Green Bay, Wis. – Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst held a press conference on Wednesday. The leading topic was Tuesday’s trade of cornerback Russell Douglas to Buffalo.
Gutekunst said the Packers did not enter the trade deadline to move players despite a 2-5 record.
“We thought it was in the best interest of the Packers,” Gutekenst said. “You lose a good player in a short period of time. It’s hard. But at the same time, I think it is in our long-term interests. Any time you get a third-round pick, that’s going to be in the 100s, maybe 50 players on your board, that’s something I think we’re going to be very good at. “
“Not only has he had a huge impact on the field, but in the locker room, he’s one of our leaders,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said of Douglas. “There are real relationships that extend beyond the closet, beyond the field. It’s the hard part of business. All you can do is control how you react and react. And, honestly, it’s no different, unfortunately, just like when guys get hurt, you have to adjust, you have to adapt. And, you know, we need men to step up.
The Douglas trade worried players in the locker room.
“I think everybody in the locker room is pretty surprised,” Packers quarterback Jordan Love said. “It’s hard. it hurts. Rasool was a key part of the group. A great leader and a great player. Everyone hates to see him go.
Gutekunst said he still believes in the Packers’ coaching staff and roster, but knows the loss is hard to swallow.
“I was expecting a better result,” Gutekenst said. But the guys are putting in the work. You are doing things the right way. We’ve certainly seen a lot of flashes in practice and in the second half of some games. But the consistency was not there. I want those people to play for free, to get out there and play free and fast and see what happens. There are expectations around here. It’s not fun for anyone when you don’t lose. Everyone was upset. But at the same time, I think no one stopped working and stayed together. “This is important for us.”
Gutekenst said it’s too early to tell until Jordan Love proves he can be the Packers’ long-term quarterback.
“We have 10 games left,” Gutekenst said. “It will be a very important 10 games. I think he did a lot of good things in the way he responded to adversity, how he led the team. We have to get better as a unit, and I expect that to happen over the next 10 games. We’re going through the things we know we’re going to go through. We have a lot of faith in Jordan. We have to play the offense better. It’s hard to judge everyone when it’s not accurate.
One thing is certain. Gutekunst doesn’t want the Packers to use youth as an excuse anymore.
“We’re seven games in,” Gutkunst said. “All that youth stuff is out the window, right? They are professional football players. There are expectations.”
LaFleur is 3-0 against the Los Angeles Rams. Still at 2-5 this season and mired in a four-game losing streak, he’s thinking about Sunday.
“They have an explosive offense,” LaFleur said. “It’s challenging because you’ve got a lot of pieces to throw the ball to. I think they’re doing a better job at home as well.”
LaFleur worked with Rams head coach Sean McVay in Washington and L.A., whom he called “a great guy.”
Lafleur’s younger brother, Mike, is the Rams’ offensive coordinator.
“We’ve been picked up a lot now,” LaFleur said. “Unfortunately, it’s been on the right side of most lately. So we have to try to flip the script this weekend.
Douglas’ departure means an opportunity for rookie cornerback Carrington Valentine, a seventh-round pick out of Kentucky who has flashed in the preseason.
“Rousseau was a mentor,” Valentine said. “I used to sit next to him every day. I was sad to see him go. I learned a lot from him. I appreciate everything. He shouldn’t have done that. We just make the best of every opportunity we have.”
“You better have a short memory, especially in the defensive backfield,” Lafleur said. “You’ve got to play the next game. And I like how he fights, and he just keeps competing. I know he’s not afraid. He’s going to compete.”
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is nursing a thumb injury and did not practice Wednesday. LaFleur said packs should be ready for anything.