There may not have been a more hated figure among Green Bay Packers fans this offseason than general manager Brian Gutekunst. After all, he traded away one of the best quarterbacks of all-time in Aaron Rodgers and allowed several other popular veterans to depart the team via free agency. Randall Cobb, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Adrian Amos, Mason Crosby: all gone.
Instead, Gutekunst decided to build his 2023 Packers roster around Jordan Love. Because of the dead cap hits of Rodgers and others no longer on the team, Gutekunst was forced to surround his new quarterback with rookies and unproven/inexperienced veterans.
Former Indianapolis Colts punter (and known friend/admirer/devotee of Rodgers) Pat McAfee used his immensely popular platform to drag Gutekunst and the Packers through the proverbial mud all offseason. Other media personalities followed suit. Packers fans did, too.
All the while, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas was praised by the national media. Not only did he get Rodgers, but he also signed many of the players Rodgers wanted to play with. Many picked the Jets as their early favorite to make it to and win the Super Bowl.
But now it is November 25. Green Bay is 5-6 and within reach of a NFC Playoff spot and New York is 4-7 and spiraling.
Green Bay Packers Legend LeRoy Butler Praises Brian Gutekunst for Building the Roster His Way
The Packers have won three of their last four games following a 29-22 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Indeed, the attitude surrounding Green Bay has improved dramatically over the past month as Love and the young offense has taken strides to become better and better each week.
Following their most recent victory, Packers legend and NFL Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler took to social media to praise Gutekunst for drowning out the noise and building a team that has grown and works well together:
M/L had an amazing @packers game plan,it was an aggressive,the way @jordan3love played was 🔥 and he showed leadership,with so many guys hurt!, a lot credit hoing to GUTEY!! For drafting and signing guys who FIT best for the Team #gopackgo
— leroy butler (@leap36) November 23, 2023
As mentioned, Green Bay now finds themselves with a very realistic chance to make the playoffs in a weak NFC. Granted, they are still a young team and very well could make mistakes down the stretch. However, the last month of football has shown glimpses of what Gutekunst’s vision for the team was from the beginning of the offseason, and that vision is very exciting.
Green Bay Packers Fans Are Back on the Brian Gutekunst Bandwagon
As mentioned, the Jets seem to be in a downward spiral as their 2023 season has derailed. Rodgers, unfortunately, was lost for the season after four snaps and a torn Achilles tendon. The former Packers he urged New York to sign have not panned out either.
At 4-7, what was supposed to be a Super Bowl season for the Jets has now turned into yet another disappointment in a long line of disappointments. Prior to the season, it was Jets general manager Joe Douglas who was getting all the praise and support from fans; now it is Gutekunst, whose patience and long-term vision have shown to be the better course for building a NFL roster:
Spoilers… but Brian Gutekunst Praise on the Pod today 👀
— Marcus Whitman (@TFG_Football) November 25, 2023
— Tom Oates (@TomOatesWSJ) November 24, 2023
“Joe Douglas has proved… has Gutekunst?”
Joe Douglas is losing this game away from a 24-53 record as the GM of the Jets.
He’s in his fifth season.
At some point, when you’re the GM, it’s your fault.
(Brian’s teams are 58-34-1) https://t.co/xJJv0C8p4Q
— Ross Uglem (@RossUglem) November 24, 2023
Injuries happen, I get it. But Jets didn’t prepare for injury to a 39-year old QB, and used resources on his friends.
Packers come away with two 2nd round picks and the offloading of $100M (now $75M) for a player (1) they had replaced and (2) was never going to play there again.
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) November 25, 2023
Gutekunst handled a tough situation pretty deftly. https://t.co/oSw7KG9EtY
— Jon Cherney (@CherneyJon) November 25, 2023
It’s safe to say Brian Gutekunst made some really tough but smart decisions when it came to the packers and their personnel this season. Now we are trending up. Gutekunst deserves a ton of credit https://t.co/ULCMgu7W9j
— Ron Chapman (@RonChap38) November 25, 2023
Brian Gutekunst masterclass https://t.co/KB4maa0P1M
— WeAreMany (@WeAreMany7) November 25, 2023
The season is not over, and there may still be lessons left for this young Packers team to learn. That being said, they were built to learn these lessons together; they were built to compete together. The Jets were built to win now, and they are not.
If Green Bay somehow does end up in the NFL Playoffs, it will be because of Brian Gutekunst and the foresight that he had.
Despite facing criticism for trading away legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers and letting go of several key veterans, Gutekunst’s decisions are now being viewed in a new light. The team, led by Jordan Love, has shown resilience and potential, sparking a renewed sense of optimism among fans and experts alike. For more in-depth analysis and the latest updates, dive into our comprehensive Packers News.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Brian Gutekunst is the General Manager of the Green Bay Packers, overseeing roster management and team operations crucial for the team's success in the NFL.
LeRoy Butler is renowned for being an exceptional safety for the Green Bay Packers, where he consistently led the team in interceptions, achieving this feat five times throughout his celebrated career. His defensive skills made him a key figure in Packers history and a standout safety of his time.
LeRoy Butler, a former NFL safety, retired due to complications from a broken shoulder blade injury. Sustained in 2001 after a tackle on Maurice Smith, it failed to heal correctly, ultimately leading to his retirement before the 2002 season began.