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Green and Bold: You Can't Always Keep Your Homegrown Talent

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Green and Bold: You Can't Always Keep Your Homegrown Talent

The Packers' organizational philosophy rests on developing and retaining its homegrown talent—and that doesn't just apply to players. 

Just as many of the players the Packers draft will spend their entire careers—or at least the duration of their first two contracts—in Green Bay, so too have some of the Packers' front office staff spent most or all of their tenures in Titletown. 

That list includes director of football operations Eliot Wolf, who, along with vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball and director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst, is one of the internal candidates who could replace recently reassigned former Packers GM Ted Thompson. 

But the problem for the Packers is that if they don't choose to make Wolf their next general manager, another team will...and their homegrown talent will fly the coop. 

Wolf has been promoted within the organization five times in in his 14 years with the Packers, going back to his first post as a pro personnel assistant in 2004.

From there, he was elevated to the team's assistant director of pro personnel in 2008, assistant director of player personnel in 2011, director of pro personnel in 2012, director of player personnel in 2015, and, finally, to his current role as the team's director of football operations. 

Along the way, Wolf has attracted attention from other teams in need of a general manager, including the San Francisco 49ers, who interviewed both Wolf and Gutekunst in January 2017.

But the Packers have also blocked Wolf from pursuing other opportunities; in 2016, they denied the Detroit Lions' request to interview him for their open general manager role, which they would eventually fill with Bob Quinn. 

At the time, Wolf was reportedly unhappy about being denied the chance to interview for a promotion. There are league rules that govern whether or not a team can deny one of its executives permission to interview for other jobs, such as if the executive is in the final year of his or her contract or if the job in question does not contain duties such as drafting players and signing free agents. 

That last point is important, because not all general manager roles contain the same responsibilities. If a move to another team would not be a true promotion, the executive's current team can block the interview request. 

After he interviewed with San Francisco last year, Wolf withdrew his name for consideration and landed a new contract with the Packers. Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, but that move would seem to signify that Eliot's continued loyalty to the only organization for which he's ever worked would be rewarded in the near future with a promotion to general manager. 

And there's a basis for believing that. Packers CEO Mark Murphy said himself at the 2016 NFL Combine that he had a succession plan in mind for when Thompson eventually stepped down.

Sure, there's a chance that plan was always to hire externally, but more likely Murphy's comments suggest he has an internal candidate in mind to promote. 

But if that remains the plan, Murphy is in no hurry to announce an internal name. He's casting a wide net in his GM search, working with executive search firm Korn Ferry.

Murphy said in his press conference on Tuesday that the candidate need not have a scouting background to be considered, which would be a break with tradition for the Packers but seems to suggest that Russ Ball is being more seriously considered for the position than some might have guessed. 

All this is to say that if the Packers promote an internal candidate who is not Wolf or bring in an external general manager, they risk losing one of their best and brightest in the front office.

They can't block Wolf from taking interviews forever, and if he's not going to be the Packers' next general manager, he's about reached his ceiling within the organization. 

Of course, even though he is not homegrown, the same could be said about Gutekunst. Whichever way the Packers go with this decision, they're likely to lose some of the crucial voices in their braintrust in the coming seasons as a result. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (138) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Daren726's picture

Yep, can't agree more. The staff will change significantly no matter who is chosen. Just a matter of whether you think this is good or bad. Hard to say who will stay and who will go. Let's hope Murphy can keep this thing under control, or we could see a mass exodus of really good people.

Nick Perry's picture

Personally I'd like to see Wolf named as GM of the Packers and hope Russ Ball stays in the same capacity he is now. I understand Ball is valued asset in the organization but he's not a "Football Guy" meaning he's never coached, scouted, or played. Now that's not to say he wouldn't do a great job because I think he probably would. I'm just of the opinion Wolf would be the better selection due to his scouting background. The Packers have lost Highsmith and will probably lose more along the way this year. Lets hope it's not TOO many.

No matter what I'd like to see them move semi-swiftly. With the number of vacant coaching positions around the NFL, the coaches like a Fangio or possible a Paul Gunther tend to get snatched up quickly.

RCPackerFan's picture

If Wolf is indeed the best person for the job I hope he is the next GM.

Most of us have been waiting and watching and hoping that Wolf would be the next GM for a while. He has basically been groomed for the GM role.

I agree that I hope they move fast in getting the GM figured out and getting the DC figured out.

Fangio would be one of the top candidates available.
I don't think Guenther would be available now that Marvin Lewis has resigned as the Bengals head coach.

Nick Perry's picture

Yeah I didn't see Lewis was retained until a few minutes after I posted my comment. I'm a bit concerned about the DC job though. If McCarthy is going to be the HC for 2018 and no promises past next year, you have to wonder if an established DC like Fangio would want to sign up for that. I hope so, I'm not to thrilled about ANY Packers defensive coaches being promoted to DC.

I'm actually in favor of McCarthy staying on, at least I'm not hellbent on getting rid of him like Capers or TT. I think it gives the Packers the best shot at winning in 2018. But I'd also be in favor of perhaps bringing back Philbin as OC and hopefully move Edgar Bennett back to WR coach. That's a bit of a demotion though so who knows if Bennett would go for that.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do wonder if anyone from the outside will want to come in without knowing who the GM is? Anyways an established DC.
I would honestly be fine with Whitt if they felt he was ready for it. Listening to Charles Woodson I think Whitt is ready for it.
To be honest I thought they should have done it during the bye week. Giving him 8 weeks to see what he could do with the defense. I get why they didn't to show respect for Capers, but it could have been a great opportunity for Whitt (or whomever).

I am happy to see McCarthy stay. The entire team won't be making a significant change this year. Stability with Rodgers at helm is a big thing.

