Packers XLV

Packers Pounce on LaFleur.

Posted January 8th, 2019 @ 02:01pm

Like most Packer fans, I know very little about Matt LaFleur. I've never heard the guy speak. First time I ever heard his name was this time last year, when he interviewed for head coaching jobs and landed in Tennessee as the OC.

Despite this lack of knowledge about the guy, I'm intrigued by his background, who he's learned from and what he might bring to the Packers offense and more specifically, to Aaron Rodgers. And I can't wait to hear him lay out his vision for this organization.

The Packers' braintrust interviewed ten men for the head coaching job, most were former head coaches, the others were current offensive coordinators. They wrapped up their interviews on Sunday and offered LaFleur on Monday. That's not how these things typically go. Usually, a team will pare its list down to three or four and then bring them back for a second round of interviews.

Instead, the Packers pounced. Clearly, they'd heard enough and were bowled over by their meeting and interview with LaFleur. That's exactly what I'd hoped would happen. The betting money said Josh McDaniels was the favorite, pointing to his success working with Tom Brady and his long term ability to keep the Patriots offense fresh. He was the one guy I'd crossed off my list. How he handled the Colts situation last year should stain his prospects of getting another shot, in my opinion. Plus his abrasive, arrogant personality and desire to call all the shots made him the wrong fit in Titletown.

At 39, LaFleur appears ready for this opportunity. He's worked under brilliant offensive minds: Mike and Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. He was the quarterback coach in Washington when RGIII had his best season and in Atlanta when Matty Ice won the MVP. He ran the Rams offense in 2017 when they emerged as a contender in the NFC.

And then there is this past season, when he called plays for the first time and handled everything on the offensive side of the ball for the Titans' new defensive-minded head coach Mike Vrabel. Viking fans and other Packer haters will mock his results, as his team finished near the bottom statistically in most offensive statistics.

Let's dig a little deeper: in the season opener, Marcus Mariota suffered a nerve injury to his throwing hand that would affect him all season and they lost their best pass catcher for the year in tight end Delanie Walker. Now, name a Titans wide receiver. Right, not much talent there. As the season wore on, he changed the team's look to one that featured Derrick Henry, and the former Bama back who had been mediocre for his first two and a half seasons, suddenly looked like a top five back in the last month of the season. The Titans almost made the playoffs, despite being led by Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.

Many football fans scoffed when Ted Thompson plucked the 49ers offensive coordinator, some obscure guy named Mike McCarthy, after his offense had finished 30th in the league.  That worked out okay.

There are reports surfacing that LaFleur plans to keep Mike Pettine around to run the defense--that's precisely what I had hoped would happen. The last thing this team needs right now is to completely clean house and start over. Pettine got off to a strong start in his first year on the job, getting buy-in from the players and showing improvement on the field, despite a rash of injuries that cost him his best players for a good chunk of the season. With re-enforcements coming in the offseason, primarily at outside linebacker and safety, the defense is trending in the right direction.

Then there is Rodgers, who we are told is on board with LaFleur's selection. And ultimately, the new coach will be measured by how he works with the future Hall of Famer.  There is work to be done on that side of the roster as well, on the offensive line, at tight end and maybe at wide receiver.

And LaFleur will get extra time, as all new head coaches do, to work with the players and implementing his new system, one that should get Rodgers excited and invigorated, something he desperately needs--we all witnessed his body language on the field this past season. He needs a reboot and LaFleur is charged with sparking it.

So the Pack has its man and now we'll hear him talk about the culture he's looking to build in Green Bay. The Michigan native has the backing of a lot of players who have endorsed him on Twitter--guys like Joe Thomas and yes, Kirk Cousins. Mark Murphy has put his job on the line with this hire--entrusting LaFleur with getting the most out of Rodgers' golden years.

Let's hope the results are golden.

