He’s equally fired up about his biggest free-agent acquisition this past offseason, inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, taking the reins of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense in the middle of the field.
“The fun thing was just how quickly he got up to speed and started leading that defense,” Gutekunst said of Kirksey, who spent his first six years in the league with Cleveland. “He’s a very athletic player. He’s obviously proven a lot in this league. He’s healthy and I think he adds a little bit of dynamic ability that maybe we’ve been missing for a little while.”
With the opener at Minnesota now a week away, roster machinations are not necessarily done. The Packers filled out most of their practice squad Sunday night, and some roster spots could still open up on the 53 based on injuries.
Ramsey, inside linebacker Kamal Martin and cornerback Kabion Ento all ended training camp not practicing due to injuries. With new pandemic-related rules for 2020 allowing players to come back from injured reserve in as little as three weeks, and with no limit on the number of players who can return from IR, all the added flexibility could lead to significant roster movement by the end of this week.
“That’s definitely helpful,” Gutekunst said.
So things won’t be slowing down after a busy weekend, but Gutekunst has always claimed roster building is a 24-7-365 endeavor, perhaps this year more than ever.
“At the end of day, it’s tough when you’ve had multiple guys who have had great camps and you’ve got to pare it down,” he said. “That’s not easy. But ultimately that’s my job and you’re always hoping that you’ve got the right 53 guys in there.”