Cory's Corner: Honesty And Versatility Are Hallmarks

Brian Gutekunst is entering his second NFL Draft as the Packers general manager. It’s refreshing to see a Green Bay GM be open and candid with media on draft week and not holed up in his office.

Something I thought was interesting was how Gutekunst addressed how to sift through all the misinformation. “I think if you’ve done your work ahead of time, you know if you’ve really put the work in, you can kind of sniff out the stuff that is false information and the stuff that has some legs to it,” Gutekunst said during his Monday pre-draft press conference. “I think you kind of address each thing as it comes, like most people say, 90 percent is false information at this time.”

The Packers had 28 players come to Green Bay on pre-draft visits this spring. Each team is allowed 30 visits and Gutekunst explained what factors lead to the Packers inviting players to visit. 

“Certainly there’s a medical part of it,” he said. “There’s a bunch of guys that were not at the Combine that we needed medical grades on. A lot of it is just trying to get to know guys maybe a little bit more. If there’s some unanswered questions that came out of the Combine or Pro Days that we feel like we didn’t have answered. And then sometimes, there’s just some subterfuge thrown in there as well.”

What did he just say? Did he just admit that the Packers bring in guys to Green Bay to throw other teams off? Obviously this isn’t news that the Packers do this, but it’s refreshing to hear that he is willing to own it. I actually raised my eyebrows a little when I heard this because this would’ve never come out of the old Packers regime. You remember, that was the time when no tangible information was allowed to leave 1265 Lombardi Ave. 

Gutekunst just gets it. Hiding in your office isn’t going to endear himself to anyone and he needs to build a layer of transparency while tearing down the wall of lies. 

Do I think Gutekunst will have an excellent draft? I have no idea. You can check out the assortment of mock drafts to quench your pre-draft thirst. But I really like how Gutekunst is pulling back the curtain of the Packers. 

“This is what you work all year for,” Gutekunst said. “This is what I know, this is what I love.”

And if you really want a hint in terms of whom the Packers might be leaning, it all starts and ends with versatility. Teams win with that word in today’s NFL and Gutekunst knows it. “We’re looking for really good football players that are versatile enough to handle most schemes,” Gutekunst said.

So who are those guys? My favorites are Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, Jonah Williams, T.J. Hockenson and David Montgomery. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (56)

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stockholder's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:35 am

Pain, Sweat , and Blood work better for me. You can have your versatility. TT failed at it. Gute will too. Strength, execution, Grit, and players that have sand do better. Versatility? Mathews ,Peppers, Cobb, Perry, etc. all had it. And in the end they came up short. And those that didn't have grit or sand ended up on the trainers table. Versatility doesn't mean you can execute. it doesn't measure the players heart. It isn't about commitment. It's a jack of all trades. You pay the best, for being the best. You pay versatility jack shit. If versatility is what you seek. You don't have the heart to win it all.

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dobber's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:58 am

"Pain, Sweat , and Blood work better for me. You can have your versatility. "

Nobody says these things are exclusive to one another.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:58 am

