Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Issues Job Warning to Struggling Rookie

A pivotal moment defines a rookie's challenging season.

by Nouman Rasool
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Issues Job Warning to Struggling Rookie
© Stacy Revere/Getty Images

In an atmosphere charged with anticipation at the NFL Combine this Tuesday, Brian Gutekunst, the Green Bay Packers' General Manager, didn't mince words about the performance expectations for the team's recent draft selections.

Among the topics Gutekunst discussed was the noticeable struggle of rookie kicker Anders Carlson, a subject that has drawn considerable attention within the organization and among fans alike. "Anders Carlson will need to show marked improvement if he wishes to continue with us," Gutekunst stated, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

His remarks, as reported by Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, underscore the Packers' dwindling patience with the 2023 draft pick.

Carlson's Costly Miss

Carlson's rookie season was marred by a critical misfire that has since haunted his tenure with the team.

The spotlight was thrust upon him following a missed 41-yard field goal during the fourth quarter of the Packers' Divisional Round defeat against the San Francisco 49ers a game that was lost by a mere three points. This blunder was magnified due to its timing and the high stakes of the playoff context, casting a long shadow over Carlson's contributions to the team.

Despite the Packers' efforts to rally behind their new quarterback, Jordan Love, who has stepped into the void left by Aaron Rodgers, the kicker's postseason error has been a lingering source of critique. Love's ascent within the team contrasts sharply with Carlson's precarious position, especially considering the significant investment in Love's future with the organization.

In response to these challenges, the Packers have brought in Jack Podlesny, a former kicker from Georgia, to provide competition for Carlson during the offseason. This move signals the Packers' intention to critically evaluate every aspect of their special teams unit, underscoring the high stakes of professional football where performance is paramount.

Carlson, who was selected in the sixth round from Auburn, now faces the daunting task of securing his position on the team. Despite a regular season where he successfully completed 27 out of 33 field goal attempts, his inconsistency from longer distances and crucial moments has cast doubt on his reliability.

His performance in the upcoming training camp will be pivotal in determining his future with the Green Bay Packers, as the team looks to refine its roster for the challenges ahead.