Green Bay Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst Sidesteps Questions About Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst must figure out this offseason if quarterback … [+] Aaron Rodgers will be back with the team in 2023.

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Brian Gutekunst was elusive, non-committal, impossible to pin down.

Gutekunst, the Green Bay Packers’ general manager, was asked about the future of Aaron Rodgers in many different ways Friday during his season-ending press conference with state reporters. And while Gutekunst was complimentary of Rodgers, he also said former first round draft pick Jordan Love is “definitely” ready to play.

Here’s a handful of questions — and answers from Gutekunst — on Rodgers, Love and the state of a Green Bay team that went 8-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018:

Q: Do you want Rodgers back in 2023?

good art: Yeah, like I said in the bye week, I want all these guys back. That’s part of that. He’s certainly going to take some time. I think that’s fair and then as we work through this, as he takes his time, kind of makes his decision just on his playing career in general, then we’ll get together and move forward that way.

Q: Rodgers had a rough year. Why would you want him back?

good art: Well, certainly this year was, I think he was dealing with some moving pieces, some injuries and things like that. It wasn’t a great year offensively for us as a whole, but you guys saw as well, he still can play at a very high level. I really like the way he led us. So again, I think as we move forward over the next month or so, we’ll start putting these things together and see how that transpires.

Q: Is it up to Rodgers whether he’ll be back in 2023?

good art: We made a really big commitment to him last offseason, so I think as we did that it wasn’t certainly for just this year. Like I said, he’s going to take his time and the communication will be pretty constant as we move forward.

Q: Who gives you a better chance to win in 2023: Rodgers or Love?

good art: Well, I mean, you’re talking about a four-time MVP, right? So, we are very excited about Jordan and where he’s at, there’s no doubt about that. But Jordan’s never played a 16, 17-game season and gone through all that stuff. So, it’s no different than when we moved from Brett to Aaron, right. So you just, that’s a hard thing to say, but at the same time where Aaron’s at, the level he’s at, there’s not many teams he wouldn’t give the best chance to win.

Q: Have you given Rodgers any indication that you want to go in another direction?

good art: We’ve had conversations like we always do. Talked this week, it was really good conversations. I really respect the process that he goes through after the season. He’s done this for a long time. What he goes through during the offseason to be prepared for a season is significant and I understand the decision he has to make and whether he wants to go through that. So, I’ve always tried to give him that time. We talked about the season, what went right, what went wrong, what he liked, what he didn’t. But not a lot of future stuff.

Q: Is it realistic for Love — a former first round draft pick — to be content as a backup for a fourth straight year?

good art: Well I definitely think he’s ready to play. I think he feels that way. I think he’s champion at the bit. But at the same time we’re going to do what’s best for the Green Bay Packers and what gives us the best chance to win moving forward.

Q: Rodgers has a history of playing poorly in big games. Any why idea?

good art: I think they’re all big games for us. But certainly the season enders are so magnified. As a team we’ve struggled to figure out a way to play really well in these final games that have everything on the line, kind of win or go home games. So, we’re continuing to look at that. It’s very important to us. But whenever you don’t finish the Super Bowl off with a win you’re going to look back and look at why you didn’t play better in those games.

Q: Could you look Rodgers in the eye and say, ‘We’re going in a new direction?’

good art: If we were? surah Absolutely. You’ve got to be honest with him, you know what I mean. I think he deserves that if we get to that point. We’re not at that point.

Q: If teams want to trade for Rodgers, what will your answer be?

good art: Those are hypotheticals. Again, I think he’s got a lot of thinking to do about what he wants to do. And once he gets through that process, then we’ll get together and start planning this thing out.

Q: What went wrong in 2022?

good art: Certainly we had some moving parts, but we just never played complementary football, you know what I mean? The times when our defense was playing well, we didn’t adjust and do things in the second half and our offense was taking some time to get going. I think we got better as the year went on, but I think there was just inconsistencies in our complementary football. And I think that hurt us along the way.

Q: Do you regret how things were handled with Davante Adams last offseason before you traded him?

good art: The way we approached that before the ’21 season, I was surprised that was a decision on his part, but I wouldn’t do anything different on that.

Q: Does linebacker Quay Walker — who was thrown out of two games — have a problem?

good art: I don’t think he has a problem, no. Certainly he can’t do that. That’s unacceptable and he knows that. We love Quay. We love everything he’s bringing to our squad right now. For a rookie to come in and do what he did, not only on the field but I think he’s done some good things, leadership-wise. He has a really bright future ahead of him. I’m excited for him. Those are things he’s going to have to clean up. He’s got a lot of energy and passion on the field and those were reactionary things. He’s got to learn to grow from that and I think he will.

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