Tom Silverstein took a deep dive into the Green Bay Packers’ new management structure, one that has some critics inside and outside the organization saying it could lead to dysfunction.
Some factors that led to the changes by team president Mark Murphy include the declining health of general manager Ted Thompson, the firing of longtime coach Mike McCarthy and a desire to give executive Russ Ball more responsibilities.
The result is a flattened-out management structure that has Ball, the executive vice president and director of football operations, Brian Gutekunst, the second-year general manager, and Matt LaFleur, the new coach, all reporting to Murphy.
That, critics say, is in stark contrast to the top-down structure implemented in the 1990s by then-president Bob Harlan that has led to the franchise’s sustained success.
Following is a timeline events since the 2017 NFL draft:
April 27-29 – Packers general manager Ted Thompson starts to show signs of being ill during the NFL draft.
Jan. 2 – Packers president Mark Murphy announces that Thompson is being removed as general manager.
Jan. 3 – All signs point to Packers vice president of football administration Russ Ball becoming the next general manager.
Jan. 4 – Packers coach Mike McCarthy hints in season-ending news conference that he wants a personnel man to be the next general manager.
Jan. 4-6 – Ball, Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, Packers director-football operations Eliot Wolf and former Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley interview for general manager job.
Jan. 7 – Gutekunst accepts general manager job after being told the management structure was changing.
Jan. 8 – Murphy introduces Gutekunst and reveals he has changed the management structure; Gutekunst named general manager and Russ Ball named executive vice president and director of football operations. Gutekunst, Ball and McCarthy will all report to Murphy.
Dec. 2 – Murphy fires McCarthy.
Dec. 31 – Season ends and search for McCarthy’s replacement starts in earnest. Names such as Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel and Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio emerge.
Jan. 1-4 – Murphy and his search committee interview six candidates, including McDaniel and Packers interim coach Joe Philbin.
Jan. 5 – Packers interview Tennessee offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.
Jan. 6 – Murphy convenes search committee. Most expect LaFleur to be brought in for a second interview, but Murphy decides to hire him.
Jan. 8 – Contract is finalized and LaFleur hire is official.
Jan. 9 – LaFleur is introduced to the media. Gutekunst isn’t initially going to take part in the press conference, but then it’s decided he should. Murphy does most of the talking for the Packers.
Jan. 17 – LaFleur interviews Miami special teams coach Darren Rizzi, a potentially key addition to his staff, but Packers don’t offer what they said they would and ultimately isn’t hired.
Feb. 18 – LaFleur introduces his staff.
July 25 – Training camp starts.