Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Threatens Job of Underperforming Rookie

Packers Interest Taylor Trade

Getty Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.

The Green Bay Packers‘ patience is already wearing thin with one of their 2023 draft picks.

General manager Brian Gutekunst spoke with media members at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, February 27. He touched on a wide range of topics, including the struggles of kicker Anders Carlson.

“There’s gonna need to be a curve of getting better if that’s going to continue,” Gutekunst said, per Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.

Anders Carlson’s Costly Playoff Miss Against 49ers Amplified Packers’ Concerns

The Packers' Anders Carlson kicks a field goal against the 49ers.

GettyGreen Bay Packers kicker Anders Carlson attempts a field goal during an NFC Divisional Round Game against the San Francisco 49ers in January 2024.

Carlson’s most infamous misstep during his rookie campaign came during the Packers’ Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers on the road in January.

The Green Bay kicker missed a 41-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter of a game his team ended up losing by just three points. Quarterback Jordan Love threw two interceptions in that contest, including one on the final offensive snap of the Packers’ playoff run.

However, it is Carlson who carries the stain of “choking” into the offseason, as fans and analysts have lauded Love (rightly so, by the way) as the organization’s next franchise quarterback and a worthy replacement for four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers.

And while Love is now in line for an extension that could be worth $200 million or more, Carlson will enter training camp fighting to keep his job just one year after Green Bay spent a sixth-round pick to draft him out of Auburn.

Packers Signed New Kicker to Compete With Anders Carlson in Offseason

Anders Carlson, Packers

GettyKicker Anders Carlson of the Green Bay Packers.

Fairly or unfairly, his errant boot late against the 49ers is the defining mistake of Carlson’s young career. But it isn’t the only one.

No team can expect any kicker to be perfect, especially in his first run through an NFL schedule, but Carlson came up considerably short of expectations for a kicker who the Packers didn’t just draft but also signed to a four-year contract worth nearly $4 million total.

Carlson finished the 2023 regular season having made 27-of-33 field goal tries. While he was perfect from 39 yards and in, Carlson connected on just 50% of his attempts from 40-49 yards (4-of-8) and 60% on kicks from 50-plus yards (3-of-5), per Pro Football Reference. He also missed five extra points in 39 tries over the course of the year.

It is reasonable to assume that Green Bay’s faith in Carlson had deteriorated before the playoffs began considering his regular-season performance.

However, Tom Rinaldi of FOX Sports offered an in-game report immediately after Carlson missed the fourth-quarter field goal in San Francisco that confirmed concern in the kicker’s consistency on the part of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.

“When we talked to the head coach Matt LaFleur about this, he basically said, ‘When he goes out there, I just pray,'” Rinaldi said.

LaFleur later criticized Rinaldi’s report and claimed those words were not presented in the appropriate context.

But not long after, the Packers signed former Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny, who will compete with Carlson this offseason for his starting job. Green Bay will presumably cut the loser of that competition at some point this summer.

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