A rare losing season without a playoff appearance led to significant front office changes for the Green Bay Packers. A new structure is in place at the top of the front-office flow chart http://www.packerscheapstore.com/muhammad-wilkerson-jersey-cheap" rel="nofollow">Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , and new general manager Brian Gutekunst is signaling that the Packers might be a little more aggressive in free agency.
The "draft-and-develop" philosophy will still be the foundation of the way that Green Bay builds the roster, Gutekunst said Monday at his introductory news conference at Lambeau Field.
"But I do think I will lead in my own personality and probably a little bit more aggressive in certain areas," said Gutekunst, formerly Green Bay's player personnel director.
"We're not going to leave any stone unturned as far as every avenue of player acquisition."
Predecessor Ted Thompson is now a senior advisor following a 13-year tenure highlighted by the Super Bowl-winning 2010 season.
The Packers went to four NFC title games and won six NFC North crowns under his watch.
Thompson also took heat from some vocal fans for being timid in free agency, especially at a time when two-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime at age 34.
The defense did not improve over the past four seasons despite being stocked with high draft picks.
Thompson had the titles of executive vice president, general manger & director of football operations – positions that will now be held by different executives under the structural change initiated by team president/CEO Mark Murphy.
"It's very difficult for one person to handle all of those responsibilities, so really looking at it, I decided it would be in the best long-term interests of the organization to change the structure," said Murphy, who oversaw the GM search.
Gutekunst, 44, will have complete control over roster decisions as general manager.
Coach Mike McCarthy, who is under contract through 2019 after receiving a one-year extension during the season, will now report directly to Murphy. He will have the authority to hire and fire the head coach.
Russ Ball, the team's salary cap expert and chief contract negotiator, was promoted to executive vice president/director of football operations after serving as vice president of football administration/player finance. Ball, who interviewed for the GM job http://www.philadelphiaeaglesteamonlines.com/richard-rodgers-jersey" rel="nofollow">Authentic Richard Rodgers Jersey , will also report directly to Murphy.
Murphy said he decided to make the change during a broad re-evaluation sparked by the GM search. He hoped that lines of communication would improve in order to break down "silos" that had built up over the years.
"I just felt like there were too many silos in football, whether that be coaching and personnel, the college and the pro side, and breaking down those silos" was necessary, Murphy said.
Murphy is the highest-ranking administrator on a team without a traditional owner – the Packers are the NFL's only publicly-owned franchise. In times when there might be close calls, Murphy would cast a tiebreaking vote.
"But I hope it never gets to that," Murphy said. "That'll be the goal, is that we can work together and through good communication we'll all be on the same page."
He has more football experience than the average team president, having played safety under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs for the Washington Redskins.
Also a lawyer, Murphy had extensive experience in sports administration before becoming Packers president/CEO in 2007, including athletic director stints at Northwestern and Colgate.
Entering his 20th season with the Packers, Gutekunst is also a football lifer, but on the personnel side. He spent the past two seasons as player personnel director. He also oversaw college scouting for four years, and worked 11 seasons as a regional college scout in the talent-rich Southeast.
Gutekunst got his start in Green Bay as a scouting intern in the summer of 1997, spent most of 1998 as a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs before returning to the Packers for good when then-GM and Hall of Famer Ron Wolf hired him as a scout on Dec. 30, 1998.
Gutekunst had interviewed for other GM openings in recent years. In fact, he got the call from Murphy offering him the Packers' job while on a trip over the weekend to Houston to interview for the Texans' vacancy.
The interview with the Packers on Friday ended up being his last one.
"I let Mark know on Friday that this was my dream job http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/joseph-noteboom-jersey" rel="nofollow">Authentic Joseph Noteboom Jersey , that I absolutely love this place," Gutekunst said.
Interjected Murphy: "You didn't tell your agent that."
It all worked out in the end.
"I'm really glad that it came to where we are now," said Gutekunst, as his wife and children watched from the front row of the auditorium.
The Packers also interviewed director-football operations Eliot Wolf, who is the son of the former GM and friends with Gutekunst; and former Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley.
Gutekunst said he hoped that he could keep Wolf as his "right-hand man", but wouldn't hold him back if other opportunities arose.

Jeffrey Lurie danced like nobody was watching after the Philadelphia Eagles won both of their playoff games.
Video cameras in the locker room recorded his awkward moves for millions of viewers, but the team's longtime owner will be happy to lead a giant dance party if the Eagles beat the New England Patriots on Sunday to capture the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
"This is the most passionate fan base in the NFL, if not in sports," Lurie said. "They care so much, they're our partners, and we just want to win so badly for them."
The 66-year-old Lurie grew up a passionate Boston sports fan. He even tried to buy the Patriots in 1993 but was outbid by Robert Kraft. So the former movie producer paid $195 million for the Eagles in 1994. Lurie vowed to win multiple championships for a city that hasn't celebrated an NFL title since 1960.
He's still waiting for No. 1. Nothing else matters this week.
"We're here to win a football game," Lurie said. "That's the bottom line. That's why we're here. I'm laser-focused on this football game and winning the Super Bowl. That is the only objective."
While Kraft is known as a power broker in the NFL, Lurie is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who also has plenty of influence. He serves on numerous league committees, including the Finance Committee, Broadcast Committee, International Committee and the Super Bowl Advisory Committee.
"Jeffrey is a soft voice," team president Don Smolenski said. "He doesn't seek to grab the microphone at every opportunity but when he does stand up http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/brian-allen-jersey" rel="nofollow">Authentic Brian Allen Jersey , what he says is very thoughtful, very thought-provoking. It's very respectful and the other owners listen to what he has to say.
"He's very quietly influential because he doesn't seek the spotlight and he doesn't try to be out front but when he speaks, the fellow owners listen and I often see it after the fact when they approach him at a break and talk to him afterward."
Smolenski and executive vice president Howie Roseman praised the way Lurie gets involved in personnel decisions without meddling.
"He allows us to do what he hired us to do but he also finds a way to push us to do our best, be our best," Smolenski said.
"He likes to ask a lot of questions. He wants to understand the thought process. He wants to understand the reasoning behind (decisions). He's always supportive but he's looking to make sure we evaluated situations from all angles. He has fondness for chess.
"In the game of chess, you have to look at four, five, six moves down the road. So his line of questioning is often around that. We're very fortunate to work with an owner like that."
Roseman points to an example that's played a big role in helping Philadelphia reach this point. When the team wanted to spend $12 million to sign backup quarterback Nick Foles, Lurie gave his blessing.
Foles was spectacular in the NFC championship game against Minnesota and is 4-0 in the four games he's started that have mattered since Carson Wentz tore his ACL.
The Eagles released backup Chase Daniel last spring despite owing him $5 million and gave Foles a contract that included $7 million in guarantees.
The cap hit for Daniel and Sam Bradford, who was traded to Minnesota in September 2016, totaled $12.5 million this season. For Wentz and Foles, the combined hit was $7.66 million.
"Jeffrey is incredibly smart," Roseman said. "He asks the questions. That doesn't mean he's going to overrule it, but he's going to ask about the line of thinking and it challenges you to be better and all of us need that guidance and leadership."

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