I have heard that they may make a change at OC. If they do I would like to see them bring someone in from somewhere else. I'd like to see them bring someone in that could bring some new fresh ideas to the offense. Bennett moving back to WR coach I think would be really good, but I don't if he would take the demotion.

cuervo's picture

Isn't any change to the so called OC just window dressing? MM is the OC plain and simple and they run his scheme. I think the best thing MM could do is bring in an outside OC and hand the offense over to him (with MM input of course).

Is Wolf the best guy? If his last name was Jones, everyone's opinion would change. Gutekunst has a much longer and successful scouting background.
I'm guessing both of them are good at their jobs, so one or the other would be fine....and whoever is passed over will probably be gone.

How in the hell, Marvin Lewis has held that job for this long and got another extension is one of the great mysteries of the NFL. His teams have routinely underperformed, always have a bunch of less than stellar personalities, etc. He has to have pictures of someone onl;y explanation I can think of.

dobber's picture

My understanding is that Lewis has always had the support of the Brown family. While we've been critical of the Packers lack of an owner to facilitate change, here's an example where it doesn't happen, either.

I've heard that Edgar Bennett shouldn't get too comfortable. Some have postulated that people like Ben McAdoo could be brought in to fill that role. MM has handed over play calling in the past (Tom Clements), but I think he'd need someone he really trusts to be able to do it again.

RCPackerFan's picture

I don't think so. While this is McCarthy's offense, bringing a guy with a creative mind could bring some new things to the offense. McCarthy has implemented changes to the offense. Having an OC that can challenge McCarthy could be a great thing for the offense.

I have no idea if Wolf is the best guy. I think he is one of the top candidates. Both him and Gutekunst have been mentioned as GM's elsewhere. Packers denied the Lions request to interview Wolf in 2016. Wolf was reported to their first choice. Last year the 49ers wanted to interview him and Gutekunst.

The Marvin Lewis thing is just weird. He was going to leave now is back.

MB8830's picture

I couldn't agree more on all counts! I am finished with McCarthy's "spread isolation" offense....time to get back to a true west coast offense which will extend Rodgers' career....and....keep that crap defense off of the field. I am fine with McCarthy being retained as the head coach for stability purposes, but his play-calling, clock management and offensive game decisions are, at best, very strange....time to move on.

As regards Wolf.....other than the fact that he is Ron Wolf's son, what do we, the fan base, really know about him that would justify any enthusiasm for him taking on the GM role?? I despise nepotism and really do not know enough about Elliot Wolf to make a call on him. That said, if he has a tangible and measureable track record within the organization which justifies taking the next step, then I guess I would be OK with him......but I would like to see other candidates interviewed also.

Personally, I like the idea of Schneider coming back to Green Bay.....but that may be painful in terms of compensation for the (hated) Seahawks, so that likely is out of the question.

OrganLeroy's picture

Ball played college football and the last few years under Ted's tuteladge has been studying and breaking down film.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I just want another Super Bowl soon.
Is that so bad?

croatpackfan's picture

Yes...

Bearmeat's picture

NP,

I'd heard that Ball did play college football and has helped with the scouting in the Midwest for the last several years.

You are right though, I'd imagine that Ball will leave if Wolf gets the job. Wolf will leave if Ball gets it. Ditto Gutekunst (who I have heard is possibly destined for the Houston GM chair anyway). And we may just lose all of them if we bring in an external candidate.

All of this is really normal though. Each and every GM Murphy chooses will have the ability to bring in his own people. The issue won't be people - it'll be getting the best person for the job who assembles the best staff.

Nick Perry's picture

Your right BM, but I'd still like to see as many stay as possible. I made the comment on Ball because I thought I'd read something like that in the JS although it WAS early and I could be wrong. I could have swore they mentioned Balls area of expertise and experience was on the business side but not so much the football side..i.e. scouting.

As long as they get it right. Hopefully the new GM will use every avenue to improve the Packers whether it be the draft, trades, or free agency.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Russ Ball is 58 years old. Not sure how that impacts his own decision making on whether to stay with GB if he doesn't get the GM job. My point is he probably has to land a GM job soon if he is ever going to get one. If he leaves GB would it be for just a lateral type position with another organization? Is he better off staying in case whoever gets it fails? How long will it take for GB's BOD to react to failure? 4 years? I guess I think GB is his last and best shot at becoming a GM, but maybe moving to a different team might open new possibilities.

We are probably going to lose people no matter what we do. More in some cases than in others.

Bearmeat's picture

That's a great point on Russ Ball's age. He would be a stop gap GM. Not a longer term solution. His age would get us through the end of ARod's career, but not much longer than that. Of course, if he led well during the remainder of ARod's career, we'll get another Super Bowl. So maybe that would be enough. ;)

dobber's picture

What's the average tenure for an NFL GM? I'm guessing 7 years or less. That would make him 65...retirement age. And he's not likely to have been smacked upside the head as much as TT has. I just don't see him as a stopgap guy.

There are many things to like about Russ Ball. He knows the cap inside and out, and he's worked hard to develop a nose for scouting (which TT has specifically helped him to work on, and has praised him for). Analytics are starting to take a greater hold in football than they used to, which might play toward a guy like Ball.

I wouldn't be unhappy if Ball got the job. I tend to skew toward guys who have done talent assessment on their own in terms of my preference, but if they put good evaluators around Ball and he's smart enough to listen to them, I think he'd be fine. You could say that about most GMs.

Razer's picture

Well said Dobber. Smart people are smart about the things they do and learn the things that they don't know how to do. At 58, he is savvy enough to make good choices and keep the organization strong. I'd have no problem with Russ Ball as our next GM.

I can't say that I totally know where young Wolf is in his progression. Just because the father was good doesn't mean that the son has the same instincts. Many a company run into the ground after the heirs took over. I hope he is a contender because it would mean that we have good options.

dobber's picture

Another question: has Russ Ball ever interviewed for a GM position anywhere? Has he ever been mentioned for a job outside of GB?

