The Green Bay Packers have a new general manager, and from his opening press conference on Monday he will have a very different style, both in terms of roster construction and in terms of his presentation to Packers fans.
Gutekunst made it very clear that he plans to approach free agency much more aggressively than his predecessor, Ted Thompson did. After his second year in Green Bay, Thompson barely ever signed an unrestricted free agent from another team, and Gutekunst will take a different approach to building a roster. “There was a foundation of draft, develop, and retain our core players that won’t change a whole lot,” Gutekunst said, “but I do think I will lead in my own personality.”
As far as what that entails, he said that he expects the team to be more agressive “in certain areas,” emphasizing that “we’re not going to leave any stone unturned in terms of player acquisition.”
An easy inference from that statement is that the Packers will be more active in free agency, something Gutekunst confirmed in no uncertain terms later in the presser: “I think it’s an absolute must as an accessory piece to building the roster,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to sign every player but we want to be in everything, we want to be in the know and we have to be prepared enough to pull the trigger.”
It appears that the rest of the Packers organization is approving of a broader approach to free agency, as well. Head coach Mike McCarthy had reportedly expressed frustration with Thompson mainly ignoring that pathway to bringing in players, so it should come as a pleasant change to him. “I know our guys are really excited about that,” Gutekunst said, likely referring to McCarthy as well as other members of the front office.
One other notable change to expect with Gutekunst at the reins as general manager is more transparency about the team’s transactions. Thompson, of course, was known to speak to the media as rarely as possible and reveal nothing of any significance during those rare appearances. Team president Mark Murphy even joked about it a week ago, likening Ted’s enjoyment of speaking publicly to that of a root canal.
Gutekunst, however, was much more comfortable speaking to the room full of reporters than Thompson ever was, and plans to take a very different approach to speaking more: “I think I have a responsibility to not only the team and the organization but to the fans alike.” He noted that speculation and rumors will easily creep in if no information is provided, so he emphasized that “if we can communicate clearly that will take care of that.”
All in all, expect a very different approach from the Packers’ new general manager to that of the departing one, and it is likely to make fans — and his fellow colleagues at Lambeau Field — more comfortable.