Oh my, have you seen how many of the Packers faithful, egged on by some skeptics in the mainstream media, are on edge over the Matt LaFleur hiring? Is the guy ready? Should we have picked someone with prior head coaching experience? Will Rodgers respect a guy who’s only four year older than himself?
Well, for all of the risk-adverse crowd out there, my advice is to relax: the Packers not only made the right choice, but they were damn lucky that LaFleur was available. His rise in the league has been ten years of pure ascendancy. He’s planned and prepared the entire time for this eventuality.
As Mark Murphy made clear in his transparent press announcement, Matt was the clear and unanimous choice of himself, Brian Gutekunst, and Russ Bell. The council of nine current team players representing the various positions was also strongly in his favor.
Some fans were hoping for someone with maybe ten years of head coaching success and a few Super Bowl appearances. Those few coaches are already gainfully employed. Almost every new head coach hiring involves an element of risk. But LaFleur has some big-time supporters in a couple of renowned head coaches who’ve worked side by side with him on multiple teams.
Kyle Shanahan is acknowledged as an NFL offensive master mind. He first met up with Matt when both were assistant coaches for the Redskins from 2010 through 2013. In 2012 as quarterbacks coach, Matt helped rookie QB Robert Griffin III earn a Pro Bowl berth and be named NFL offensive rookie of the year.
When Shanahan moved on to be Offensive Coordinator of the Falcons in 2015 and 2016, the Falcons went out and got LaFleur to again be the Quarterbacks coach. That led to QB Matt Ryan being named the NFL’s 2016 MVP. He completed 69.9 percent of his passes, threw for 38 touchdowns, had only seven interceptions, and compiled a passer rating of 117.1 – that’s in the vicinity of Aaron Rodgers’ all-time annual QB rating of 122.5. Shanahan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016.
When LaFleur joined the Rams in 2017, Shanahan said:
“They’re getting a hell of a coach. Matt understands the game. He played college quarterback. He knows a lot about that position. He knows the run game, he knows the pass game, He knows how to tie them together”
When LaFleur was named Offensive Coordinator by the Rams in 2017, Shanahan commented that Lafleur had been “ready for a while” for such a role.”
Sean McVay, who was named NFL Coach of the Year in his rookie season of 2017, first got to know Matt in 2012, when both were assistant coaches for the Redskins. He eagerly brought Matt on board as Offensive Coordinator when he was named head coach in Los Angeles. Matt helped QB Jared Goff go from a 63.6 passer rating in his rookie year to a 101.5 rating in 2017. Along the way Goff threw for 28 touchdowns while throwing only seven interceptions.
When McVay heard that Matt was named head coach of the Packers, he exulted:
“That’s awesome. . .Matt’s obviously, he’s one of my closest friends. So to see that for him you couldn’t be more excited. He’s a great football coach. He’s got a great understanding from offensive football. . .He’s such a great guy. He cares about people He’s going to be honest in his communication. He’s going to be invested in working hard in trying to help put guys in great spots.”
In 2016, the Rams were ranked 32nd in total offensive yardage. Under McVay and LaFleur they zoomed up to tenth in 2017, and in 2018 McVay has them ranked second – just under Kansas City and over 800 yards ahead of the Packers.
So, even if you are less than confident about the Packers’ current management triumvirate, you can take the glowing words of Shanahan and McVay to heart. They are currently among the smartest – and most successful – offensive minds in pro football. The two are intimately aware of Matt’s abilities, and they flat out love the guy!
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To commenters: Just realized a lot of comments were incorrectly getting caught in the spam filter. I just approved them all. Comments that contain URL links sometimes trigger that filter.
I agree with the article, let’s wait and see. I am liking this hire more as time goes buy. His wife is quite nice as well! Doesn’t hurt.
There’s never been a coach alive that could win with the lack of talent put on the field over the past 10 years by old Teddy and the multitude of injuries to key players we seem to endure every year. New GM, some sensible FA plug ins, new strength and condotioning team, a draft that produces impact players like other teams for a change (Alexander looks like one) and a coach (and staff) with some offensive imagination. Plug the O line, get a pass rush and a safety with no resemblance to the A Hah, Hah Hah and keep Rodgers on his feet. And we’ll be back. Problem right now is simple. Minimum of talent, one man show and shitty coaching. Glad it’s all been exposed before it was too late. I’ve been on the white haired fruitcakes case since back when he passed on the like of Moss and Lynch. About fucking time he was booted out.