I ask because I just don't know, but that could tell you something about what his chances are of leaving if he's not picked. He might always be destined to be thought of as Robin and never Batman.

stockholder's picture

I'm Against Ball. The contracts of Perry and Adams says it all. He'll give away the farm.

Turophile's picture

There speaks a man with stock worth.............NOTHING. ;-)

If you want to draft and develop, you cannot shy away from the big contracts.

I'd love to play you at high stakes poker.

stockholder's picture

Agreed, I'll be out in Vegas in the spring. The draft and develop does not matter with free-Aency now. Were making millionaires out of kids being drafted. The big contracts are hurting sports. I'll bet this: That the NFL and the union will not agree on their next contract. A delay in the schedule will happen. NFL clubs keep moving. (Vegas) People want winning. Not overpaid Bums. Were drawn to college sports. The price goes up, and the people will find other things to spend their money on.

Chuck Farley's picture

Ya ball gave the farm to a guy who is a good not great receiver and receivers are a dime a dozen in this business. I read analyst reports who rated Adam's as a 6 to 8 mil contract player. His new pay puts him in the top three. The pack needed that money on a lot of other things.
Ted and ball gave 66% of the team salary to two players, Rogers and Mathews, look how many quality players we let go for that, Hyde, Lang, Sutton, cook, at all.

dobber's picture

Ball works at the behest of TT. TT sets the financial parameters, Ball negotiates, TT makes the final call.

packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2017/05/30/russ-ball-plays-hardball-packers-heart/349607001/

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Adams in the top 3 WRs for pay. No.
65% of the cap to AR and CM3. No.
An analyst wrote Adms = $6M. Cmon.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Just to be clear, I wasn't advocating for or against Ball as GM. I was just trying to view his options if he isn't selected as GM. Will he leave GB for another team if passed over? I think he stays, but I'd have to know him personally to bet anything on it.

Turophile's picture

TGR. The sad thing is, I believe that whoever is selected as the next GM (and i do expect that to be an internal hire), the candidates who didn't get the GM gig wil leave for promotions elsewhere. After the exodus of Schneider, McKenzie and Dorsey already, that is a lot of talent leaving the building.

So, (for example) if Gutekunst gets the job, Wolf and Ball are likely to leave - Highsmith is already gone to the Browns. I just read today that Gutekunst was the preferred 49ers candidate last year, until the Packers persuaded him to change his mind and stay.

I'm still going with my original guess from way back when, well before the news broke about TT, that the candidates, in order of preference, are Ball, Gutekunst, Wolf.

One thing worth considering is that the Packers have seen so much of the three internal candidates, day by day, and from close up, they darn well SHOULD know who the best guy is. I have to trust that judgement.

dobber's picture

Silverstein is reporting that if one of Wolf or Gutekunst gets the gig, there's a real possibility that the other will hang around. Apparently they like working together. He's saying that if Russ Ball gets the job, all bets are off on the other two.

In the end, they're not likely to leave for a parallel job, but there are only so many GM jobs to be had. While they might stick for a year, how much longer beyond that?

The TKstinator's picture

I’d also like to report that I am very amused at how narrow this column is becoming due to all the replies. It’s really getting cramped in here!

The TKstinator's picture

Kinda like that scene in Willy Wonka in which they walk down the ever narrowing hallway.

The TKstinator's picture

Also: the Gene Wilder version > the Johnny Depp version

Since '61's picture

How tight can it get? Thanks, Since '61

The TKstinator's picture

Maybe just a little bit tighter. Sadly, I only get this constricted view on my tablet, not on my phone. I’m sorry that means some of us have to miss out on the fun!

The TKstinator's picture

What happens when you try to cram 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound bag?

Nick Perry's picture

French fries??

Nick Perry's picture

This is absolutely the thinest I've saw a post go that I can remember.

Nick Perry's picture

W
O
W
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!

The TKstinator's picture

D
O
W
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S
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,

RCPackerFan's picture

With the news yesterday that the Alonzo Highsmith was going to join the Browns, they already started losing some of their own. Alonzo had been with the Packers for 19 years.

I would anticipate that if they don't make Wolf the GM that he will be gone not long after. Same probably could be said for Gutekunst.

Listening to various media last night after Murphy talked they really made it sound like the Packers would be hiring from within, but were going to do a broad search to obey all the rules.

With the way Wolf has really moved up in the front office it's like they have been grooming him for this position. If he does become the GM it will be interesting to see how he decides to run it. What decisions he will make and what moves he will make.

The next few months are going to be really exciting to see what happens.

Roaddog's picture

I believe that coaching is just as important as personnel. Look at all the players provided to the Packers coaching staff who have looked average at best for the green and gold only to go on and have great seasons with another team. If the coaching scheme doesn't fit the players you have then it's time to change the scheme and let your players play.

RCPackerFan's picture

Hence why Capers is no longer the DC.

Mikevv's picture

Judging by the fact that Gutekunst has been looked at by more teams, it would appear that he is thought of as the better guy we have in house. I think everyone is in love with Elliot Wolf because of the name, if he was a "Smith", he wouldn't be getting all the love without anyone even knowing a thing that he has done. I would not have a problem with Reggie McKenzie or Schneider coming back in if they can make it happen either.

Coldworld's picture

Could be true, or the other teams may believe that Wolf is the heir and less likely to move. Wolf may also have made it clear he wants Packers level GM authority. That is rare with an owner.

dobber's picture

I think you might be right on, here Coldworld, especially with the presumption that he would be hard to pry away from GB.

RCPackerFan's picture

I know the Packers have blocked Wolf in the past from being interviewed. Has it happened more then we know? Or has Wolf denied requests for interviews?
From everything I have read the top 2 in house candidates appear to be Wolf and Gutekunst. Gutekunst was about to be the 49ers GM but pulled his name. Now the Texans are after him.