Peppers, Matthews and Cobb.. what a lineup of rejects

~~~

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Demon's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:58 am

I dont have the sliggtest idea what you are are trying to say CJ.
Peppers ,Matthews and Cobb rejects? I hope you were being sarcastic. If not, that may be the dumbest statement ive ever read here. That would be hard to do with the amount of manure that Dash penned here.

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dobber's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:13 am

He was, I'm pretty sure.

I was going to write something similar, but I think stockholder's original text is just a little jumbled there (can you tell I've been grading student papers?), and he's trying to give those players their due, but still saying it wasn't enough for the Packers to get over the hump.

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CJ Bauckham's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:56 am

100% sarcasm. Apologies for the confusion, Demon

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Spock's picture

April 24, 2019 at 08:19 am

Demon,
You are new here. Note that CJ used this symbol, "~~~" after his comment. That's something that started on the Packers official site by people in the comment section to indicate sarcasm. Using one or more "~" after your comment is code for sarcasm. Just an FYI. :)

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sam1's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:21 am

Outside of Perry what else you want from players? Your judgment makes me glad you don't have anything to do with Packer drafts now or then!

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stockholder's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:30 am

I want winners! Favre was a winner. He played with Pain, heart, strength, and leaadership. Yes players move around for the good of the team. But the good ones don't make excuses. They don't become fat cats. Versatility is not a weakness. But it's not the answer either.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:44 am

I want tough guys with strong character because that's what wins in December when you're cold and hurt and getting screwed by the refs on the road. Some guys are better at fighting through adversity than others, and those are the guys I want.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm

I want Intelligent football palyers that can grasp the whole concept, beat their guy to the ball, make the coreect read, and understand to word, TEAM.

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CheesyTex's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Was a big Favre fan during the time he showed those characteristics AND renegotiated his contract for the good of the team.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

April 24, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Cobb was lauded as one of the toughest to come along, being a smaller guy going over the middle and taking those hits. Every one of those guys you named played with grit and played through pain and injuries. And they are all winners. Matthews holds the GB record for sacks.

If you have a problem with the grittiness on the roster, those aren't the guys to name.

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John30856's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:40 am

Wow, you should be on their payroll. So Mathews, Peppers and Cobb were busts. Glad you let us know

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:44 am

Sarcasm confuses people.

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sam1's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:11 am

Like it obviously confuses the person saying it!!

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

April 24, 2019 at 02:22 pm

Since Peppers is a Hall of Famer and was really productive in GB in limited snaps, Matthews was 2nd in voting for DPOY (should have beat Polomalu), Cobb led the league in total yards early in his career, and Perry was an impact guy when healthy, I think these are sand and grit players that get the job done. Even while being able to do more than one job. All of them played through injuries and all of them made an impact when healthy.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:37 am

We will have to wait a few years to know whether he nails the draft or not. But in the mean time it is still refreshing to have a GM that is willing to talk with the media and explain things. While he still didn't really tell us anything it was still nice listening to him.

Now I just can't wait till the draft. Hoping that Gutey is becoming one of those Masters of the Mystic Arts. The way he moved around in the first round last year, getting the 2nd 1st round pick for this year was a thing of beauty. Can't wait to see what he does this year!

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:47 am

Actually, secrecy doesn't bother me at all. Why on Earth would you want to blab about what you were thinking? Is that how you play poker?

Thompson never lied.....he just didn't talk about it. If Gutekunst is going to talk about it, I at least hope he's lying some of the time. Maybe most of the time.

In the military, the common practice is that you just don't talk about classified stuff outside of the SCIF. I hope the Packers treat their War Room the same.

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Montana's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:20 pm

I agree Old School.....never show your hand. I read another scoop of Gutes where he all but admitted some of the players he had come in for interviews we're nothing but a smokescreen. Of course he didn't identify those players rightfully so and therefore left doubt across the league of his intentions. I look forward to the draft and Gutes gamesmanship in the trenches...

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:44 am

RCPackerFan ,

Yes , we will not know the true value of last years draft for a couple more years, but we did have rookies playing last year. That says something.

All teams have draft busts. You name the round. We/they will have more.

What impressed me the most, as a rookie GM, his confidence to move around. Maybe as you say, "Masters of the Mystic Arts." It seemed to me he had a plan in place, and executed it.

With a year under his belt, does he get better or worse??

My vote is better.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:34 pm

Honestly I was really happy with last years rookie class. Alexander looks like a pro bowl level player. Josh Jackson Improved and was really playing well at the end of the season. Burks is one of the guys to really keep an eye on. He was playing well until he got hurt and never really recovered. Moore might be a guy that makes the most improvements. Cole Madison has returned and may provide a huge boost to the OL. JK Scott could be our kicker for a decade (or could flop. its a tough position). MVS impressed me the most. If he gets more consistency and more in sync with Rodgers he could be the deep threat we have been missing since Nelson got hurt. EQ much like MVS could be one of our top weapons this year. Both of these WR's I think will take big jumps in year 2. Also a new offensive scheme should help a ton. Bradley will likely be the LS for a while. Looney and Donnerson will have to take a big step to compete.