Draft and develop garbage and it’s gonna catch up to you. Better days ahead….couldn’t possibly be worse than last year. And, oh Kiser as backup QB is frightening. Time to look for the real deal 3-4 years down the road
I remember well Teddy thinking a 3rd rd pick was to much for Lynch. Same shit with Moss. I was done with that SOB after that. All the angst in GB now can all be traced back to one of the most inept GMs in the history of football. Rogers fell into his lap and if truth be told, that was more of a stick it to Favre than a well thought out genius pick.
Idk man…..i give credit to Ted for that pick, he was available and he took him. Something a lot of GM’s discovered they should have done years later. So when it came right down to it, Ted was the only GM to do it.You could say Rodgers fell in Teds lap, but Rodgers fell into a lot of other teams laps, and they declined.
I also don’t think he did it to spite Favre. Favre was i think 35 years old, and constantly talked about retirement annually At the time, Ted and Favre didn’t even know each other that well. But a good GM doesn’t wait until after a franchise QB retires, before he replaces him.
Ted was a good GM at that time. and you have to give credit when it’s deserved.
You hated Ted and what he did to Favre, but don’t be surprised when Gutekunst and Murphy trade away Rodgers after another losing season and declining skills.
BOBBYD has it correct, and i’d add a cornerback, and a receiver with experience. Cobb is probably gone, not that it matters. But you can’t operate a passing offense with a leaking O line. 1 good receiver, an injured Allison, 5th and 6th round rookies, and a 13 million dollar man who runs like he’s in quick sand, top that with 2 free agent veteran tight ends who don’t do much except collect a paycheck.
The real pressure isn’t on LaFleur, Rodgers or Pettine. The real pressure is on Gute and Murphy. Gute needs to find players anyway he can, right now. He doesn’t have anymore mulligans (he used it his first season).
Murphy…citing his new control and power trip will be sitting waist deep in shit next off season if …A) Rodgers gets injured…B) The Packers don’t make the playoffs, or get booted quickly.
Gutes job was(is) enormous as i have said in the past, and he didn’t help himself much last year as far as repairing the trail of failure that Ted and Murphy left behind. (yea, Murphy is responsible also).
Player acquisition rules the day as it did last season at this time. It doesn’t matter who the coach is, def coordinator, or off. coordinator is if you don’t have talent on the field.
Now…since they have some free time before the draft and free agency…does anyone from the Packers want to get back the $324,000 they gifted Cole Madison? You busy Russ?
I do think this year they will actually target starting caliber FAs this year instead of retreads FAs. I feel like they have to now. They dont want to put LaFleur out there with shit. And they finally should know now that Rodgers at this stage cant do it by himself anymore. I look for Gute to open checkbook for at least two big name FAs who still have careers ahead of them.
Anybody see this Murphy sit down interview with Mcccaren? Murphy says on the Tuesday after the Arizona game that his mother asked him if it was true he was going to hire LaFleur as the HC? First off Murphy is full of shit and that’s a lie. No way in hell his mom said that at that time. LaFleur name was never mentioned in coaching circles at all anywhere until the Packers contacted him as a last resort like two weeks ago. Murphy also said she asked him when he was going to fix the pass rush. Also a lie and another story made up by Murphy. I hate it when he tries to dumb himself down to the fan base in interviews when he knows his ass is on the line. Its his way of deflecting pressure off himself but it just makes him look even stupider.
So, what you are saying is for 2019 we can expect “The Mark Murphy Show” instead of “The Matt LaFleur Show”? The fans can ask Murphy tough questions, like why they raised the ticket price to use the sled hill. That new power structure sure is working out well for Murphy’s ego isn’t it?
There are 2 viewpoints on why prices need to be raised. First i’ll give you the…..Packers version….
Packers version….Prices have to be raised to stay competitive.
PF4L’s version….Prices have to be raised for peace of mind, follow me here…. to enjoy the luxury of paying players high dollar contracts like Mathews, Cobb, Perry, Graham, etc while still guaranteeing themselves a healthy profitable bottom line. also…..because sometimes we need to keep paying executives millions of dollars, even if they pack up and move to Texas. In other words, the Packers don’t want to make him actually come to work. That would be mean.
