Thoughts on Gutey and Pettine...Posted:Jan 19th, 2018 5:17 pm
Sorry, gang, I should have posted my thoughts on the Pack's big moves a week or so ago. Been traveling for my day job and just haven't had the chance until now.
Let's start with the promotion of Brian Gutekunst. This one caught me by surprise, since insiders were certain Russ Ball had the job, while Packer nation was rooting for Eliot Wolf to get the job it seemed he was being groomed to take over. Reading the tea leaves, it looks like Mike McCarthy won a power play and convinced Mark Murphy to promote a scout to the big chair, over an expert capologist.
I have no idea how close a call it was for Murphy to go with Gutey over Wolf, maybe the nine extra years on the planet was the difference. But I'm all aboard giving him a chance to run the ship. He built his name from the ground up and has worked for 20 years for this moment. I'm quite sure he'll do all he can in this 5-6 year Rodgers window to add veteran talent, while building a core through the draft.
All the upheaval on the coaching staff comes as a surprise, with the exception of the change at defensive coordinator. It was time for a new voice and a new scheme to come in and Mike Pettine has been handed the reins. I was all aboard the Vic Fangio train and was also intrigued with the idea of Gus Bradley bringing what he learned in Seattle and then implemented in Jacksonville and Los Angeles.
Pettine's name came out of left field, but then you start to think about it a bit. He sucked at the teat of Rex Ryan for years before taking over defenses with the Jets and Bills. He was successful enough to get a head coaching job, albeit in Cleveland and like so many coaches before him, saw his career careen just a bit after the expected failure with the league's longtime punching bag franchise.
So the guy's been chomping at the bit to run a defense again, spending this past year in Seattle as a defensive consultant and biding his time for another opportunity. We all understand he needs some playmakers to make his scheme work. Most importantly, Gutey needs to identify a pass rusher and cornerback this spring via free agency and the draft to add to a solid core led by Daniels, Clark, Perry, Martinez, Matthews, King, Randall, Clinton-Dix and Burnett or Jones.
His aggressive defenses have made life miserable for quarterbacks in the past and we can only hope he'll turn around the Pack's unit to a degree where we'll actually see a decent percentage of stops on third downs and in the red zone.
Murphy's new organizational structuring is the biggest news to come out of Titletown, as he takes a more active role on the football side of things, allowing Ed Policy to handle the business side. Just how active he is remains to be seen, but he will serve as the teams de facto owner and we may see him around more and hear more from him when conflicts arise.
Big changes were needed after 13 years and now we'll see if Gutey, Pettine and McCarthy are up to the challenge.
As for this weekend's games, I got the Patriots winning a close game and the Vikings squeaking past the Eagles 19-17, with a late Forbath field goal exorcizing those playoff demons once and for all.