The Year in Review:
After a week of upheaval and chaos within the coaching staff and front office, the organizational structure of the Green Bay Packers is beginning to come more into focus. Over the last week, we have seen Joe Philbin and Jim Holster fill the positions of offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach while seeing a complete restructure of the organizational power in the front office.
This restructure of front office power structure came when CEO Mark Murphy announced the hiring of Brian Gutekunst as the new general manager, and the promotion of Russ Ball to vice president and director of football operations. Murphy announced that Gutekunst, Ball, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy will all report directly to him. This move likely ensures that McCarthy will have a chance to come back for another season as head coach of the Packers and have the opportunity to coach his way to another contract extension if he so desires.
Casualties of the Organizational Restructure:
One member of the front office that was left completely out of the fray of the organizational restructure, was, up and coming in-house executive Eliot Wolf. Wolf interviewed for the general manager position but was passed over by the slightly more experienced Brian Gutekunst.
Gutekunst and Wolf had been in the running for most of the same NFL general manager vacancies over the last two offseasons and both have been promoted internally within the Packers organization over the past few seasons, in order to keep them from leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities. However, logic dictated that with the reassignment of Ted Thompson, the Packers were going to have to make the tough choice between Gutekunst and Wolf, if and when the organization was denied the right to interview current Seahawks general manager John Schneider.
As the saga played out, The Packers, thanks to Schneider’s new contract extension, were denied the right to interview him. The Packers difficult decision had now become a reality as they were now forced to choose between their internal candidates. The Packers ultimately went with the slightly more experienced Gutekunst and promoted Russ Ball to Wolf’s position of Director of Football Operations.
As expected, the move to pass up Eliot Wolf left his hall of fame former Packer general manager father, Ron Wolf, with quite the sour taste in his mouth. Wolf was quoted by pro football talks, Darin Gantt, as saying that “At least he had the opportunity to interview for it, Obviously the people up there don’t think he’s worthy or they would’ve hired him. End of discussion.”
As I had written last week in my list of front-runners to succeed Ted Thompson, I believed that this internal decision for the general manager vacancy had the potential of ending up with an ugly divorce between Ron and Eliot Wolf, and the Packers organization. We can see, through Ron Wolf’s quotes, and the Packers decision to promote Russ Ball to Eliot Wolf’s former position, it is all but logical to assume that the die has been cast and Eliot Wolf will end up moving on from the Packers.
Possible Landing Spots for Eliot Wolf:
1. Houston Texans- The Packers could grant permission for Wolf to be interviewed for Rick Smith’s job opening in Houston, possibly, as a final move of good faith to both Eliot Wolf, as well as the Texans. (The Packers promoted Gutenkunst just prior to being interviewed for the Texans GM opening).
Potential Destinations for Other Front Office Positions:
2. The Cleveland Browns (John Dorsey) (reported by Rob Demovsky and Zach Kruse)
3.The Oakland Raiders (Reggie McKenzie)
4. The Seattle Seahawks (John Schneider)
I am sure that Ron Wolf will be giving his son stern advice to leave the Green Bay Packers immediately and pursue a similar role within another organization that has leaders with strong ties to both the Packers and himself. Clearly, this imminent divorce will cause a rift in the relationship between Ron Wolf and the Packers organization that hopefully will be mended sooner rather than later.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave