Gutekunst Not Focused Solely on 49ers

Bill Huber

INDIANAPOLIS – The Green Bay Packers went 0-2 against the San Francisco 49ers and 14-2 against everybody else in Year 1 under coach Matt LaFleur.

One way for general manager Brian Gutekunst to go about his business would be to place his personnel focus on beating the 49ers, who smashed the Packers in the regular season and again in the NFC Championship Game. After all, the Packers proved they can take care of business against the rest of the league, with a 6-0 sweep through the NFC North, a playoff win against Seattle and a win at Dallas.

That tunnel-vision approach is not how Gutekunst is going to build his roster.

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“No, we work on us. I don’t think you can tailor it to any one team,” Gutekunst said on Friday. “I think if anything, you lean more toward your division. Mostly, it’s about your team and trying to improve your team from within. Because every year is different. What San Francisco was this year, it could be somebody else next year and it could be completely different. You have to be well-rounded and have to be able to win games different ways. To me, that’s how you look at it.”

Speaking at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Gutekunst reiterated that stance.

The truth is, Gutekunst doesn’t necessarily have to focus on the 49ers, who will host the Packers again in 2020. The Niners showed the Packers need more speed at linebacker; a fast linebacker would pay dividends in every game. So would an impact defensive lineman. In both games, Green Bay's offense was overwhelmed by the Niners' powerful defense. The Chiefs were able to rally past the 49ers in the Super Bowl because of their deep, explosive set of skill-position players. Seemingly ever week was a struggle for Green Bay’s offense because it lacked explosive playmakers other than receiver Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones.

“I think all you guys who have been around the NFL for a length of time, it’s year to year,” Gutekunst said. “There’s probably a lot less carryover than people think that there is from year to year. So, the challenges that we’re going to face this year are really unknown, and I think the way I go about it – I think the way Matt goes about it – we’re not looking to catch any particular team. I think we’re trying to build a football club and develop a club that can kind of withstand whatever storms come our way. We always start with the division and then work beyond that. I think if you focus too much on that, you’re going to miss things.”

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