I know the reason why a lot of fans want to see Wolf is because of the work his dad has done. Honestly that doesn't mean much to me. If he is the best candidate for the job, then I hope he is the next choice.

I just saw that McKenzie maybe a bigger candidate to return then first thought.

croatpackfan's picture

Well, if there will be "coming backs", Reggie McKenzie is better candidate, because, by reports the Raiders probably had to give Gruden total control over football to entice him from the TV booth (Pete Dougherty).
Also there is reports that Schneider signed extension with Seattle and the note how he has rights to go back to Packers if that opportunity shows up is removed from extension.

dobber's picture

The Gruden point here is a good one. I suspect McKenzie isn't going to want to take a step back in his responsibilities. He's done a good job in the rebuilding of a team devoid of talent and with cap issues.

It would be 'funny' if the Packers ended up losing out on all of their in-house guys, but ended up with McKenzie by default.

The TKstinator's picture

Gruden: 10 years, 100 million dollars?
Wow.

Houndog's picture

Mikew,
You might be right about Wolf, maybe it's his name, but maybe its that other teams think (or know) he's really not available. I'm not giving him a pass because of his name, if he were that good it should have been a slam-dunk.
Schneider presently has the Seahawks in Salary Cap Hell, with an aging defense and an average team. Of all Ted did or didn't do he never put the Pack in that position.
McKenzie inherited a messed up salary cap and a team that had wasted draft picks everywhere, the Carson Palmer trade just to name one, and Al Davis grabbing every FORMER "speed guy' he could find before he died. McKenzie has done a great job from where he started. But then rumors have it that if Gruden returns he wants some of that power, and McKenzie might become available.
This could turn out to be a "Hurry up and wait" thing.

Coldworld's picture

Some losses are inevitable, I agree. I hope the Packers are good at evaluating their internal candidates. I am wary of a non scouting background irrespective of Ball’s merits though. Given the Packers’ set up, talent evaluation in the front office is key as is its positioning.

If we hire Ball, we may lose our best talent spotters and then I worry whether there will be a counterpoint to the coaching staff. I do not want MM to be more than a head coach given that he is a player loyalist through and through as I read it.

Murphy is the business leader. GM needs to be a football person with a business of football background not a business person who has worked for pro football teams, particularly given Packers set up. Unless, that is, Murphy plans to fill the football side void by expanding his own remit. Not sure I am keen on that either though.

dobber's picture

Someone on FB posted this: it's not who you lose, it's who you choose. That's an outstanding assessment of the current situation. It's clear they're not going to keep everyone, and in trying to do so, they might not get anyone.

Assuming he doesn't get a GM job somewhere else, I think Russ Ball will stay if one of the others is chosen. I think they'll structure responsibilities such that he'll have an expanded role as #2 behind the GM.

A couple things to think about with regard to talent spotters:
1. Keep in mind that the current group of talent spotters that seem to be so highly coveted were the same guys advising TT as the roster has slid over recent years. That's not to say that they haven't had good ideas, or whether one in particular has been poorer but that TT chose to listen to that guy over the others. In the end, the buck stops with TT...but you have to wonder.
2. A new GM from outside the organization will likely have some degree of high-level management experience and will have his own network of scouts and advisers. I assume he'd bring many with him.

Finally: this is where Murphy's experience will come most into play. He's a lawyer and a businessman. He's likely got a track record of replacing high-level employees, using head hunters, and managing that decision-making process. I think he's going about this the right way...he just needs to be quick.

Tarynfor12's picture

You Can't Always Keep Your Homegrown Talent.

" You can't always get what you want.....but if you try sometimes...you might find.....you get what you need."

Rolling Stones

dobber's picture

I hear Keith Richards is available...

Spock's picture

Keith is immortal and will always be available!

The TKstinator's picture

Y’all are speaking my language!

Savage57's picture

Best way to handle this mess?

WWBHD. What would Bob Harlan do?

Remember that Mark, and try not to totally screw this up.

RCPackerFan's picture

Here i thought you were going to say What Would Brett Hundley Do?

Houndog's picture

Dilly, Dilly!
Bob Harlan would have had the answer before he made the move!

Handsback's picture

I have no idea if Wolf is any good or not. The same with any of Green Bay's inside group. I would love to see a guy named to that GM spot that's picked players in the 3-6 rounds that have become stars. A guy who has picked up 2-3rd tier FAs and they have become starters on their team. The guy who knows talent and can keep his wits about him. That's who I hope the Packers chose as their next GM. He's out there and I hope is considered for the job.

Razer's picture

There are only so many top jobs in this league and enough bad owners to reduce the top jobs even further. The Packers have graduated 3 guys to other teams which is phenomenal. I wouldn't assume that the guys left behind TT are either ready or the best for the job. And, I wouldn't assume that Russ Ball couldn't do a great job because he is good with numbers and apparently "not" a football guy. A smart person who knows people and how to use resources is the definition of general manager. I am sure that Russ Ball could find good people to find good ball players.

Razer's picture

BTW, great move by Alonzo Highsmith. He joins John Dorsey who has a talent farm, tons of cap space and a boat load of draft picks. Once they get a coach and a QB, Cleveland will be the next Seattle of this decade. Timing is everything in this business.

RCPackerFan's picture

They have the 1st and 4th picks in the draft. Talk about a new GM's dream!

They can potentially get the best none QB and best QB in the draft.

Razer's picture

Exactly. Highsmith will ride this ride team up as the talent and draft picks mature. As a scout, it is a dream situation.

RCPackerFan's picture

Oh definitely.

The Browns I think are improving. They really need a QB. They find their QB and they could be a really, really tough team to deal with in a few years. getting Dorsey was a really smart move.

