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The son of a college football coach Authentic Marshall Newhouse Jersey , Brian Gutekunst has an idea of the kind of scrutiny that he’ll receive as the new general manager of the Green Bay Packers.
Gutekunst watched his father, John Gutekunst, take heat during six-plus seasons at the University of Minnesota that ended in 1991. The new GM has heard the criticism that predecessor Ted Thompson took from some fans for a conservative approach to free agency.
The football lifer is ready for the pressure that comes with the job.
”My mom was reading in the paper some nice comments about me. I go, `Yeah, wait `til we lose,”’ the 44-year old Gutekunst joked this week.
His task is to build a roster that restores the Packers’ status as a Super Bowl contender following the team’s first losing season since 2008.
Promoted from player personnel director, Gutekunst had a hand in helping Thompson shape the rosters for an organization that just had its streak of eight straight postseason appearances snapped. The Packers won the Super Bowl in the 2010 season during Thompson’s 13-year tenure.
Thompson moved to a senior adviser role in the front office two days after the season ended with a 35-11 loss at Detroit.
”I’ve grown up in football all my life and my dad went through some times at the University of Minnesota where it wasn’t very good and they weren’t saying very good things,” Gutekunst said. ”The one thing I learned about that, usually (for) the guy in the chair it’s not as hard to take. You worry about your family.”
Added Gutekunst: ”To me, for the guys who work here, you just expect it. … You have to keep moving forward.”
It is what Gutekunst has done in the game since playing college football for two seasons at Wisconsin-La Crosse. He served as an assistant coach for his final two seasons after a shoulder injury ended his playing career. Gutekunst coached the linebackers when La Crosse capped an undefeated season with the Division III national title in 1995.
That year, Gutekunst got his first taste of the pros after assisting in New Orleans Saints training camp in 1995. He was a summer scouting intern for Green Bay in 1997 and a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs the next year before returning to the Packers full time as a scout late in 1998.
Gutekunst didn’t follow his father’s advice to stay out of football entirely.
”I think looking back at it right now, the coaching business is so volatile Authentic Marquis Haynes Jersey , and moving your family every two to three years is a tough deal,” he said. ”We’ve had a lot of stability here, and I feel very thankful for that, for me and my family.”
The Packers plan to stick with a ”draft-and-develop” philosophy as the roster-building foundation, though Gutekunst has also indicated he might be more open to making additions through trades and free agency as well.
He is already starting to differentiate himself in another noticeable way.
The first transaction under the new regime was the signing of a relatively unknown running back, first-year player Joel Bouagnon out of Northern Illinois. The accompanying post on Twitter included a picture of a smiling Gutekunst next to Bouagnon.
Thompson was notoriously media-shy. Coach Mike McCarthy was often left with the task of answering questions about high-profile topics that might be more appropriate for a GM, such as when outspoken tight end Martellus Bennett was waived at midseason.
”I don’t think the new GM could do less than Ted did,” team president Mark Murphy joked last week. ”There (are) some positives that come from it, but obviously there’s some downsides … Ted saw some of the downside and decided not to be overly involved.”
According to Gutekunst, one of the first pieces of advice that Thompson offered after getting the job on Sunday was to smile more at his first press conference.
John Gutekunst told his son to be humble, and to make sure that he takes care of his staff.
”Now, you know, on Mondays after watching our game Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey ,” the younger Gutekunst said, ”he’ll tell me some other things.”
Jimmy Garoppolo’s late-season performance sends the San Francisco 49ers into the offseason with more optimism than typical for a team with a losing record.
Now the most important task of the offseason is locking up Garoppolo with a long-term deal.
”We’re going to work hard to try to keep him as a 49er for a long, long time,” general manager John Lynch said Tuesday. ”We’re really happy with the way he played. We think he’s got some abilities that are unique and we want him here.”
Garoppolo’s arrival totally transformed a team that began the season with nine straight losses under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan and ended it with five straight wins after Garoppolo took over as starter.
He threw for 1,542 yards during those starts and looked the part of a franchise quarterback the Niners (6-10) hoped they had acquired when they dealt a second-round pick to New England at the trade deadline.
”Obviously, Jimmy came in and he was fabulous,” Lynch said. ”He was great for us and he made people around him better and I think that’s the mark of a player who has an opportunity to be special is do you make people around you better? He did that.”
Now Garoppolo is eligible for free agency in March, although he won’t hit the open market. If the 49ers can’t reach a long-term deal in the coming weeks, they will use the franchise tag to lock him up for 2018 for about $25 million.
”I like being here,” Garoppolo said. ”I think we had a good thing going at the end of this year. And we’ll see what happens.”
Here are some issues the 49ers will face this offseason:
HISTORIC TURNAROUND: The Niners became just the second team to finish with a losing record despite winning the final five games, joining the 1989 Detroit Lions. They also set doubled the previous high win total for a team that started the season 0-9, leading to the good will around the franchise.
”That’s why this year was so special,” left tackle Joe Staley said. ”We’re 6-10 at the end of the season Authentic Preston Brown Jersey , but I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL that would want to see us right now in the playoffs. We just got to carry that momentum in the offseason and continue to work like we did this year in the second half. We’re excited about next year.”
ROARING ROOKIES: The other major bright spot in San Francisco was the play of the rookie class. The Niners got major contributions from several rookies led by first-round linebacker Reuben Foster, who should be a centerpiece of the defense for years to come. Receiver Trent Taylor and tight end George Kittle each caught 43 passes, Matt Breida was a solid backup running back and safety Adrian Colbert and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon showed signs of being long-term contributors in the secondary.
FREE AGENCY: The 49ers will be able to spend big in free agency if they choose thanks to more than $110 million projected in salary cap room. Some of the biggest decisions outside of getting a deal done with Garoppolo will be about their own players. Running back Carlos Hyde, safety Eric Reid and center Daniel Kilgore are among the most prominent potential free agents. Hyde and Reid had strong finishes to their season and will likely get offers from other teams if allowed to hit the open market. Kilgore helped ease Garoppolo’s transition and the Niners may want to keep him to provide continuity on the line.
GET HEALTHY: San Francisco had 23 players end the season on injured reserve, including several the team is counting on to be healthy contributors in 2018. Linebacker Malcolm Smith (biceps) missed the entire season, along with 2016 first-round guard Joshua Garnett (knee). Safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward went down with mid-season broken arms, and 2015 first-round defensive lineman Arik Armstead broke his hand. Receiver Pierre Garcon also was shut down with a neck injury, along with right tackle Trent Brown (shoulder). Healthy returns for those players could provide big boosts next season.
BREAKTHROUGH SEASON: The most impressive free-agent addition last year for the Niners was receiver Marquise Goodwin, who exceeded his four-year output in Buffalo in just one season in San Francisco. Goodwin caught 56 passes for 962 yards and was tied for fifth in catches (29) and sixth in yards receiving (384) in the final five games after Garoppolo took over at quarterback.
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