Murphy explains decision to assume direct responsibility over Packers coach

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One of the more stunning, albeit under-noticed, developments from January came when the Packers nudged G.M. Ted Thompson out of his job with the express intent of replacing him. And then didn’t.

Less than a week after announcing that Thompson is out — and emphasizing that the new G.M. will have hiring and firing authority over the head coach — the Packers unveiled a far different configuration of the revamped front office. Brian Gutekunst became the new G.M., Russ Ball became the new director of football operations, and CEO Mark Murphy became directly responsible for coach Mike McCarthy.

“A key factor in my thought process was to improve communication within football,” Murphy explains in the latest installment of his periodic fan question-and-answer column. “I felt that, over time, silos had developed within football operations and communication had suffered. Also, I wanted to create a structure that gave Brian the best chance to succeed. By narrowing his responsibilities (several of the G.M.’s responsibilities were shifted to Russ Ball, including salary cap management and contract negotiations), it allows him to focus on the most important aspects of his job, the draft and determining the 90- and 53-man rosters. As I came to the end of the search process, I realized how important it was to keep both Brian and Russ with us. I determined that having both of them (as well as Mike) report to me would help us achieve this objective. Finally, all organizations evolve over time and I believe this change will help us improve as we move forward.”

The last part of Murphy’s explanation hints strongly at the dynamics that caused the Packers to quickly and drastically change the scope and significance of the G.M. job. Many thought Ball would be getting the gig, and storm clouds already were gathering regarding whether McCarthy would want out if that happened. But giving the full thing to Gutekunst may have resulted in Ball moving on. So Murphy split it up, carving out and keeping responsibility for McCarthy — and in turn ensuring that McCarthy wouldn’t choose to leave, either.

With so many skilled executives swirling under Thompson (while also hovering for the chance to pounce when he exited the job), it made sense for the Packers to find a way to expand the position to multiple people, even if it still meant that guys like Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith chose to do what possibly even more would have done if Murphy had given Thompson’s title and responsibilities fully and completely to one person.

The end result continues to be that Murphy and McCarthy emerge with greater significance in the operation. With that comes greater accountability, however, if the team doesn’t achieve its expectations.

27 responses to “Murphy explains decision to assume direct responsibility over Packers coach

  1. I think it’s innovative and free-thinking and outside the box. There should be one person with whom the buck stops, they now have that, and the Packers’ system won’t have to cowtow to an ambitious and greedy owner. I think it’s great. Whether it works or not remains to be seen. With this new set-up and after the Vikings and their vaunted defense showed who they really are and laid eggs in six of the last eight primetime quarters they played, the Packers will assuredly be favred (see what I did there?) to win back the division and compete deep into the postseason……again.

    The New Green Bay Packers.

  2. assuredly be favred (see what I did there?) to win back the division and compete deep into the postseason……again.
    Being “favored” and actually doing it are two different things.
    20 straight years of being the preseason super bowl favorites.
    And the Vikings are called chokers by Gumby fans all the time.

  3. Yikes, same people with new titles. I see this team spiraling down to the way they were in the 70’s and 80’s. Rodgers has a few years left and then it will hit rock bottom.

  4. Mark Murphy has somehow given himself complete authority over everything. How the Packers’ BOD has given their blessing to this is beyond me but now if things do not improve in the next couple of years it will be easy to see where the problem is.

  5. It sounds to me that while the Packers may be calling him the GM, Brian Gutekunst is little more than what other teams would call the Director of Player Personnel. Which could be significant if some other team wants to poach him while he is still under contract- If they offer him a TRUE GM position, he could theoretically leave without permission because it would be considered a promotion.

  6. Old Packers
    New Packers

    It doesn’t matter, it’s all about #12 — he is that good at football.
    Football, State Farm commercials, and causing family rifts are what Aaron Rodgers does best.

    If he stays healthy none of these changes happen.

  7. Same people? New titles? Can you read? Capers is gone, Thompson is gone. They kept the best of the rest. The Packers don’t need to start from scratch any more than the Vikings do. Downward demise………you wish.

  8. screamingyellowzonkers says:
    February 3, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    …And the Vikings are called chokers by Gumby fans all the time.

    That’s just because they are.

  9. Here is the theory behind this, Murphy didn’t want to stick his new GM with a coach that he might fire so they made McCarthy report directly to Murphy. If 2018 doesn’t bring marked improvement, it will be on Murphy to fire McCarthy and then they can go back to the GM getting his own coach.

