How much blame should Brian Gutekunst shoulder for Packers' 2022 shortcomings?
GM Brian Gutekunst doesn't deserve blame for everything that has gone wrong for the Packers in 2022, but he didn't optimally set them up to succeed either.
Following a fourth straight loss that put the Green Bay Packers effectively four games behind four games in the division race and as many spots removed from the seventh seed in the NFC playoff field, the team faces many serious questions of competency for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur. While the Packers have faced challenges before under his watch, nothing has tested their resolve more than the 2022 season.
Even with more than half the season left on the schedule, LaFleur has fielded questions about his coaching and staff decisions. The head coach has already had to defend Joe Barry, the hand-picked defensive coordinator who took over the unit a year ago, due to ongoing issues with how the team has handled top receivers and the ground game. Meanwhile, the offense that became LaFleur's bread and butter has disintegrated in the wake of Davante Adams' departure. LaFleur, understandably, has answered for those shortcomings as well.
The Packers' underwhelming performance to this point of the season has even raised the notion of the team selling off assets rather than adding to a roster once deemed by the consensus of the NFL world to have the inside track for a Super Bowl run. LaFleur has faced those questions, too.
"I hope not," LaFleur said about the Packers becoming sellers at the trade deadline, "but you never know."
More than one party shoulders the blame for the Packers' 3-5 record. LaFleur and his staff certainly deserve a sizable share. Aaron Rodgers, the reigning back-to-back MVP who spent much of the offseason deliberating whether to return to Green Bay, has earned his slice of the blame pie as well.
But one party is conspicuously absent from these conversations, one that contributed as much to the Packers' woes in 2022 as any other: general manager Brian Gutekunst.