Green Bay Packers: 7 Telling Quotes From Recent Zoom Calls

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 during the first half against the Oakland Raiders in the game at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with Aaron Rodgers #12 during the first half against the Oakland Raiders in the game at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Several members of the Green Bay Packers have been on Zoom calls with reporters recently, here are seven telling quotes from the conversations.

Although it’s a bit unusual, to say the least, NFL training camps are underway, and the Green Bay Packers are back at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. In an attempt to keep some kind of normalcy during these far from normal times, several members of the organization have been on Zoom calls with the local media members over the last few days.

So far, we’ve heard from Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur twice, Aaron Rodgers, Kenny Clark, and Davante Adams. While a lot of topics were covered, these are some of the more important quotes from the interviews.

No news on Tramon Williams

One move that many Green Bay Packers’ fans assumed would take place this offseason was the re-signing of Tramon Williams to help provide some added depth at the cornerback position. However, Williams still remains a free agent, and when Gutey was asked about him, he had “no updates” on the matter.

The Green Bay cornerback room is loaded with talent, but they are relatively inexperienced as well. While I certainly see the value in having a veteran presence like Tramon available as an insurance policy in case someone doesn’t pan out, or injuries occur, it would appear that the Packers are sticking with their current group.

Perhaps they’ll get through training camp and see where they stand at the position, but for now, it doesn’t look like Williams will be back.

The right side of OL is wide open

We know that the left side of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line could be the best in football, but the right side comes with quite a few question marks, and LaFleur says that “nothing is set in stone.”

Although Rick Wagner is the presumed starter at tackle, Gutekunst would say that “Billy Turner gives us a lot of confidence that he can go out there and play tackle if needed.” He would also specifically mention Alex Light and Yosh Nijman as well.

Meanwhile, at right guard, it is far from a slam dunk that Turner will be the starter with Lane Taylor now fully healthy. As expected, LaFleur is happy to have Taylor back and told reporters that he is an “athletic, experienced player, and there is no substitute for that, especially with what we are experiencing now.”

In each conversation with LaFleur, the right side of the offensive line came up, and in both instances, it was made clear that there is still plenty to be decided.

Packers really missed Raven Greene in 2019

For a defense that plays out of dime coverage more than any other team in the NFL, Raven Greene, as the hybrid linebacker, plays an important role for the Green Bay Packers. Down in the box, he can provide added coverage ability alongside the linebacker, while also being physical enough to help against the run as well.

Last season, Greene would play just a game and a half before ending up on IR, and in the many games that followed, it was evident that his presence was missed. Against both the run and the pass, the Green Bay Packers were exposed over the middle of the field last season. And while I’m not saying that if Greene was available that still wouldn’t have been an issue, I am saying it certainly would have been improved.

For someone who only has one start over his two-year career, Greene is a valued member of this defense, and that was evident when LaFleur was asked about him:

"“That was definitely a big loss. Raven is a very versatile player. Whether it’s at dime linebacker or, you know, in the safety position, we’ve got a lot of confidence in him and his ability to help communication on the back end, play his responsibilities to the best of his level. We’re really looking forward to seeing what he can put together this season.”"

Gutey feels no added pressure to add a WR

The wide receiver position has been a hot topic of conversation this offseason, and the one significant addition that the Green Bay Packers made was Devin Funchess. However, Funchess has decided to opt-out of the season, leaving the Packers with essentially the same group that they had in 2019.

This has many fans worried, but you know who isn’t worried? Brian Gutekunst. When asked by reporters about feeling the need to address the wide receiver position now that they no longer have Funchess, Gutey expressed that he doesn’t feel any added pressure.

Although the Packers’ wide receiver unit did underwhelm in 2019, they do have Davante Adams and several options who have had NFL success, albeit a small sample size. Couple that with LaFleur’s offense that will be running more two and three-receiver sets along with getting the running backs and tight ends more involved in the passing game, and I can understand why Gutekunst doesn’t have the same urgency that most do.