  10. Picture a car with Mark Murphy driving, and Gutekunst, Ball, and McCarthy fighting for more room from each other in the back seat.

  11. consciousccode says:
    February 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    Being a preseason Super Bowl favorite counts for nothing. Absolutely nothing.
    And being a preseason #32 Powerrank favorite counts for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Go Browns.

  12. I dont understand the New Green Bay Packers.
    Maybe the Re-Arranged Green Bay Packers.

    Thompson is still a top advisor, Gutekunst was the head director of scouting and player personnel which is what got them in this problem in the first place. Pettine brings in a new philosophy that doesn’t match the current defense personell and Philbin was the coordinator when their offense stalled in the postseason anyway.

    Nothing much has changed, dont fool yourself that a healthy 35 old Rodgers will fix everything. Its the same old Packers. Good enough just to make it to the playoffs.

    They could end up clearing house eventually, because they sure didnt this time. Just re-arranged titles at the green bay country club.

  13. screamingyellowzonkers says:
    February 3, 2018 at 12:29 pm
    All that really happened was further masking of the problem.
    They kept the same people and handed out new titles/duties.


    The Packers have notched just 3 losing seasons in the past 26 years, while hoisting the Lombardi trophy twice.
    And they’d just snapped a streak of 8 consecutive post season appearances.
    I’m quite sure some teams would love that kind of “problem”, including the team you root for.

    Last season, we lost a Hall of Fame QB for just over 9 games, a significant chunk of the season, and still managed to post a 7-9 record.
    Our backup QB was overmatched and inadequate, obviously an alternative would be preferred.
    Even though some teams would consider his skill set franchise worthy from what they’ve trotted out and exalted in the past.

    With an infusion of a new attitude on defense and some new ideas in the front office, I expect last season to be just an aberration rather than the norm.
    It’s just a subtle shift, but seriously, why mess with success.

    You’ll continue to harp that it’s all just Rodgers, smoke and mirrors, but that just proves my point at how truly ignorant Barney fans are about football.
    Nothing is that simple in a team game that employs 53 men to a roster.
    Every season is different, with a myriad of reasons for a team’s success and failures.
    Green Bay, as an organization, has just been better than most at managing theirs.

  14. Now, Murphy doesn’t have a safety net underneath him to blame for miserable decisions. The HC’s stubbornness created last year’s disappointing results. Does not appear yet that they have been addressed fully.

  15. “We’re Going to the Super Bowl!” Yes you are Mr. Murphy…as a spectator…

    Let Us not forget that Mark Murphy was a Defensive back in 1983 when he gave up 48
    points to Lynn Dickey, and then in the Super Bowl, 38 points to Jim Plunkett.

    48 + 38 = 86/2 = 43 Point AVERAGE. 43 is the number of points the Packer Defense
    gave up for Mr. Starr’s five (5) titles. 0, 7 (Jerry Kramer 9), 12, 10, and 14 = 43.

    44-21 vs Falcons makes Boy Roger 4-3 in his last 7 starts.

    It’s as bad in Green Bay on defense as it was with Starr and Greg…13 YEARS.
    Never won 9 Games. Pathetic.

    Gary and Andy, get rid of Mark “D Back” Murphy. 48, 38, 44. Murphy? You Stink

  16. Patrick Parins says:
    February 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Gary and Andy, get rid of Mark “D Back” Murphy. 48, 38, 44. Murphy? You Stink

    Who are Gary and Andy? Amongst your other trivial nonsense.

  17. Hope the new management scheme works! Looks like Murphy has scooped up the power and establish a bureaucracy under him? I am excited about the new coaching staff! The Packers will be a better team next season. I’d like to hear someone in the organization apologize for the really dumb decision to allow the player protest. Several teams in the NFL have failed because of a complete lack of discipline! Grabbing individual attention has become more important than the success of the team!

  18. Whats not being being said here is teds new job is head of scouting and talent evaluation which means nothing has changed he will still determin draft prospects and free agent class and by making his right hand man russ head of salary cap all the control still resides with them…brian is basically a figure head,remember arod suggested he may wanna move on if russ or ted was gm..thats the real reason all this happened they were affraid arod would leave,rodgers is a money cow he makes them a contender every year…packers fans murphy just trying to fool you.

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