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Veldheer Saved The Days

Brian Gutekunst was named GM of the Packers on January 8, 2018. He’s made over 100 personnel moves since that time – some good and some bad. I’ll be listing his 12 best moves over the course of the next few weeks. Here’s No. 11:

Gutekunst was hired by Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, but he hadn’t shown his mentor’s skill when it came to improving the roster during the regular season. Remember wide receiver Andre Rison, running back Darick Holmes, center Jeff Dellenbach, etc. in the 90s? That changed on Nov. 27, 2019, when Gutekunst claimed veteran offensive tackle Jared Veldheer off waivers. Granted his release by the New England Patriots a few days earlier, the 32-year-old hadn’t played all season after announcing his retirement in late May.

Veldheer spent his first game with the Packers as the top backup at both tackle spots – a role that had previously been filled by the overmatched Alex Light. He didn’t play a single snap. And then came week 17. With a first-round bye on the line versus the Detroit Lions, Veldheer stepped in for an injured Bryan Bulaga in the third quarter and played extremely well in Green Bay’s come-from-behind win. He made some key blocks in the run game, and more importantly, kept pass rushers away from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He repeated that effort two weeks later in a surprise start against the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs. In all, Veldheer allowed only one pressure in 58 dropbacks in the two games.

It’s impossible to know how the Packers would’ve fared had Light been forced to play against Detroit, but it’s fair to think the results would’ve been different. Instead of resting up for the banged-up Seahawks, the Packers could’ve been forced to play the much healthier Minnesota Vikings in the wild card round. That’s how important the right in-season acquisition can be, and it’s why the claiming of Jared Veldheer is on this list.

#12 – Sullivan Surprised In Secondary

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5 Responses “Veldheer Saved The Days”

  1. Bryan Johnson
    06/26/2020 at 2:11 pm

    I didn’t notice any serious decline from RT during the Seattle game. Do you think one of the reasons Turner struggled in that game had anything to do with Bulaga being out?

  2. Michael Rodney
    06/26/2020 at 2:51 pm

    I’m sure it didn’t help, but Turner had plenty of shaky games with Bulaga by his side.

  3. Tom Moshier
    06/26/2020 at 11:18 pm

    What I don’t understand is why Veldheer remains unsigned. I don’t see anyone on the roster who can play tackle. I don’t see Runyan as anything more than a guard. Jenkins is talented enough to get you by. But he’s played guard and they’ll move him back to center next year. And they’ve said no to moving him to tackle. Not sure what the plan is for back up tackle.

  4. Michael Rodney
    06/27/2020 at 12:44 am

    Light was the so-called plan last season, so I assume Gutey has no plan again.

  5. Tom Moshier
    06/27/2020 at 2:18 pm

    And that’s my biggest gripe with Brian Gutekunst. The handling of the RT issue. I have no problem with the Jordan Love selection in round one. But you had Houston tackle Josh Jones still there in the bottom of round 2. I understand the Dillion pick but would have preferred Jones. It could be that Gutekunst saw Jason Spriggs all over again in Josh Jones. At any rate RT will have to be addressed early in next years draft. Let’s hope Wagner stays healthy.

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About Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for close to 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2006. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.