Also to add to this list we have the UDFA's with Lancaster who was really, really good. Tony Brown really impressed and could have a future. They also brought in Allen Lazard who could be a guy to watch. Natrell Jamerson was a 5th round pick who played in a scheme very similar to what Pettine runs. Could be a surprise player.
The group of 2nd year players as a whole is quite impressive.

But we won't know officially how good they are for a couple of years.

Correct, all teams have busts. Even the best GM's have busts.

After listening to him yesterday it sounded like they had the deal in place (pending on who was on the board) to trade back. But he had to work his way back up. I wouldn't be surprised to see him making some more moves in this draft.
Hence the "Masters of the Mystic Arts" comment. Which for those that don't know is a reference to Doctor Strange.

I agree that he gets better. I thought he did better in FA this year. I think he will do better in the draft as well

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ShooterMcGee's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:28 am

Well it makes me wonder what has been subterfuge. Bringing in Drew Lock seems like the most obvious, or all the top O-lineman in a defense heavy draft. It is important to remember that last year he showed no interest in Jaire Alexander before drafting him. Most of the visits have been for late round players especially ILBs. Who he is eyeing in round 1 is anyones guess.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:20 am

Packer's Predraft Visit List:

OL Andrew Dillard
Washington State OL Johnah Williams
Alabama OL Kaleb McGary
Washington OL Greg Little
Ole Miss OL Tytus Howard
Alabama State OL Nate Herbig
Stanford QB Drew Lock
Missouri EDGE Montez Sweat
Mississippi State ILB Curtis Bilton
Oklahoma ILB Ulysees Gilbert
Akron EDGE Kaden Elliss
IdahoEDGE E.J. Speed
Tarleton State TE Jace Sternberger
Texas A&MFB/TE Andrew Beck
Texas TE Kahala Warring
San Diego State WR Deandre Thompkins
Penn State WR Jeff Smith
Boston College DT Greg Gaines
Washington EDGE Randy Ramsey
Arkansas DE Jesse Aniebonam
Maryland DT Trysten Hill
UCF CB Sean Bunting
Central Michigan CB Ka'Dar Hollman
Toledo QB/FB John Lovett
Princeton LS John Wirtel

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:56 am

If it looks like subterfuge it either isn't, or it was poorly done.

If you take the list of visits at face value, then it looks like we talked to a lot of the OTs that are predicted to go in the Top 75. Most of the Edge guys are guys that are predicted to go on the last day. Same with the WRs . They didn't interview any last day prospects at QB, or RB other than that last guy. They didn't interview any of the first round DL.

The two TEs are both mid-round projections.

As I've mentioned earlier, the Packers have a history of drafting guys that they bring in for visits. I wouldn't be surprised at all if we got some of the guys on that list.

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dobber's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:05 am

We know a few of the people they talked to at the Combine, as well. Remember that Jaire Alexander was not brought in for a visit last year, but they did talk with him at the Combine.

To add fuel to your fire, here's last year's list of pre-draft visits. Note the WR position.

acmepackingcompany.com/2018-nfl-draft-packers/2018/4/1/17179534/nfl-draft-2018-packers-pre-draft-prospect-visits-meetings-tracker

Several of those guys were UDFAs and/or brought in after the draft or during the regular season.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:53 am

Another key indicator, under Gutekunst's mentor, Thompson, was if they had made in impression at the Senior Bowl in Memphis, because it gave them a chance to see these guys against other aspiring pros.

Not to pick on Josh Allen, but most of his snaps have come against guys who aren't as good as David Bakhtiari. So it's nice to see him, for example, going against top tackles who'll be drafted early.

So, cross reference the Visits List with the Senior Bowl Standouts List and take a hard look at the guys who are both lists.

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Dzehren's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:26 am

Montez Sweat & Jonah Williams fit that bill. 2 impact players that would look good in green and gold.

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:46 am

ShooterMcGee ,

"Well it makes me wonder what has been subterfuge."

Isn't that the point?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:34 pm

There is no subterfuge taking place. Think about something else.

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 03:51 pm

Old School,

This is a very curious comment.

Subterfuge in the draft, or your name of choice, has been going on way back in the old school days.\

Surely you know this. Sarcasm maybe?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 04:04 pm

Well, if there were no subterfuge, people would say "there is no subterfuge".

But if subterfuge were taking place, they would deny that it was happening. So the answer is the same: "There is no subterfuge".

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:36 pm

Old School,

LOL, you subterfugeing me?

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2019 at 08:27 am

He's definitely subterfuging with you.

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Handsback's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:33 am

Cory wrote a good article about what Gutsey sees in players he wants. For the most part BB at NE has been doing that for years and not a bad blueprint. JoWil, can play any position along the oline. I don't know if the same can be said for the other 1st round OTs. A guy like Oliver...people see as an inside rusher, outside contain (not his best work) or even dropping back as a zone defender for a pass (remember Raji's int. during the NFC game against the Bears).
So yeah these aren't bad traits with talented players.

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stockholder's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:34 am

Cory always writes good articles. My point was that in the end. THE VERSATILE PLAYER " WILL COME UP SHORT." //NOT THAT Mathews and Peppers Weren't GOOD PLAYERS. // Was Raji good when they moved him? No, Was Datone Jones Good at elephant? The versatile Player doesn't always fit. Forcing players into others positions because of their versatility, is putting a square into a round hole. Did TT draft Spriggs to play LT or anywhere? They come up short of the goal. And more then likely will bust out now.

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Handsback's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:35 am

Stockholder, you are indeed correct in saying a versatile player isn't enough. My example is when you are comparing like rated players: Jonah Williams verses Jawaan Taylor that you pick the guy who can play different positions. I wasn't comparing Raji to Oliver as players but in their capabilities. Oliver can do a lot on the Dline including dropping in coverage like a LB. Versatility is the tie breaking trait on like rated players.

