GREEN BAY, Wis. — Don’t tell the Green Bay Packers they’re about to go through a rebuild.
That’s not how general manager Brian Gutekunst is looking at the post-Aaron Rodgers era even if one of their most prominent veteran players, All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, has used that very word on more than one recent occasion.
“No, I don’t ever look [at] it like that,” Gutekunst said Monday. “We’re excited about this football team and where it can go. Obviously, we’re a long ways away from what our 53-man roster and our 16-man practice squad is going to look like, but we’re really excited about it. It’s going to be new, obviously, specifically at quarterback, it looks like. But at the same time, the goals don’t change around here. It’s going to be the same goals we’ve always had, right?
“There’s one goal here every single year, no matter what. And just like it was back the last time we moved on from one quarterback to the other, right? The goals are the same. It’s going to be on those guys to put in the work. It’s going to be exciting to see. Nothing’s really changing.”
In at least two recent media appearances, Bakhtiari has verbalized his views on how the Packers will approach business this season.
“The Packers are rebuilding, whether you think so or not,” he said earlier this month on the “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast. “Could they be good? I don’t know. Could they be bad? Probably if you’re betting more people are gonna think they’re gonna be bad than good, right? Isn’t that fair to say?”
He doubled down this week in an interview with NFL reporter Mike Silver, saying: “We’re moving on from a Hall of Fame quarterback. I literally today talked to Jordan [Love] about this. I’m like, ‘The Packers rebuilt from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers.’ What are we going to say? It’s not a rebuild? Like, that is what that is. And that’s totally fine. I’m not saying that we’re going to be bad. I’m not saying we’re going to be good. I don’t know and that’s the beauty. No one really knows how good they are.”
Despite Rodgers’ production during his first season as a starter, throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns, the Packers went 6-10 during that 2008 transition year.
Still, both Gutekunst and Packers coach Matt LaFleur have said repeatedly this offseason that they believe Love is ready for the job despite his limited game action during his first three seasons. He started one game in 2021 — a 13-7 loss at Kansas City — and played only one quarter of meaningful action last season in a loss at the Eagles during which he played two series and directed a pair of scoring drives.
Perhaps Love would be further along at this point had the Packers turned to him last year when their season had spiraled during a five-game losing streak. But because they were still alive for a playoff berth heading into the final game of the season, an eventual loss to the Lions that knocked them out of postseason contention, they did not make the change to Love — something Gutekunst said Monday he does not regret.
“We were chasing the playoffs,” Gutekunst said. “No, absolutely not. Again, I think if we would’ve been out of the playoffs it would’ve been a conversation to have, but it’s also I think with the respect of what Aaron’s done around here and how he’s carried himself, that would’ve been a group discussion to see how he wanted to play that a little bit but at the same time, up until that final game, we were still in this thing, and I think that wouldn’t have been right for our football team or our players to try to do something like that while we were still in it.”
GM Brian Gutekunst says Packers not looking to rebuild