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We’ll See the Real Matt LaFleur in Year Two

Post-Draft, Looking on the Bright Side – Part 4

A few months ago I compiled a list of the first-year new head coaches in the NFL, alongside their win-loss records. I then neglected to finish the piece and send it on to Jason – something I probably do a lot. The first sub-section is a portion of that piece.

NFL Coaches’ Class of 2019

LaFleur’s win percentage is .813. The cumulative percentage of the other six new head coaches is .414. Congratulations to Brian Gutekunst and Mark Murphy for the way the selection and firing processes were conducted, and for choosing the BCA – best coach available. Below are the first-year records for the new Class of 2019 coaches:

Matt LaFleur (GB) – 13-3

Adam Gase (NYJ) – 7-9

Vic Fangio (DEN) – 7-9

Bruce Arians (TB) – 7-9

Kliff Kingsbury (ARI) – 5-10-1

Brian Flores (MIA) – 5-11

Zac Taylor (CIN) – 2-14

One takeaway on these stats is that it’s exceedingly difficult to move to a new team, get to know a new set of players, and establish a whole new program in one year’s time.

Well, Matt LaFleur did it much more successfully than last year’s other six new coaches. Not only that, but it’s reasonable to surmise that Matt will be a better head coach in his second year.

Year 1 vs. Year 2

Here are comparisons with some notable first-time NFL head coaches (Coach – team – years – W-L records):

Kyle Shanahan (49ers) – 2017-8 – 6-10 and 4-12

Jason Garrett (Cowboys) – 2011-2 – 8-8 and 8-8

Mike Tomlin (Steelers) – 2007-8 – 10-6 and 12-4

Mike McCarthy (Packers) – 2006-7 – 8-8 and 13-3

Sean Payton (Saints) 2006-7 – 11-5 and 7-9

Mike Sherman (Packers) – 2000-01 – 9-7 and 12-4

Andy Reid (Eagles) – 1999-2000 – 5-11 and 11-5

Pete Carroll (Patriots) – 1997-8 – 10-6 and 9-7

Tony Dungy (Buccaneers) 1996-7 – 6-10 and 10-6

Mike Holmgren (Packers) – 1992-3 – 9-7 and 9-7

Bill Cowher (Steelers) – 1992-3 – 11-5 and 9-7

Bill Belichick (Browns) – 1991-2 – 6-10 and 7-9

George Seifert (49ers) – 1989-90 – 14-2 and 14-2

Bill Parcells (Giants) 1983-4 – 3-12-1 and 9-7

Bill Walsh (49ers) 1979-80 – 2-14 and 6-10

Vince Lombardi (Packers) – 1959-60 – 7-5 and 8-4

In sum, in their second year of being a head coach, nine of these coaches had a better record than before, three had the same record, and four had worse records. The only coach who started out as hot as LaFleur was the 49ers’ George Seifert, but he inherited a team that under Bill Walsh won the Super Bowl the previous year.

No other coach on the list won more than 11 games in his first year as a head coach. LaFleur’s team improved by seven wins, from 6-9-1 to 13-3 – a feat unmatched by anyone else on the list. That should engender a big dose of optimism out there in Packerland.

Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur on sideline

Aug 8, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks to head coach Matt LaFleur during the game against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The McCarthy-Shanahan Spectrum

If we were to put Mike McCarthy’s offensive scheme on one end of a spectrum and Kyle Shanahan’s on the other end, where should the Packers’ offensive scheme of 2019 be placed? I’d say LaFleur’s scheme was much closer to McCarthy’s than to Shanahan’s (or to that of the Rams’ Sean McVay).

I was disappointed in how little the Packers’ offense appeared to change last season. I was bursting to see more play-action, more options, more players in motion – more deception and creativity in general. I now suspect my desire for such a rapid transformation was unrealistic.

I am willing to accept that Matt was unable to install much of the offense he has in his head in just one year. The bright side is that, unlike in 2019, we are likely to see LaFleur’s fully implemented offensive design and play calling on display in the upcoming season.

Could it be that when Matt executes his full offensive game plan, it will more than make up for what many fans perceive as a less talented roster of players than that of last year?

I’m starting to look forward to the LaFleur 2.0 version of the Packers offense.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Tim May 14, 2020

    The 2019 rookie coaches record correlates strongly with the team’s QB situation, and may not reflect coaching ability. The Shanahan philosophy that Lafleur embraces is actually quite flexible – it can take advantage of a very good QB (Atlanta 2016) or it can cover for a mediocre one (SF 2019). The worry in GB is that Lafleur will fail to maximize Rodgers’ potential in an attempt to set up for a future without him. The 2020 draft seems to ensure that Rodgers’ last years in GB will be wasted.

    1. PF4L May 14, 2020

      “The 2019 rookie coaches record correlates strongly with the team’s QB situation….”
      My thoughts exactly…i’m reading that article thinking how many of those teams have a HOF QB.
      Most first year coaches are there because the team was broken under the old coach.
      Bruce Arians 7-9 record was actually impressive considering his QB had 30 interceptions and 13 fumbles. I mean Rodgers also had 30 interceptions…but you’d have add them all up going back to 2014.

    2. Curly May 17, 2020

      the 2020 draft sets the packers up to vie for home field advantage in the playoffs in the event of a rodgers injury.

