Listen, I know there were a lot of people at the start of the season who didn’t have a lot of love in their hearts for Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.
And I get it. Why would they? The reigning MVP quarterback almost retired due to the Packers front office. It seemed Gutekunst was on Rodgers’ last straw, which, if broken, would’ve resulted in us never seeing Rodgers in the green and yellow again.
That would’ve been a heartbreaker for many.
Now 13 games into the regular season, maybe it’s time to start giving Gutekunst the credit he deserves in the role that he’s played in getting this team to 10-3 overall and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
It wasn’t a massive splash free agent signing. It wasn’t trading up in the draft to get a big name star.
But a bunch of under-the-radar moves have made all the difference this season.
Let’s start with the obvious ones. Drafting Eric Stokes in the first round was an excellent move. The kid has got speed, instincts and the potential to be a top cornerback in this league. Yes, he’s taken his lumps here and there. But, after Jaire Alexander went down, he’s been solid week in, and week out.
Next, De’Vondre Campbell has been one of the best inside linebackers in football. Gutekunst got him for next-to-nothing on a one-year deal.
Let’s not forget about the Randall Cobb and Corey Bojorquez trades during training camp. Cobb, acquired in an effort to please Rodgers, has been an excellent addition to the wide receiver room. It’s evident that he’s still got talent, which is great for Rodgers — and great for the team. And Bojorquez has been one of the lone bright spots of an otherwise miserable special teams, which I will elect not to get into in this blog.
The in-season signing of Rasul Douglas off a practice squad? *Chef’s kiss*
With Alexander out, Douglas and Stokes have been solid as true cover corners. Douglas has recorded two pick-sixes in the past two games. And we can’t forget about that Cardinals game.
Outside of Douglas (pick-six) and Campbell (16 tackles), the latest Gutekunst signing to fill in nicely during the Bears game? Dennis Kelly.
A nine-year veteran who started all 16 regular season games for the Tennessee Titans last season, Gutekunst picked him up off the street in the offseason for a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.
When Billy Turner went down, Kelly stepped in and didn’t allow a single pressure on 24 pass blocking snaps.
To have someone with so much experience (for so little money) as a reliable backup is an A+ move by Gutekunst and the rest of the front office.
So maybe it’s time we give a little pat on the back to Gutekunst. I think he’s more-than-deserving of it.——————
Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.