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Comments (23):

I hear you , Larry. I've been watching this staff come together and I can't shake the feeling like every coach is a bit of a stretch. I have not had my confidence inspired. I'm no coaching recruiter, so like you, I guess we will just wait and see.

on February 11th, 2019 at 11:05am

Just viewed the Feb 18th press conference with new HC LaFleur and have some major concerns. He does not seem to have that competitive edginess that successful NFL coaches have. His inexperience is showing through when he talks about the integrity of his assistant coaching hits ....isn’t that a given? On the pro level it is about results...just ask 8 former HCs from the 2018 season. LaFleur seems unsure of himself....almost apologetic....ever remember Lombardi or Holmgren apologize or seem self conscious? LaFleur seems like a great guy to go fishing with or bible study.... but for the ruthless rigor of the surviving the grind of the NFL season and managing the egos of the locker room, he is as green as they come.

on February 18th, 2019 at 07:38pm

well its been a month Dave, had to get this in writing. lol. on last post I said I was not impressed with Lafleur, press conference. but that doesn't mean everything we all know, but it does a lot to me. if he can comes up with new concepts and make things easier for guys to get open and chunk yardage, I will come on here and say I was wrong. I hope I am. just listened to the guy I wanted as O.C. Zac Taylor who went to bengals as head coach. he has what I like, self confidence and just comes across better to me. he seems to have that leader of men look and can believe in him. Lafleur, seems hopefully u will listen to me look. hope I'm wrong as I said. go packers.

on February 7th, 2019 at 12:58pm

Davey I am not impressed with Coach Matt. Not exactly a Lombardi “Winning is the only thing” persona. Maybe this is what is what is required with today’s hypersensitive athlete... but Coac Matt came off as a great guidance counselor type, and maybe an excellent game schemer, but the management of the game and locker room ( game day as well as during the week) is what makes Bellicheck the most successful coach in NFL history. The tangiables become the intangiables... I hope I am wrong. Denver got the prize. Badger Bob

on January 10th, 2019 at 03:37pm

None of the many candidates being mentioned as possibilities really leaped out like , "That's the guy." Everybody had their strengths and positives, their weaknesses and cons and their unknowns. LaFleur seems no more or less than any other possibilities but now that he's the choice we'll just have to give him time and see. He does fit a pattern, though, of successful Packers coaches. Mike McCarthy, Mike Sherman, Mike Holmgren and Vince Lombardi had never been NFL head coaches before their Packers' hire. Lombardi came to Green Bay as "Vince Who?" and was a default pick after the Packers were jilted by their first choice; the head coach at Iowa. Holmgren was a popular pick but only after a flirtation with Bill Parcells. Sherman had only been an assistant on Holmgren's staffs for 3 or 4 years in the NFL. I remember Mark Rosen saying of the McCarthy hire that the Pack had picked their head coach from a milk carton. On the flip side guys that were enthusiastically pursued and hired - Bengtson, Devine, Starr, Gregg , Infante - didn't pan out so well. The one with previous NFL head coaching experience, Ray Rhodes, was one and done. With several interviews done and more scheduled LaFleur must have knocked it out of the park to bring the search to a sudden end at this point. Next issues to watch will be his assembly of a staff and his decision on the future of the Packers' defense: Stay 3-4 or go to 4-3. Those will be as important as what he does to redesign and re-energize the offense.

on January 10th, 2019 at 05:03am

I'm with you Badger Bob, I have been in sales 38 years, and I have to judge what my customers want in 10 to 15 minutes, some like to talk some or a lot. some want me to talk. and I just try and be yourself and give them what they want also . So I think I'm pretty good at 1st impressions . he just doesn't come off as authoritative and my way or the highway guy. if he blew them away, I wonder what the other guys sounded like. Maybe we don't need that now days was long as he can draw up right plays and call them and of course the players execute them. Glad they kept Pettine. he wasn't great , but have to keep some continuity and better players who can run. We need OLB again badly. we will see. I hope they can get Zac Taylor for OC, or some one who works well with him. time will tell ladies and gentleman.

on January 11th, 2019 at 02:05pm

Synner - LaFluff is only going to go as far a Waaron takes him. It's just a matter time before one throws the other under the bus because yore roster sux!

on January 16th, 2019 at 03:58pm

Davey, Would you be in favor of the Pack signing Anthony Barr to play outside LB in their 3-4. Then re-sign CM3 and move him inside?

on January 16th, 2019 at 05:30pm

Max McGee Guy, I've been promoting CM3 to the inside for years. Your plan is good, so it won't happen, but I like the way you dream.

