After years of being an automatic NFC Super Bowl contender, Green Bay was exposed badly last season. The Packers finished 7-9 and in third place in the NFC North last season. Losing Aaron Rodgers again was a tremendous blow, but only provided the realization that many Green Bay fans and maybe most in the organization did want to face.
The Packers with or without Rodgers were lacking in talent and that was brought to light with late season wins against teams like Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Rodgers was the AX deodorant that made everything look and smell better.
With Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota on the rise, Green Bay had the look of fading franchise whose window was about to close. The comparisons between them and Seattle being in the same situation seemed real and possibly at best the Pack might be a wild card club.
But this offseason brought change as Ted Thompson retired or shown the door depending on what you want to believe. Thompson was always a skillful drafter (1 thru 7) and talent-assembler, but he’d missed on various players the last few years and did not believe in big free agent signings or trades, which frustrated head coach Mike McCarthy.
Enter little known Brian Gutekunst to take over as GM and nobody quite knew what to think. Gutekunst did not play it safe and dip his toe in the green and gold water. He dived right in making moves like signing TE Jimmy Graham and DE Muhammad Wilkerson and cutting Jordy Nelson.