Fifteen Questions for GM Brian Gutekunst
Total Packers adds our congratulations to Brian Gutekunst, who was Monty’s preference, as well as a bunch of Packers alumni and others with knowledge of the job he’s done in Green Bay over almost two decades.
Arguably the three biggest personnel-related events in the last nine years of Packers’ history are: Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbones in 2013 and 2017, and Brian Gutekunst replacing GM Ted Thompson. Though he’s been in the Packers’ organization for 19 years, few of us know much about Gutekunst’s views, tendencies, football philosophies, or personality traits.
A general manager’s authority varies from team to team. CEO Mark Murphy, however, has made it clear that Gutekunst, like his recent predecessors, will be in overall charge of all personnel matters, including free agency, draft selection, and roster composition.
With those heavy responsibilities in mind, here are some questions I’d like to have answered by the new GM.
- Would you share with us how much you are being paid?
- What, in your view, are the team’s three biggest positional needs as we approach the trading and free agency periods, and the NFL draft in late April?
- With the exception of 2017, your predecessor has been very reluctant to bring aboard players from other NFL teams – do you anticipate there will be more free agent signings under your leadership?
- How much input will you provide in selecting the new offensive and defensive coordinators, or is that strictly the head coach’s decision to make?
- It looks like the Packers will have 11 draft picks this year, providing great flexibility in trading up or down the draft board. Are you inclined to make such deals if situations warrant, and if so, would you anticipate the Packers might relinquish some of their lower round choices to move up their upper-round picks?
- During the last several years the Packers have routinely had one of the league’s five youngest teams. Do you expect to maintain that trend, or would you like to add some more experienced players to the roster?
- The head coach often has assigned players who make on-the-field blunders to his “doghouse” for lengthy periods of a season. In these or other exceptional cases where you feel a player is not getting enough on-field opportunities, would you consider instructing the coach to increase his playing time?
- This season in particular, several former Packers players who were let go over the years have expressed bitterness – not over the decisions themselves, but the way things were handled and communicated. Do you feel any of this criticism was justified, and if so, will you be making any changes?
- Many critics say team leaders invest too much training and roster space in players picked high in the draft, including long after it’s clear a poor selection was made. Have you seen any evidence of this, and if so, will you be more inclined to “cut the cord” on players who have failed to produce after sufficient chances?
- Do you agree that the Packers have been unusually injury-prone over the last decade, and if so, do you have any ideas or plans for reduce injuries?
- Do you agree that the Packers have placed more emphasis on athleticism during the last few drafts than previously, and do you intend to emphasize this trait in future drafts?
- The Packers have a reputation for having slow players – just a week or so ago, a study indicated Green Bay had the slowest corps of receivers in the league. Do you feel this claim is justified, and if so, do you plan to add more speed, throughout the roster, in coming years?
- Regardless of how you personally feel about Martellus Bennett, has the organization learned anything from that whole unfortunate experience?
- Since Coach Kevin Greene left in 2014, the Packers have seldom been viewed as an emotional or rah-rah team. Do you feel the team could use a boost of enthusiasm and emotion, and if so, do you have any ideas for achieving it?
- It’s apparent from the recent Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections that the team’s well of star-quality players is drying up. Other than tackle David Bakhtiari being named second team All-Pro, the team’s other stars, like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and Jordy Nelson, were all drafted at least nine years ago. What ideas do you have for adding more star players to the roster?