GM Brian Gutekunst recaps the Packers season, ponders future of Aaron Rodgers and others

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

GREEN BAY − General manager Brian Gutekunst met with the media Friday to recap the Green Bay Packers' 8-9 season that ended without a playoff berth.

Gutekunst spoke at length on the future of quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the club, the future of quarterback Jordan Love, the defensive product and more. 

“Obviously a tough season, tough way to end it,” Gutekunst said, “always the finality of it is always kind of tough.”

Here are some highlights from the news conference. 

On whether he wants Aaron Rodgers back next season: 

"Like I said during the bye week, I want all these guys back. That's part of that. He’s certainly gonna take some time. I think that’s fair. As we work through this, I think as he takes his time, kind of makes his decision just on his playing career in general, we'll get together, kind of move forward that way."

On whether the decision is up to Rodgers or if the front office has to decide if they want him back: 

"We made a really big commitment to him last offseason. As we did that, it wasn't certainly just for this year. He's gonna take his time and the communication will be pretty constant."

The futures of Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love will be developments to watch in the offseason.

On who gives them a better chance to win, Rodgers or backup Jordan Love: 

“Well you’re talking about a four-time MVP. So we're very excited about Jordan, where he's at, there's not doubt about that. But Jordan's never played a 16-game, 17-game season, gone through all that stuff. So it's no different than when we moved from Brett (Favre) to Aaron. That's a hard thing to say but at the same time, where Aaron's at, the level he's at, there's not many teams he wouldn't give the best chance to win."

On whether he can envision a scenario with both Rodgers and Love on the team next season: 

"Sure. We really like the development of where Jordan is. I think he’s ready to play. I think that's his next step in his development. Those guys work well together in the rom. If anything this year would have happened to Aaron, and Joran would've had to play significant amount of time, we felt really good about that … but yes I can foresee (having them both on the team)." 

On whether Rodgers needs to spend more of his offseason working in Green Bay: 

"Well we want all the players here during the offseason … it’s optional and voluntary, as you guys know. We invest a lot in these guys and would certainly like them invested back, in all our guys. But you know there’s rules for a reason in the CBA … I know a lot of the veteran players need less of that but sometimes the younger players need vets here as well."

On if David Bakhtiari is his left tackle next season: 

"I would hope so. We’re hopeful that he’s kind of cleared some of those injury hurdles he’s had the last few years … I think he got into a really good rhythm in learning (how he needs to) practice to get to the games. And I'm hopeful that as we get beyond this season, that rhythm will serve him well."

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On if Mason Crosby is his kicker next season:

"Again, these are all decisions we'll work through this offseason. David's under contract, Mason's not. We're working through all that stuff. Mason had an astounding year this year, was really clutch in a lot of ways."

On whether they missed in some evaluations of defensive players: 

"There's always misses in evaluations at times. This particular year, I don't know if I’d say that. We had some young players that started coming on late. I don't think we played consistent enough football in that group early on … you’re always gonna have hits and misses in the evaluation part of it ... but I think that's a very talented group, but we did not play like a very talented football team at times." 

Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage celebrates with fans during a Lambeau Leap after returning an interception for a touchdown.

On the future of safety Darnell Savage: 

"I think he's very versatile. In the middle of the season, we kind of sat him down for a little bit, we brought him back, moved him to nickel to get him closer to the ball ... He can really do anything. He has so much speed and range to play the backend, but when you get him back there further away from the ball, sometimes he doesn’t get his chance to make plays … I think there was some reality checks as he went through this season and I'm hopeful as we get into next season, we're gonna see his best."

On the change in special teams and emergence in returner Keisean Nixon: 

"I really like what we did as a (special) teams unit this year. I think what I liked most was the play style of those guys … I’m really proud of the way he took, responded to the opportunity given to him. not only the (special) team stuff but defense as well. We kind of identified him last season (on defense) … was not expecting the returner aspect, that was a nice surprise." 

More:Green Bay Packers kick returner Keisean Nixon named first-team all-pro

On the play of running back Aaron Jones and his future with the team:

"Certainly we expect to have him back. He's a dynamic player … for a guy his size to bring it every day, he rarely misses a practice, rarely misses a rep, the way he leads our team, just his consistency is amazing. In this league, you can't have just one and obviously having AJ (Dillon), it's nice to have that one-two punch. When we first got him, you're kind of thinking 'this won't last long,' because of how he's built and his size, but he keeps defying the odds."

On whether Aaron Jones will play out his current contract or be restructured again: 

"The way we’re doing things lately, we’ll probably restructure everybody to make some room."

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