Houndog's picture

What caught my attention was Highsmith stating the he "was glad to be going somewhere he'd be trusted".
I've heard before that TT had exhibited a hesitancy to follow the advice of his personnel people, and Highsmith's statement may reflect that. He also suggested others would be following him out the door.
As for Ball, I don't have a big problem with it, you need a strong business mind in his position, but I think you need a 'Football Guy' as well. If Wolf is that guy so be it, and the same for Gutekunst.
I'm hoping the Packers can find a way to keep at least one of each, maybe via some creative title assertion that keeps everyone happy. It''s well publicized that TT shared the duties with Ball, and other teams have their special 'business side of it' guys as well.
Hopefully, there's a way to keep some continuity in the front office without losing too much.

egbertsouse's picture

I know this won’t happen but I’m hoping that Murphy goes outside for the new GM and the new guy fires Mashed Potato Mike and his Waffle House menu and blows the whole thing up, metaphorically speaking. Anything except the same old Groundhog Day we’ve been getting the last 7 years.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, because 8 years of playoff football has been brutal! 3 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl victory.

Also I like how you went with 7 years vs 8 because 8 years ago was the Super Bowl. Funny how that works...

OrganLeroy's picture

You are one of the biggest Morons I ever seen post anything!

pacman's picture

I'm impressed how many posters know so much about the back office personnel. I have a hard time following players, let alone coaches and certainly not management.

MM lucks out here in getting an extension. But only getting a year is practically a slap in the face. My guess is he is sticking around because he loves the Packers and GB. A nice reason but does he give the Packers the best chance to win a SB? We will see. I would still like to hear the reasons why he is a good head coach.

Looking way ahead - Packers go to SB next year with a better defense. Does MM or new D coach get credit? That's what they call 'a good problem to have'!

dobber's picture

I think the one-year extension on MM is TT playing nice with the new GM and not hanging that person unnecessarily to someone else's coach while still keeping MM credible and the team stable. When that decision on the extension was made might play into that, but I suspect that TT knew he was not-for-long in the league when he did it.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I gave you a thumbs up even though I disagree. Weird. Anyway, I don't think giving MM that one year extension made him one iota less of a lame duck. MM is no more credible with 2 years to go than he would have been with one year. MM's credibility depends on who is selected as GM and whether Murphy is eliminating candidates who aren't big supporters of MM or at least won't commit to keeping MM for 2018.

pacman's picture

Also, you have to look at the coaches under MM that have totally flopped elsewhere. More evidence of how AR carried everyone and it not being MM's leadership.

dobber's picture

Far more coaches flop than succeed (especially since new coaches rarely go to good teams), but you're right: the lack of at least ONE making good doesn't say good things.

FWIW, Bill Belichick has a terrible coaching tree also.

I found this really cool interactive graphic that's a couple years old that shows how some coaches are connected.

http://graphics.wsj.com/nfl-coaches/

Chris Vachio's picture

The Parcells tree, though...Belichick, Zimmer, Payton, Coughlin...

Razer's picture

On another front, I do worry about the GM search in conjunction with the DC search. MM was given a one year extension. Hardly a ringing endorsement. What good DC wants to hook his future on a precarious head coach and without knowing who is running the show. Big handicap in our talent search.

pacman's picture

OTOH, a new DC lines up as the possible HC heir apparent. Let's face it, after AR goes in about 5 years, MM, if he is still around, will probably move on too. Hard to imagine any HC going even that long on one team. Do a good job at DC and win a few SB's - that would put you in a very good position for a HC job. Would someone rather go to Cleveland and start from scratch? Unless, of course, they don't like small, freezing towns.

Razer's picture

Having someone who is keen at their job and does a good job as DC would be perfect. Results and a potential next head coach is a good formula, particularly if Mike doesn't keep evolving.

stockholder's picture

Seems to me with all the interviews Wolf is getting. He is the answer for the Packers. Whats the hold up? He's Hungry. We only have to look at Detroit and Chicago to see changes don't always work. Especially Coaches. He can't do worse than TT has done the last 4 years. Why bring in somebody to rock the boat. ( Destroying everything could be a living Hell.) Murphy and the executives should know him well enough by now. Wolf is their man.

dobber's picture

Why choose a guy because everyone else thinks he's great or in-demand? I think the Packers will know these guys inside and out. I'm happy that they're doing diligence in the search process.

I don't think the chief qualification for the guy I want to be GM will be, "can't do worse than TT."

stockholder's picture

The dude's hungry. Rocking the boat. But I have an easier way. All these guys are scouts. Or some how were connected to college scouting. WHICH ONES VOTED FOR WHAT GUYS TT WENT AFTER? WHO HAS THE HIGHEST % INPUT OF THE SUCCESS PICKS? Example - Harrel, Datone Jones, The biggest busts. TT should be able to weigh in on this also.

Tundraboy's picture

Well that makes sense?

OrganLeroy's picture

Wolf is getting only one interview, with the Packers. No one else has requested an interview with Wolf.

Qoojo's picture

Not sure why everyone is infatuated with Wolf. I also don't get how the Murphy can say the next gm does not need scouting experience, or however it is worded, since talent evaluation is a huge part of the job.

My preferred candidate is Reggie Mckenzie, which might be possible now that Gruden was hired as coach in Oakland. I thought he has done a lot in bringing that wreck of team back from the cellar, and made some good moves and picks.

dobber's picture

JSOnline's assessement of GM possibilities...

jsonline.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/01/02/8-potential-candidates-packers-general-manager-job/996437001/

They indicate in another article that sources inside the Packers organization view Russ Ball as the frontrunner for the job. They also point to other organizations that have had good years recently as having GMs with no significant scouting experience.

jsonline.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/01/02/packers-shift-ted-thompson-into-senior-advisor-role/995884001/

Qoojo's picture

Well that's good to hear.