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 11:58 am

stockholder,

Sometimes (seems) yearly, to get our best 11 players on the field, they get moved around a little. Not ideal, but neither are injuries. But there is usually a reason. (I am not talking about drafting a player to play out of position)

I didn't take "Guty" wanting "versatile" as exclusive, but ON TOP OF medical, grit, pain, blood, want to, character, heart and all the measurables.

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Trapped in MN BUT GB fan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Seems we just had a coaching staff who always plugged players into their system with no regards to what their strengths were. Hopefully that changes with our new staff and maybe versatility is just what is needed.

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Trapped,

New Orleans has a QB (not Brees) they use in many ways to capitalize on his strengths/versatility. (others players too)

I'm sure the Pack has plenty of film they can watch to understand the concept. :-)

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dobber's picture

April 24, 2019 at 08:27 am

I would argue that QB is not really a QB anymore.

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Lare's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:38 pm

“We’re looking for really good football players that are versatile enough to handle most schemes,” Gutekunst said.

Gutekunst isn't talking about playing players at multiple positions, he specifically mentions versatility in different schemes.

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PeteK's picture

April 23, 2019 at 07:40 am

This year will go very far in showing how successful last years draft was.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 09:07 am

Great point!

While we still won't truly know how good last years draft class was, we will really start to get a better feeling for who was a good pick and who wasn't.

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John Galt's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:05 am

“This is what you work all year for,” Gutekunst said. “This is what I know, this is what I love.”

The Draft is what he works all year for? Well, there are 31 other coaches and GM's who work all year for the Lombardi Trophy.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 08:40 am

Can't win a Lombardi Trophy with bad players. Where do you get the best players? In the draft.

This is where the whole thing starts. Starts with the draft.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 10:56 am

Gutekunst was Director of Scouting and then Director of Player Personnel. For them, the draft IS the Super Bowl, since it's up to the coaches to win games with the players you provide.

He's the GM now, but he still is more involved in personnel than he is in the week-to-week winning games thing.

I would also opine that the talent difference between an 11-5 team and a 5-11 team isn't that great. I think it's more about execution than talent, personally.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:55 pm

Exactly right. The draft is what they spend months and months of researching and scouting on. Its the single biggest day where they add the future of the team.

The GM has to get the best players. Every year we see busts. It happens for various of reasons. Some of it is due to the team reaching for needs.

There usually are many different factors in why a team is 5-11 vs 11-5. But one of the main reasons is due to teams missing on draft picks.
Look at the Packers this last season. They finished poorly. Now look back at their 2015 draft and you can see why. That draft was a flop. Set the team back.

The draft is the start of the future of the team. Nail it and nail the future!

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Lare's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:40 pm

Injury is a big part of it. You can't win a Lombardi Trophy with all your best players on IR.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:57 pm

There are a lot of factors in winning a Lombardi Trophy. The start of it though is drafting the right players.

Draft the right players, having the right coaching staff to develop them and knowing how to use them are some of the biggest keys.

But getting the best players in the door is where it starts.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:15 pm

Back in the day, it was possible that a team could just consistently out-draft others. The Cowboys did it in the 60s. But now, in the digital age, with massive and well funded scouting staffs, with the open combine and Pro Days...….I just don't think so.

I'd bet that there is significant agreement among all the teams in the NFL who the top 75 players or so are. Teams would rank them differently according to what their goals were, but it'd be pretty much the same bunch of guys.

Then, you throw in free agency and guys leaving and moving around...I just don't think it's possible to out-talent the rest of the league. I think you have to execute as a team.....that's not just a talent thing.

And Lare is right about the injuries. If you've got your best players on the field after Thanksgiving, it's an advantage. By my count, we were mostly or completely without the services of Daniels, Clark, King, Wilkerson, or Perry.....all opening day starters...….by the end of the season.

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CheesyTex's picture

April 23, 2019 at 02:46 pm

"Well, there are 31 other coaches and GM's..."

Last time I checked, 32 teams * 2 (1 coach and 1GM each) = 64 minus Gute = 63 other coaches and GM's.

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Swigganz's picture

April 23, 2019 at 01:49 pm

I think Christian Wilkins will be a versatile player to watch. He can play all along the defensive line, with the ability to rush the passer. Mix that with his leadership skills and he may become a surprise pick, earlier than most think in the top half of round one to somebody.

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 12:08 pm

"subterfuge in the NFL?

Everyone knows it, year after year, but Guty threw it to the fishes (media).

And the fish started feeding.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

April 23, 2019 at 05:39 pm

....I want to see each and every player execute with reckless abandon....for far too long....these players have looked lackluster....visibly showing lack of effort...missing tackles, avoiding tackles, not running accurate routes, lack of aggressiveness.....this must be improved NOW......

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IceBowl's picture

April 23, 2019 at 06:43 pm

TheBigCheeze,

I understand the sentiment, but not the reality. There are always questions everywhere, especially in the media, but these guys play for each other and for their families ($$).

No performance, and the organization says good-bye. (Ha Ha)

Their responsibility to each other is stronger than most of us can fathom.

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