LaFleur Leads a Quiet Revolution with Coaching Staff Changes
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