Russ Ball would definitely have the financial side covered. I would take him over Wolf. I just can't get excited over Wolf due to youth and inexperience.

Seems like the past few years have bled the packers scouting department dry, which is concerning.

dobber's picture

I can't really get excited over any of these guys...because they have no achievements of their own that we can hang their hats on. Only Russ Ball as the negotiator can we really talk concretely about what he's done...and even then, TT sets the parameters and has the final say on his contract work.

It seems that the only real credential they have is that other teams are interviewing them or hiring them (namely Highsmith), but Highsmith was poached by another Packers alumnus. Are we valuing them solely because other teams seem to? And is that only because the Packers have such a successful recent track record and they hope that something has rubbed off on these guys?

Qoojo's picture

You pretty much summed up my ambivalence towards the internal candidates. Nagler did mention in a video that Wolf seems bright smart and ready as far as he is concerned. But there is so much nepotism in the nfl. The packers kept going back to the Lombardi era when hiring (i.e. Starr and Gregg). Seems like this is a step in the same direction with Wolf.

I already mentioned that I like McKenzie the best, and I hope Gruden gets control of Oakland quick to make him available. I consider the turn around of the Raiders quite an accomplishment. While they had a down year this year, they were 12-4 last year and their starting QB was injured late in the season. They regressed this year which I consider more of a coaching issue.

Houndog's picture

Geez,
Gruden said this morning on ESPN radio that he would be interviewing for the Raiders job next week.
Lliving here in the SF Bay Area about all you hear is "IF Gruden comes back", If Gruden this, and If Gruden that, so its NOT a done deal.
However, realistically it likely is a done deal being delayed while the Raiders follow the league rules and Gruden winds up his next ESPN broadcast on Saturday.
Rumors have it that he wants some power over personnel so that might free up McKenzie, but that's not a done deal either, and it could cost draft picks to get him, something the Raiders wrote the book on when they "traded" Gruden to TB.
Stay tuned!

Qoojo's picture

If Gruden has say over the roster, it will be filled with QBs.

Tundraboy's picture

If outside. I like Reggie too. Internal, then Wolf.

OrganLeroy's picture

Gruden HAS NOT BEEN HIRED BY OAKLAND.

sheppercheeser's picture

It seems to me that if GB has been telling other teams they can't interview Wolf for their GM jobs, it only stands to reason that it's only so GB could hand the GM job to Eliot once TT steps down. Otherwise, why block him from moving on? I have a feeling that some promises have been made over the years.

RCPackerFan's picture

Packers are interviewing Eliot Wolf Thursday for the Packers GM position.

Bearmeat's picture

Any idea on when Ball/Gutekunst will be interviewed? I'm hoping this is wrapped up in a week!

RCPackerFan's picture

The article said "Murphy has an interview scheduled with Wolf on Thursday and will speak with Ball and Gutekunst this week also."

This is the article.
http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/01/02/packers-s...

Since '61's picture

Korn Ferry is an excellent search firm. I have used them on several occasions to find an executive for my firm. They have always presented excellent candidates and they push hard for them. They also have a high fee structure, usually 25 - 30%.

This tells me that Murphy is pretty serious to consider outside candidates for the GM role. The other possibility is that he knows which internal candidate he wants and is using the search firm to find the replacement for who moves up to GM.

He is also likely using Korn-Ferry to interview internal candidates since their process is consistent and detached from any emotional or personal biases. I have also used them to interview internal candidates in my firm. It lessons the speculation about preferential treatment and puts everyone on an even playing field.

If Murphy handles their feedback and recommendations correctly they will narrow down 3-5 excellent candidates for him to choose from regardless of which positions he is looking to fill. Solid moves by Murphy so far. Thanks, Since ‘61

Bearmeat's picture

That's great into 61! Thanks!

Houndog's picture

Thanks for the insight "Since 61!
I hadn't thought of a number of the things you mentioned, specifically that it lessens the emotions of the process, and therefore doesn't put Murphy in a bad light with whoever doesn't get the job. It makes sense!

Tundraboy's picture

Smart to use KF for internal candidates. Brilliant idea.

Since '61's picture

Tundra I'm assuming that Murphy is using KF for the internal candidates, and I hope he is for the reasons I posted above. It is also possible that Murphy is using KF just for the external candidates.
It made sense to me to use them for some of my internal candidates because of their expertise, time saved for me and the neutrality an outside firm brings to the process, but Murphy may have a different process with KF. We'll see. Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

No I meant your own professional use. Kudos. But if it rubs off on Murphy that's OK too.

Spock's picture

'61, Great to hear! I read the (supposed) list of likely candidates on Packernews.com and having someone familiar with this firm is invaluable information on CHTV. Murphy gets a lot of static for his "Packer land" or whatever it's called but he's just doing his job in keeping the Packers finances competitive. Glad to see he is doing due diligence on the football side as I'm sure he knows this will be a defining moment of his Presidency for the Packers. I'm not sure who will be the next GM, but I believe Murphy is doing his best to make sure it's the RIGHT call. We can only wait and see. Go Pack!!!!

D.D. Driver's picture

Counterpoint: is that the firm that gave us Mark Murphy? I've just never been impressed with that dude, starting from the ridiculous way he flew down to visit Favre and tried to bribe him into staying away from training camp.

I am incredibly nervous with Murphy picking the next GM. There are far more terrible QBs in the NFL than competent QBs. The are far more terrible coaches in the NFL than competent ones. There are far more terrible GMs than competent ones.

I'm not talking about future HOFers. I am talking about competent guys. I know fans are jazzed, but looking at the flame out rates, the odds of the Packers finding an upgrade over Thompson is not that great. And Murphy being the guy trying to find the exception make me nervous.

