‘Our focus was on Detroit’: Packers coach reacts to trade deadline
To no one’s surprise, the Green Bay Packers failed to make a single move ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.
General manager Brian Gutekunst wasn’t made available to the media, leaving head coach Matt LaFleur to answer for the team’s lack of involvement on Wednesday.
“I’ll be honest, when I’m up there, it’s what are we doing to put our team in the best position possible to go gameplan and put our guys in a spot to go execute and go beat a team that we know is going to give us everything they can,” LaFleur said.
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As the head coach, it is not LaFleur’s responsibility to sign and trade players. His focus is to work with what he has to prepare for the next opponent. Of course, it’s tough to blame the media for pressing LaFleur on the team’s failure to strike a deal before the deadline, especially when LaFleur is in direct contact with the general manager. But those discussions didn’t even take place, according to LaFleur.
“We didn’t even get into that,” he said. “Our focus was on Detroit.”
So, the only one who has answers for what transpired on Tuesday won’t be heard from until the end of the season. That is when Gutekunst will hold his final press conference before heading into the offseason, which will most likely be sooner rather than later unless the Packers can turn around their disappointing season.
Obviously, coaching and player performance has played a role in Green Bay’s recent downfall, but the general manager could have done something to spark a team in need of juice.
The Packers were reportedly close to trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool before the Chicago Bears swooped in and nabbed him for a second-round pick. But outside of Claypool, Green Bay wasn’t in the mix for anyone else, meaning a second-year receiver is the only one who maybe could have helped this 3-5 roster.
For now, Gutekunst will remain in the shadows while other general managers around the league are willing to talk about the moves they made. On Wednesday, Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane said the team had inquired about running back Christian McCaffrey before he was traded to San Francisco. Even though the Bills missed on their first choice, they still added a talented running back in Nyheim Hines to their 6-1 roster.
Meanwhile, the Packers are in the midst of a four-game losing streak after falling to a Bills team that is still getting better. Gutekunst will have to provide answers eventually, but it is unfair to have LaFleur take the punches in the meantime.