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LaFleur Leads a Quiet Revolution with Coaching Staff Changes

Joe Philbin walking off Lambeau Field

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When Mike McCarthy twice resorted to extensive changes in his coaching staff, it was mostly to deflect criticism of himself, not as a means of bettering the team. In almost every case, McCarthy elected to bring in coaches he was comfortable with, not those who constituted a radical change or improvement from the way the outgoing guys operated.

In contrast, Matt LaFleur’s coaching choices are being brought in to do things differently than their predecessors. It’s widely agreed that the Green Bay Packers had become stagnant, predictable and largely uninspired as the McCarthy regime wore on. With most head coaches, this is the rule, not the exception.

Below I’ve listed eleven new coaches who have been brought on board. The list includes the ages of the new men and those they are replacing. A “?” denotes one’s approximate age, as the Packers web site doesn’t give ages its capsule summaries, and Wikipedia does not yet contain a listing for some of the newer coaches.

If an incoming coach is younger than his predecessor, the difference in years is shown as a minus, and if he’s older it’s a plus number. In some cases, those replaced had slightly different titles, as Big Mike started giving a bunch of his people monikers like offensive run game coordinator and defensive pass game coordinator. LaFleur has done away with such gimmickry. One such example is Jim Hostler, a passing game coordinator who left at the end of last season. I’ve also not included the various “quality control” coaches or some other lesser assistant coaches or coordinators.

Head Coach – In: Matt LaFleur (39); Out: Mike McCarthy (55); Difference: -16

Off. Coordinator – In: Nathaniel Hackett (39); Out: Joe Philbin (57); Difference: – 18

QB Coach – In: Luke Getsy (34); Out: Frank Cignetti Jr. (53); Difference: -19

Off. Line Coach – In: Adam Stenovich (35); Out: James Campen (54); Difference: -19

Asst. OL Coach – In: Luke Butkus (39); Out: Jeff Blasko (36?); Difference: +3

WR Coach In: Alvis Whitted (44); Out: David Raih (38); Difference: +6

TE Coach – In: Justin Outten (34?); Out: Brian Angelichio (46); Difference: -12

DB Coach – In: Jason Simmons (42); Out: Joe Whitt, Jr. (40); Difference: +2

OLB Coach – In: Mike Smith (36?); Out: Winston Moss (53); Difference: -17

ILB Coach – Kirk Olivadotti (45); Out: Patrick Graham (40); Difference: +5

Special Teams Coordinator – In: Shawn Mennenga (46); Out: Ron Zook (64); Difference: -18

Coaches who retained their jobs include: Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine (52); DL Coach Jerry Montgomery (39); RB Coach Ben Sirmans (49); Assistant DB Coach Ryan Downard (30?); and Assistant ST Coach Maurice Drayton (43?).

Departing coaches who worked under McCarthy for several years include: Winston Moss and James Campen (all 13 years), Joes Whitt, Jr. (11), Joe Philbin (7), and Ron Zook (5).

Of the eleven replacements, seven are younger than their predecessors, with six of them being 16 or more years younger. Four are older, but none is more than six years older than the prior coach. The biggest disparity is that of Shawn Mennenga, the special teams coach, who is 34 years younger than outgoing Ron Zook. The net age difference of the replacements is 103 years younger.

The Packers’ coaching ranks also experienced some upheaval after the 2017 season, with Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers, Defensive Line Coach Mike Trgovac, Assistant LB Coach Scott McCurley, and Receivers Coach Luke Getsy departing. Getsy’s departure was voluntary, and he has now returned in a different role.

While we won’t right away be able to get a thorough assessment of LaFleur’s new staffers, it’s obvious they tend to be of the same generation as their boss: nine of the ten other newcomers are within six years of the 39-year-old head coach. The exception, Shawn Mennenga, is nine years younger.

Mike Pettine, at age 52, becomes the old man of the coaching staff.

 

EDIT: Updated Shawn Mennenga’s Age

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Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”

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7 Comments

  1. Cheese February 25, 2019

    While I agree that the coaching staff as a whole is a lot younger than their predecessors, there is absolutely no way Shawn Mennenga is 30 years old. Have you saw a picture of him? He looks at least 50.

    Reply
    1. PF4L February 25, 2019

      9 days before they signed Mennenga, they offered the job to Darren Rizzi during his visit here, but Rizzi viewed the offer as too low (GEE). So sometime after Rizzi left they apparently met his number. Where he then told them he was no longer interested.

      Seems like of lot of coaching hires start with, “well he’s gone, who’s next on our list?”

      Murphy is doing a fine job (in large and in charge). Stay the course Murph, everything will work out fine. I’ll even help you pack.

      And these are….THE DAYS OF OUR PACKERS.

      1. Cheese February 25, 2019

        Isn’t it funny that the front office still expects potential coaches and players to give them a hometown discount so they can have the opportunity to coach/play with Rodgers, like he’s single handedly going to win them a Super Bowl? That, or Murphy thinks he can lowball people depending on the number of times he throws around the words tradition and championships.

        1. PF4L February 26, 2019

          Yes Sir….I think i could write a book about all the “funny” shit about this team.

          Of course i’m exaggerating, but could you imagine how much dirt is being kept
          a secret (in house) by this team? Someone inside could write a book i’m sure.

          But as a fan…i’m besides myself, i’m just giddy with anticipation for this season. Never before have i ever been so excited. I feel blessed that we have goals once again because Murphy took charge of this team. Goals like….maybe making the playoffs. As a fan, if the Packers win their first 4 games, yep…i’ll be saving my money for Super Bowl tickets to watch my green and gold. I’m no fool.

          For those “know it all’s” who said years ago this team was in decline…..you thought you were so much smarter than the rest of us….. didn’t you?

          Now look at this team bitches!…….Goals!!

  2. MJ February 26, 2019

    Before Rodgers signed his mega deal, offering guys to give us a discount to play with one of the greatest ever might have made sense, especially with the young WRs trying to make a name for themselves. Today, that offer sounds more like “would you like to give us a discount, so we can give Rodgers all of his 30M?”. “But look, we won Superbowls… some time ago… join the glorious Green and Gold, the top contender”. Non-QB pmayers have shorter lifespans, and a higher risk that their careers be terminated by an unfortunate injury, so why is it on them to help the team remain below the cap, when it’s far from clear that they will have another shot at a lucrative deal? Of course, the topic is more nuanced, and there are also instances where guys demanded max contracts, to a fault, like Cobb. Bahktiari, in the contrary, set a good example. He took 10M or so a year, which is a nice chunk of money. The team didn’t lowball him with 3M, which would have been disrespectful. But he also didn’t say stuff like “I wanna be the highest paid LT, nah, nah, I want 18M”. Sam Shields and Davante Adams were guys that at the time I felt they were nickel-and-diming the Packers, but both ended up performing up to par, as injuries in Shields case were not a foreseeable caveat, but he played well while healthy. And then again, before the Rams brought him back, his contract with the Packers was going to be his first and last big paycheck, so looking back, I can’t complete fault him for taking the money.

    Reply
  3. CoachJV February 26, 2019

    No way Shawn Mennenga is 30 years old… He coached LB’s at Western Kentucky University in 1997. So that would mean he’s been coaching football since he was 8 years old???

    I usually love your articles, but C’mon Man…

    Reply
  4. Deepsky March 1, 2019

    They said Bart Starr’s problem was that he was too young to take over the coaching job for the Packers, too inexperienced, and yet he was two years older than LaFleur is now taking over for the Packers.

    Reply

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