on January 22nd, 2019 at 12:06pm

Grandma death,easy to figure out where your from,what has your beloved franchise done in the last two decades,your right,stick to things you know,the envy is eating away at what’s left of your brain!

on January 8th, 2019 at 01:11pm

It won't help. This roster is so poor that even a storm of yellow flags in your favor won't help. Eeesh!! Your squad is awful.

on January 8th, 2019 at 01:54pm

McDaniels rubbed me the wrong way too. He would have been a scary choice, perhaps brilliant, but also possibly catastrophic. I'm not sure about keeping Pettine. There were plenty of break downs in the last couple of games. I haven't seen enough to say that I like the way to defense plays. I like some of its players. I just can't say that Pettine is getting more out of those players than an average coach would. When someone says Green Bay sucks, do they mean the town or the Packers? Or perhaps they themselves just blow so hard they can't see straight.

on January 8th, 2019 at 02:01pm

So Mariota was injured the first game of the season....and their only pass catcher in Walker was injured beginning of Sept and it took him til the last month of the season to figure out to use Henry....and thats a positive?

on January 8th, 2019 at 02:49pm

Does the performance or lack thereof in “weak 17” give us any pause about Mike Pettines defense? Or was itmerely that we lost 90% of the offense again with Rodgers out?? We gotta score some points with a backup QB and help the other side of the ball but they gave up 31 to the Kittens and made sure nobody would miss Jim Bob Cooter and that is a shameful thing....

on January 8th, 2019 at 03:29pm

Nicely stated Head Cheese. Was refreshing to read after listening to Stephen A Smith go off on ESPN.

on January 8th, 2019 at 05:48pm

abandon all hope

on January 8th, 2019 at 08:27am

A Bears fan and a Lions fan told me to stop by and mock the selection of your new head coach. I told them no.

on January 8th, 2019 at 09:15am

Good job Gluteye, you hastily hired a guy no one else was interested in hiring for a HC job. He literally had no other HC interviews. He'll be trash. The idiots running this organization have loaded up a hair trigger double barrel shit machine gun and the barrel's pointed straight at their own heads. As the saying goes, birds of a shitfeather flock together. Seriously, Rodgers presence on this team pretty much meant the FO had their pick of any candidate and they come up with this Shithawk. Good for the rest of the NFC North I guess...

on January 8th, 2019 at 09:46am

thank you Dave Sinykin.. you write well. i am with you on all of your points. i am just starting to envision Aaron Rodgers being truly motivated again.. with a good draft, Packer Nation may soon be in for a treat: Go Pack, Go!

on January 8th, 2019 at 10:08pm

Stick with Zimmer grandma death,what has he done for you,go shine your trophies stupid mudduck idiot loser!!

on January 8th, 2019 at 11:11am

Uperpackfan - Don't assume things you have no evidence of. Trolling a Packer website does not define me as a Vikings fan. Green Bay sucks and I enjoy that fact. Your beloved franchise has pissed away over 2 decades of HOF quarterbacking. Stick to things you know, like your Winnebago, Old Milwaukee and carnal knowledge of your sister.

on January 8th, 2019 at 11:40am

"his abrasive, and arrogant personality and desire to call all the shots doesn't make him a fit in title town". Wow. Are we talking McDaniels or Rodg? Hard to tell. Well, as you pointed out, it's all about making number 12 happy. He was to bored this last season and maybe this shiny new toy will spark his interest. But, if the injuries and losses start piling up again next year, my guess is Aaron will take his ball and go home and title town will be looking for answers yet again. Losing to the vikings the past couple seasons must have been hard, but now pack faithful will have to swallow the bitter pill of getting stomped by the Bears for the foreseeable future. Oh well, there's always those 13 championships.

on January 9th, 2019 at 12:50am

new sheriff in town, I don't know much about the ol, turner or ss amos, but love the 2 smith pick ups, now , do they take te hockenson with 12th pick or I would still take white or bush the linebackers from LSU or Michigan., I can see them trading down on both picks now. that scares me. take best guy available, Packers making some hay today. Go Packers.

on March 12th, 2019 at 03:31pm

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