Since '61's picture

D.D. - I'm not sure if Korn Ferry was part of the hiring process for Murphy or not.
It's not a matter of being better than TT, it's a matter of a different approach. Plus the new GM will have TT around to consult with. I didn't agree with every move TT made or didn't make, but overall he was a good GM. 8 straight playoff appearances with an SB win is a nice job in this era of the NFL. The bar is set pretty high for the new guy.

Murphy won't do this alone, Korn Ferry will help him ID strengths and weaknesses for each of the final candidates. Yes, it will be his call but I believe that it will be based on solid information. Only time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

D.D. Driver's picture

I thought that I read that he did. And, of course, there is this:

Mark and Laurie have four children ... Anna, 26, a graduate of Northwestern University who now works for Korn Ferry in New York City.

http://www.packers.com/team/staff/mark-murphy/1e6572d2-1c0e-496c-8743-9a...

That don't impress me much,...

dobber's picture

I understand your concern, but I like this process far better than just promoting an internal guy.

Golden Retriever's picture

Mark Murphy didn’t hire Korn Ferry. He hired one of their guys, who’s a friend of Murphy’s and the boss of his daughter Annie, to advise him. It’s window dressing.

Since '61's picture

Retriever, do you have a creditable source for your post? Thanks, Since '61

D.D. Driver's picture

Murphy's bio on Packers.com states: "Mark and Laurie have four children ... Anna, 26, a graduate of Northwestern University who now works for Korn Ferry in New York City."

So you hire an outside search firm to mitigate internal bias and then you hire *your daughter's* firm? Doesn't make a lot of sense.

dobber's picture

What is this...the White House?

Since '61's picture

D.D. - I'm sorry, but I am not following your point. Are you saying that there is a problem or a conflict of interest with Korn Ferry because Murphy's daughter works there?
We don't know what role she has at KF and IMO she is probably not directly involved anyway.
You may not be impressed with Murphy but he has the Packers more financially sound then they have ever been. Remember they are a non-profit organization so he is limited in how he can raise capital for the organization.
As for Korn Ferry I can only say that they have always done a good job for my firm and I would recommend them for anyone looking for high level executives. Again, I have no idea what their SOW or RFP for the Packers looks like. Maybe they are just consulting with Murphy on process and not providing candidates or interview services at all. If you don't want Murphy to choose a GM what process would you recommend? Thanks, Since '61

D.D. Driver's picture

I'm saying Korn Ferry is an corporate executive search firm. What do they know about football? It just seems odd to me. I'm sure they are great at finding CFOs, but what do they know about hiring a GM? Would you hire Korn Ferry to find the next starting QB? Would you hire them to hire the next head coach? Is hiring a GM that much different?

So that's my starting point. Then, if you do hire an outside search firm, isn't it a bit dubious to hire the one that your daughter works for? Regardless what her role is, bringing in a huge client will give a boost to her career. So yeah, it looks like a conflict of interest to me--> if Murphy made the decision. If there was an RFP and someone other than Murphy made the hire, I have no problems with it (other than I have no idea what value they bring to the table.)

What process would I use? I'd retain a successful retired GM to conduct the search. Someone like Ron Wolf, but not Ron Wolf in this case because of the Eliot factor.

Since '61's picture

KF may not know much about football (which is an assumption on your part) but they bring 3 skill sets that I am aware of to the GM process.
1. They know the hiring/interview process so they can help structure/advise Murphy on how to conduct a search and narrow down to the final candidates.
2. They have numerous profiles for successful executives.
Many of the skills required for a successful Executive in many industries will apply to a successful GM as well.
3. Murphy does not have time to schedule interviews, review resumes, etc. KF can help him wade through the minutia and allow him to be more efficient and effective when he gets final candidates in front him.

My guess is that Korn-Ferry has an existing relationship with the NFL like they have with many major corporations. Murphy may have been referred by the league or the Packers may have used KF in the past. In her role at KF Murphy’s daughter may have nothing to do with client/business development or she might be directly involved.

As for using a retired or former GM why would they want to get involved with the Packers GM search. Forget Rob Wolf , why would Mike Holmgren want to do it?, for example?There’s no gain and only negative risk for a former GM to get involved with a current search. why would he want to be associated with a bad result of it goes that way? This is what professional firms like Korn Ferry do, they are professionals. Professionals seek advice/help/consultation from other professionals. THat minimizes risks and liabilities for everyone and takes emotion and bias out of the process.
I’m glad to know that Murphy has help and is not winging hiring a GM on his own. Thanks, Since ‘61

Tundraboy's picture

Well there's always a chance that one of the a Defensive staff could be successful and has a different philosophy that might work, and although he did work under Capers I'd rather go another route outside. As for GM I think Wolf is the One for the job. What more do you need to have someone do. Besides he has the scouting experience and best familiarity and perspective having worked within the organization during the highs and lows.

Overall need new major spark on D and more energy and vision from the GM.

dobber's picture

There are excellent position coaches who make lousy coordinators. There are excellent coordinators who make lousy head coaches. I can't imagine that the opposite can't be true, although it would be hard to be considered for the next step up if you haven't earned your stripes, first.

Joe Whitt used to be the golden child in GB, but once Shields got hurt, he's had hamburger to work with. I'm not necessarily advocating for Whitt: I'd much rather see an outside guy. While the recent product might seriously tarnish his shine, it doesn't mean he couldn't do the DC job and do it well. If MM were to go here with his choice it would be gutsy because the wolves would howl, and it's not likely that this defense is going to be a top 10 unit in a year with any DC...which will make a guy like Whitt, who will already be behind the 8-ball, even more suspect.

Tundraboy's picture

After the Slocum, Zook and of course DC situations, as well as all the O staff shuffling, I think it's important that someone outside with a fresh set of eyes, be brought on board. I think MM would benefit from some different input on both sides of the ball. He's too much into his own view and system and has lost some perspective IMO. It happens. Especially after 10 years.

bodei1newbie1's picture

i hope they pick wolf, instead of ball .If ball gets in say good bye to wolf and Gutekunst

stockholder's picture

Ball is not going to be trader Ted! He's going to spend Money! And if the staff wants a player bad. He'll over-trade for him.

