Brian Gutekunst knew what he was doing when he traded away Aaron Rodgers this offseason. If the rest of the NFL — or Packers fans — didn’t catch onto it, Gutekunst’s intentions became evidently clear when the Packers let multiple veterans leave the team via free agency.
Gutekunst wanted a youth movement in Green Bay, especially with Jordan Love taking the reins of the offense for the first time.
It was supposed to be a new era dominated by energy and athleticism. Through seven games, though, those buzzwords have been replaced by terms such as inexperience, lack of discipline and regression.
The Packers are 2-5 and riding a four-game losing skid. Love looks bad, and Green Bay’s offense is anemic — scoring just 20 points per game and only 13.3 points per contest over the past three games.
The defense is underwhelming and Gutekunst just traded away one of its best players in cornerback Rasul Douglas.
Head coach Matt LaFleur? Well, he looks and sounds lost.
Gutekunst put this plan together, and so far, it has failed miserably. Yes, the Packers are the youngest team in the league, and that is certainly a reason for many of their struggles — especially on offense — but that can’t be used as an excuse, per the general manager himself.
“I know everybody talks a little bit about our team being young. We’re seven games in. That whole young thing’s out the window, right? They’re professional football players, there’s expectations and we’re not shying away from that,” Gutekunst said, via the team website, in a post-trade-deadline news conference.
“We’ve got to become more efficient and we have to become more sound on both sides of the ball; special teams, as well,” Gutekunst continued. “I think when we do that, as that thing grows, then the results — not only wins and losses but offensively and defensively — will come.”
It’s all fine and dandy to hold players accountable. No matter their age, Gutekunst is right that they are pros. They do receive paychecks for playing football, and even on the worst teams, these are some of the very best athletes in the world.
With that said, are we really supposed to be all “surprised Pikachu” that this team is struggling, especially on offense?
Gutekunst built it this way.
Love’s best two options are second-year wide receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson, and one of them (Watson) has clearly hit a sophomore slump. Regression should have been planned for. It happens every year to star rookies.
Love’s other two favorite targets are tight end Luke Musgrave and tight end Jayden Reed, but they’re both rookies themselves. It’s not fair to expect them to carry an NFL offense just seven games into their careers.
The fact of the matter is that Gutekunst clearly didn’t put this team together with the thought of the Packers being a contender this year, so the “tough guy” act regarding this young team seems a bit disingenuous.
Perhaps the biggest reason Green Bay is 2-5 and in the NFL basement right now is not the players, but the general manager who put this shoddy thing together.
This is the very same GM who created an environment where two of the best players in franchise history — Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams — were happy to leave, mind you.
If we’re talking about expectations…Gutekunst has clearly fallen short.