Also….prices need to be raised in case they fire a coach and they need to keep paying him his 9 million dollar contract he signed in a dark back room.
In closing…the Packers don’t have to worry about being fiscally responsible because they can always guarantee themselves a healthy profitable bottom line by raising prices and profiting off the backs of the Packer fans who go to work everyday for about $50,000 a year. They are the people paying for all the Packer financial irresponsibilities.
Bottled water is going up a dollar next year to pay for the $324,000 they gave to Cole Madison, Hope you don’t mind chipping in.
Seeing the patriots present multiple offensive formations and a wide array of plays to beffudle the Chargers D, I keep wondering if we didn’t miss out on McDaniels. He WAS interested in the Packers’ job, but we took the inexperienced guy instead, knowing that Rodgers may not have many more football years.
This will inevitably be an offensive performance benchmark for LaFleur and his staff.
LaFleur is NOT going to run an offense like he did with Mariotta in Tennessee
He will operate & call hybrid plays ala McVey & Shannahan.
Rodgers will be under center sometimes. There will be lots of motion, misdirection & O-Line movement. We will draft a receiving RB. We will dink-&-dunk then go deep
Shannahan IS the best O-Cord in the NFL he just hasn’t had the ‘tools’ Reid, McVey, Nagy & Payton have now.
You only need working eyes to see the 49ers have the most exciting offensive play calling sheet in the NFL
Great article, Rob. But what the heck does “triumvirate” mean?!?
Murphy, Gutekunst, and Ball = three men holding power = triumvirate.
Murphy, Gutekunst, and Ball = 6-9-1
I agree with Howard for the proper description and PF4L for the CURRENT description regarding the Packer triumvirate . . .
“Should we have picked someone with prior head coaching experience?” Sure because Wolf insisting that’s what he needed after Holmgren left worked out so well. I never understood that move. Wolf hired Holmgren, who had no head coaching experience and that worked out fairly well. Had Wolf elected to promote Andy Reid rather than conduct the 1 year Ray Rhodes experiment, my feeling is Reid gets more out of Favre, and we aren’t subject to the Rhodes and Sherman eras.
I think the Packers will be different offensively simply because Rodgers will be engaged again. My hope for LaFleur is that he is more involved as a head coach and not just an offensive coordinator with a head coaching title. That’s what I’m looking for, the emotion and engagement on the sidelines while the game unfolds. That and adjustments at halftime if not sooner when the game plan is crashing and burning around them. Holmgren and his staff were masters of halftime adjustments.
I like the pick. This is better than knowing we are stuck with what we were stuck with the last 8 years of McCarthy. Realistically, what’s the worst that will happen? LaFleur wastes the rest of Rodgers’ career? Murphy and company did a good enough job of that on their own.
Looking at the coaches that were available, how come guys like John Fox and Lovie Smith didn’t receive any love yet Hue Jackson continues to? I mean if there are people that feel the Packers needed head coaches with experience. I wouldn’t want either of them for the Packers mind you, but both of those coaches had Superbowl appearances on their resumes. Why not include them with Caldwell and Pagano if you are really serious about due diligence? What does Jackson have? Photos of key NFL figures in compromising positions or something? When you look up the definition of enigma, Hue Jackson shows up.
On another note, is anyone else tired of that stupid “We ready” commercial they play seemingly every stinking commercial break?
In other News…James Campen is joining the staff of the Cleveland Browns. As i’ve said before the Browns are on the come up.
I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if the Browns finished with a better record than the Packers next season, just like they did this season.
No matter what Dorsey’s faults may be, he is a very good GM. The Packers really dropped the ball when they had an opportunity to retain Dorsey. Once again, Mark Murphy comes to mind . . . for as much as I railed against Campen, when all was said and done, the O linemen that Campen received were NOT always that good. His good O linemen were often jettisoned for salary-cap, or in Sitton’s case when he pushed back about the horrible play calling, leaving Campen with mostly non-starter’s, rookies and less talented players. In some cases Campen actually “polished a turd”. I’ll give him that. Campen in retrospect was most likely much better than I gave him credit for. Coaching in that clusterfuck of ineptitude had to have been frustrating as hell.
Top to bottom…..Hell yea.