OrganLeroy's picture

The facts are that reports have stated that Ball is conservative like Ted so how you can say he's going to spend money is ridiculous!

dobber's picture

There is no evidence for what stockholder is selling...

jww061356's picture

I'm confused....why would Gruden cost draft choices to leave ESPN? I think this would be more about control over personnel. Who is ESPN drafting in the first round?

dobber's picture

I think the reference there was to the Packers getting McKenzie from Oakland...that they would have to pry him away with compensation. Rules prevent tampering with GMs. Teams have to get permission to interview an active and a GM under contract can't just up and leave.

The out in this case would be that if Gruden comes in and assumes final say on personnel, that the Packers job would actually be akin to a promotion, in which case Oakland couldn't stop him if he wanted to move. They've argued the same thing about Schneider in Seattle since Carroll has significant say in personnel.

jww061356's picture

Great points, Since 61. I have benign the staffing business for 30 years. Talent wins, and that begins in the front office. Cast the widest net you can, and get the smartest people you can lay your hands on, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the organization. The worst thing that happens is our inside candidates have to bring their A game to get the shot against the best people out there. It's a plum job, and a couple of FA pickups and a great draft gets us right back in the game. I have been hungry for this for awhile. Let's fond the next Ron Wolfe, wherever he is, and whatever his name is.

Ryan Graham's picture

Murphy be nimble, Murphy be quick. Now is not the time to sit on your hands. Be quick, be thorough...and keep Ball on as the Great Negotiator.

Since91's picture

I don’t care if they hire Mickey Mouse to be our next GM....as long as the next guy sets a new focus and direction! That’s what this organization needs....change the way FA has been handled stop relying on undrafted free agents consistently to be our starters when injuries hit...the NFL is changing quickly and our next GM must have a plan for these rapid changes....There is more cap space and there will continue to be...spend wisely...some FAs will work out and some will not.....The injuries in this league are destroying the level of quality play....can’t wait for that Foles vs Keenum NFC championship what a joke....Injuries are going to happen ....but deciding who are depth is and fitting that under the cap is the tight rope all GMs must walk! We will see what the brass decides but the new guy better be ready to deal with this changing league

Since91's picture

I don’t care if they hire Mickey Mouse to be our next GM....as long as the next guy sets a new focus and direction! That’s what this organization needs....change the way FA has been handled stop relying on undrafted free agents consistently to be our starters when injuries hit...the NFL is changing quickly and our next GM must have a plan for these rapid changes....There is more cap space and there will continue to be...spend wisely...some FAs will work out and some will not.....The injuries in this league are destroying the level of quality play....can’t wait for that Foles vs Keenum NFC championship what a joke....Injuries are going to happen ....but deciding who are depth is and fitting that under the cap is the tight rope all GMs must walk! We will see what the brass decides but the new guy better be ready to deal with this changing league

dobber's picture

Another take on the Packers GM search:

profootballrumors.com/2018/01/packers-to-start-gm-interviews-on-thursday-hope-to-make-hire-next-week

Apparently Doug Whaley is expected to be in the mix for GM now, too...

profootballrumors.com/2018/01/packers-doug-whaley-gm

Bearmeat's picture

Great. Ugh. Doug Whaley was awful with the Bills....

dobber's picture

He might be a Rooney Rule interview. I wonder what's more insulting...not being interviewed at all, or only being interviewed because of the color of your skin?

Rossonero's picture

Agreed.

RCPackerFan's picture

That was my guess. He will be the Rooney Rule GM.

IMO, that is more of an insult then anything. To get interviews due to your skin color.

Johnblood27's picture

Affirmative action in actual action.

Pathetic

Bret Iverson's picture

I know since Murphy and Thompson have come in that the Packers changed to more NFL with restricted access to the management. As share holders Sherman gave us the most access to staff and players. He was a Packer fan as well as GM and coach. I always got to talk to Andrew Brandt and other VP's. When he was replaced, during the transition year when he was only the coach. Harlan was still President and a John Jones was going to be the new president. He was being groomed for several years prior. Then Murphy was hired and Jones and many other in the management team were let go Brandt, Wie and a first female VP. Then the team restricted access to only Murphy and Thompson. They did an autograph walk through. Tours of the press box, locker room, training facilities stopped.

Ball replaced Brandt who wanted to be GM. Ball is very private and not seen very much in public. He would be a clone of Ted.

The TKstinator's picture

Hey, Iverson, we talkin’ about PRACTICE??

Golden Retriever's picture

On the Big Show radio program today (1250 AM in Milwaukee) they were saying that Russ Ball has been calling the shots on personnel for the past year, with Ted Thompson’s input. This due to TT’s deteriorating health. Russ Ball reportedly pulled the trigger on the Martellius Bennett signing (and on the other FA’s.)
If true, that does not speak highly of Ball’s judgment.

There’s so much information out there. It’s hard to know what to believe.

Rossonero's picture

Wolf and Gutekunst are interviewing today with the Packers. We need a new GM by end of next week, or else we'll lose out on the best defensive assistant coaches.

dobber's picture

The defensive coordinators aren't likely to start falling until teams start hiring head coaches. So the defensive assistants will start falling in earnest after that.

Dale Waterstreet's picture

If the Packers are as devoid of talent as many Packer fans seem to think than hiring from within the present personnel department is a mistake. The only group to play consistently on defense were the defensive lineman and the Packers let the defensive line coach go. The LB's and DB's didn't have a clue. Hiring from within for the DC job would be another mistake. If the Packers really want to change things they have to hire from the outside both the GM and the DC.

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