As I’ve written about recently, I do believe there is value in signing Taylor Gabriel, but much like the cornerback room, it appears that the Packers are rolling with their current group of receivers.

Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers, and the young receivers

During Davante Adams’ interview, he was asked what the biggest difference was for him after his first few seasons. And while he mentioned that his game had developed, the most significant difference was his connection with Aaron Rodgers:

"“The camaraderie and Aaron Rodgers, that’s when I started to really feel a true connection between us. Obviously, it’s not something that is built overnight.”"

As Adams mentions, this kind of rapport doesn’t happen easily, and as we’ve seen in the past, not every receiver is going to develop this connection with QB1. But for a receiver group with three key players – Lazard, Valdes-Scantling, and St. Brown – all entering their third NFL seasons, perhaps the continuity that they’ve developed with Rodgers propels them to a big jump in production.

Now, it’s certainly not going to happen for all three players, but if even one of them makes that Year 3 leap, this offense is going to benefit greatly. We already started to see the Rodgers and Lazard connection create some special moments in 2019.

A Productive Jace Sternberger is Key

In recent years the Green Bay Packers have been able to get by with inconsistent tight end play, but under LaFleur, that can no longer be the case. Tight ends are much more involved in the passing game and more two tight end sets are going to be the norm here in Green Bay.

This means that for this Packer offense to truly be effective, a productive Jace Sternberger is a must. And Gutey certainly recognizes this as he told reporters that the Packers are “depending on Jace to be a big part of what we’re doing this season.”

Keke will be an important player

With the only major additions to the defensive front being Treyvon Hester and Jamal Davis, the Green Bay Packers are really banking on internal development to help this run defense improve.

The hope is that Dean Lowry can bounce back, Tyler Lancaster can be more consistent, Adams can put it together, and who knows, maybe Hester or Davis hits. However, there’s one more player who could perhaps have the biggest impact of the bunch, and that is Kingsley Keke.

Keke was used sparingly during his rookie season but flashed as both a pass-rusher and a run defender, and Kenny Clark expects him to be a big part of the defensive plan this season:

"“A guy that has a lot of potential,” Clark said during a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “I think he has a lot of potential to be a great rusher too. Not only can he stop the run but he can be a really good rusher. He’s really athletic. Has a lot of ability.”"

Clark would go on to add:

"“I’m not going to sit here and hype him up and stuff, but I want all the guys to come in and be ready to work and do their part and just make the defensive line better,” Clark said. “I think Keke is going to be a huge part of the plan of doing that.”"

Aaron Rodgers is done with hypotheticals

With the selection of Jordan Love in the draft, it became evident that Aaron Rodgers is more likely to finish his career elsewhere. For Packer fans, it’s a sad realization, but it’s also reality.

Throughout the offseason, any appearances that Rodgers has made on shows he has addressed these questions, and he has addressed them genuinely. By now it’s pretty clear where he stands on the matter, yet during his Zoom call, he was asked about finishing his career in Green Bay again and pointed out that he does not like dealing with hypotheticals (via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic):

"“There’s been a lot of hypothetical questions on here,” Rodgers said when asked again about potentially finishing his career elsewhere. “I’m not always a huge fan of guessing those things. But obviously I’ve said that before. I think if I retire on the team’s timeline, then all is well. If they’re looking to move on before I’m done playing, there becomes an impasse at that point. I can control my play and my performance and my approach and my leadership, but at some point, there’s other factors involved.“It’s what I said to you guys Day 1 when we talked about this, and that’s what I said to Kyle. That’s the facts to me at this point.”"

Next. Keke will be a "Huge Part of the Plan". dark

At this point, I can’t really blame him for being tired of the same few questions over and over again. While I realize it’s a huge story, he’s already given his thoughts on the matter three or four times this offseason. Let’s let it be.