I don’t understand either.**
Paul from Nuremberg, Germany
If you need to know: Gutekunst is a German last name and means "man with good skills." The (medieval German) meaning of "kunst" is "skill" and "gut(e)" means "good." Most people with this last name live in southwestern Germany (Stuttgart and Calw area). So the name already is fitting.
So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
William from Savannah, GA
Wes/Mike: Multiple questions. 1) Would Jack Del Rio be a fit for the DC position? 2) What is your best estimate on roster turnover for next year? I am taking 25-30 percent because the defense must get faster and more attack-minded, and we could see 50 percent turnover in the receiving corps.
Packers LB Blake Martinez celebrates his birthday on Jan. 9. See photos and facts from his career. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson, packers.com.
Many in the Inbox are clamoring for Del Rio. I really don’t know if he’d fit McCarthy’s vision. Only McCarthy does. As for roster turnover, the standard is around 20 percent, but I agree with you. I expect it to be closer to 30 percent this year.**
Justin from Los Angeles, CA
Saw a couple articles about whether Carolina is wasting Cam Newton's best years. I guess every fan base that isn't New England does this, huh?
There’s never assurance you can follow one franchise quarterback with another, so fans want their team’s opportunity maximized. It’s only natural. But this is where it gets tough in the NFC, because while Rodgers, Brees, Wilson, Manning, Ryan and Newton have all gone to Super Bowls, the conference has added Wentz, Goff and Prescott to the mix over the last two years, while Garoppolo and Winston are showing loads of promise, too. Strap in, folks, every season is going to be a ride.
Matt from Rockbridge, WI
Saints 24, Vikings 17.
Works for me.
Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI
I know how the Packers can save a bunch of money. Don't hire a GM or head coach. Just read the papers and watch the internet and do whatever the "reporters" say to do. When did the term "reporters" become synonymous with editorials?
Probably when consumers stopped reading the actual news and only cared about reporters’ opinions.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Computer chips in shoulder pads measure NFL player game speed. Turns out the Rams have the fastest receivers and the Packers have the slowest, by a country mile. How do you think that grabs Aaron?
Probably about the same as it does the Rams, who couldn’t do much against that Atlanta defense, either.
Martin from Mainz, Germany
If the Bills would offer their 21 and 22 picks for our 14, would you take it?
If the guy I really want is there at 14, no. But if he gets snagged shortly before I go on the clock, then yeah.
Travis from Superior, WI
Put me on the long list of people who will not miss Jeff Triplette’s unwatchable football games.
I’m chairman of that committee, bro. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take over for Riveron at the command center.
Todd from Carson City, NV
What are your thoughts about the pros adopting the college rule that defines a catch as touching just one foot in bounds instead of two? It seems this rule change would widen the field just a little bit, make the game easier to officiate, and probably reduce the number of challenges.
Sorry, I like two feet, and the equivalencies thereof (one knee, one elbow) except one butt cheek.
Matt from Chicago, IL
With David Bakhtiari on the left side, and Bulaga recovering from his injury, how big is it that Jason Spriggs will supposedly be ready for OTAs?
It would be valuable to him and the team, and if Kyle Murphy is ready, too, that could be a heck of a battle. Maybe a draft pick gets tossed into the competition as well.
Nate from Ames, IA
I am sick after watching the Chiefs “lose.” What is wrong with this league? If I were the Titans I would absolutely target Travis Kelce and take him out of the game. They took advantage of the rules. Forward progress on the sack-fumble of Mariota? What? He wasn’t moving forward. The better team did not advance and I feel sick about the inconsistencies of the game of football moving forward. Sean McDonough’s voice cracks just made the whole thing into a farce. What a mess.
Take your pick. Arbitrary? Capricious? Whimsical? Anyone? Bueller?
Max from Kimberly, WI
People constantly ask about trading up because we need “quality over quantity.” I’m not against trading up; I would love it if they did. But I don’t think people understand that trading up does not guarantee a great player. Every pick is a guess, whether it’s the first pick or the hundredth.
When you trade up, sometimes you get Clay Matthews and Morgan Burnett. Other times you get Jerel Worthy and Terrell Manning. The draft is still the draft.
Dave from East Burke, VT
I am wondering if the inner turmoil amongst Brady, Kraft, and Belichick will affect the Patriots in the playoffs.
I highly doubt it.
Tyler from La Crosse, WI
Under TT, who was the West Coast regional scout? He seemed to have significant pull in the draft room.
That was, and still is, Sam Seale. Yes, we have heard from him a lot on draft day, particularly in recent years.
Joe from Madison, WI
One of the biggest missteps of Thompson was letting Casey Hayward go. I must admit, though, that at the time I didn't object one bit as he was only a solid and not dominant player. What changed for Casey? Was he put in a better scheme or did he simply grow as a player? I guess free agency is also somewhat of a crystal-ball business.
Of course it is. Hayward has flat-out gotten better, and he deserves every ounce of credit coming his way. I say this with all due respect to Casey, who was every reporter’s locker-room favorite, but had he not made two significant mistakes late in Seattle, not only do the Packers maybe go to a Super Bowl, they probably don’t use their first two picks on corners the following spring. It was a sequence of events creating a set of circumstances.
Steve from Middletown, WI
In regards to Randall’s and Ha Ha’s comments, I think they were just voicing their overall frustrations more than anything else. When you say it’s going to be interesting to see what the defense will be next year, do you mean how the coordinator will scheme or whether we are going to see a lot of player changes?
Tom from Fairfield, CT
Now that we are getting even more deeply into the Ron Wolf managerial tree, I thought I would mention that when I read his book a year or so ago (“The Packer Way” or something like that), Ron mentioned his need to change the roster upon his arrival to get his type of players, or something like that. I suspect that's what all new general managers want to do. Do you have any greater insight into the specifics of what that meant in Ron's mind?
All GMs have a type of player they like (outside of the uber-talented, can’t-miss, everyone-would-want-him guys) because the way he plays shows everyone else fighting for jobs what it takes to make the roster – his roster – which breeds more players of the desired type. You have to be careful not to go with style over substance, but leaders who set trends matter.
Davy from Chetek, WI
Got any good Brian Gutekunst stories?
Nothing earth-shattering, but over the last several years I’d made a habit of joining him here or there for the short walk to an early training-camp practice. He’d very helpfully tell me which of the “dreamers” was making a legitimate bid for a roster spot, such as an undrafted rookie or a holdover from the practice squad who was getting noticed. It would give me an idea of whom to keep an eye on in the upcoming preseason games. It might be a little harder to sidle up to him walking across Oneida Street now, but I’ll keep trying.
Rick from Milwaukee, WI
No question just an observation. Mike goes out of state for the weekend and the biggest offseason news happens while he is gone. Hmmm.
Are we starting another streak? I thought it had run its course, but maybe not. Appreciate Wes holding down the fort while I was gone.