      1. PF4L May 18, 2020

  2. PF4L May 14, 2020

    On one hand…everyone was shocked the Packers went 13-3, everyone. But the earths axis and the stars aligned. Mahomes not playing didn’t hurt. Also…without looking and comparing, i’m thinking the defense had better red zone defense. which would explain the 5 point drop PPG. Credit to Pettine and player execution. The trick is to keep it there or lower it. Not regress back to 25 PPG.
    But at the end of the day,,,,You have to give LeFleur credit, he is the head coach. There is no asterisk next to 13-3. We didn’t perform like a 13-3 team in the playoffs but….i live with what i preach, you are…what your record says you are.

  3. CJ May 14, 2020

    Success of the Packers of last 30 years has hinged on two productive hall of fame QB’s. However, very sad Rogers has only one Super Bowl to his credit. This is a direct result of ineffective General Mgr’s and Coaches. The goal here is Super Bowls! Not just winning. We need key players as supporting cast to HOF quarterbacks. This years team will be a step back from last year. Injuries will be a concern. We have given our defense ZERO help at most critical need. If our offense is more effective in Lafleur’s second year, IT DOES NOT MATTER! Cannot stop the opponents run game! Smart teams and play-off teams will capitalize on Packer’s inefficiencies on defense. The trend continues with wrong critical decisions at critical times by Packers front office!! And it will take years for any of them to be held accountable. Get use to this trend……no Super Bowl appearances!! But oh yeah, we are a successful franchise. Just look at the Titletown District and the money we are making. This organization has taken their eye off the ball AGAIN!!

    1. PF4L May 14, 2020

      No one is saying your wrong, some will say your spot on. I understand that not everyone can be as optimistic and positive about our Packer team as i am. But can we consider other people’s feelings? These are hard times were in…State and Fed. Govt want to hand out $970 a week in U. I benefits plus stimulus, to workers sitting at home. While the people that keep working make their normal wage (cough BS). Lets remember to be kinder and gentler in these trying times. The last thing a Packer fan needs when he’s only making $50,440 on a yearly pace, is to have hurt feelings.
      Look….i don’t claim too be the authority in here. But lets consider following my lead concerning other fans’s feelings, ideals and fantasy expectations in regards to the Packers .

    2. Savage57 May 15, 2020

      Every time I read someone pissing and moaning about the TitleTown district, all I see is someone who’s clueless about the job of the President of the team. Job #1 is to ensure the performance of the team in its every aspect, and a big part of that is the financial health and survival of the team, maybe more so than any other aspect. That includes using every avenue at their disposal to augment the TV package income through the development of local revenue streams, including things like the TitleTown district.

      See, the GM and the coaching staff take care of the on-field stuff, and they not going to be replacing a GM and HC who just went 14-4, no matter how much you cry at the wind about not winning the past Super Bowl or decree, based on the draft and free agency, they don’t have a chance to do so in the future.


      Pro Tip: You need more caps and exclamation points in your posts to stress how you’re just not gonna take this shit anymore if you really want to fit in here.

      1. PF4L May 15, 2020

        YOU TELL HIM!! (cough)
        What’s interesting (disturbing) is when somebody says the #1 job of the President of the team “is to ensure the performance of the team in its every aspect……”. But does not acknowledge the fact that one of those aspects is being the ultimate authority over football operations. Sure…..a President can say, he’ll leave football operations to the GM. I don’t have a problem with that. But…..it is still his job to oversee the GM’s performance. That’s a very large aspect of the job, it’s not as simple as say…taking out the garbage. The GM is not untouchable concerning the performance of his job, The GM does not report to the Executive Committee, he does not report to the Board of Directors. He reports to his boss. The person who is duty bound to oversee his performance of football operations. He reports….to Mark Murphy.
        It should be acknowledged, the President answers to the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee . should those entities feel the President is not performing his duties as Head of Football operations, they may call him in to talk. They may even feel inclined to instruct the President to make a needed personnel move if they deem it’s needed in the best interest of the Green Bay Packers.
        For those of us old enough, or knowledgeable enough. The power of the committee’s to involve itself in football operations matters were removed with the hiring of Ron Wolf So much so that new bylaws had to be written. So as far as we know, this was the first time the Board made any kind of football operation moves since Ron Wolf. The reason they had to involve itself, is because the President didn’t.
        Soon after the Presidents (Boards) action to remove Ted Thompson…the by-laws were again….re-written. Yes..the President has one major job description broken down in two parts. To oversee the overall health of the team, financially and otherwise.
        When Thompson hired Gutenkunst as GM, what message did Murphy keep repeating? He kept reminding us that he is fully in charge of all football operation decisions. He kept reminding us that no football decision will be made, without his approval. The reason for that? Because he fell asleep at the wheel and let the team regress far longer than it should have, until the Board had to give him a directive.
        As far as the business of Title Town District. Just because there is an existence of this entity, doesn’t mean it’s reached financial solvency. More money than we know has been invested creating this District. The success of that financially isn’t determined in a year or two. It takes time and it’s projections no doubt, are formulated under the current winning team environment using current financial projections. But past success doesn’t guarantee future success. It has to be sustained.

  4. Skinny May 14, 2020

    I hope so. Gonna need that innovative pitch play to the WR in motion to look a little more crisp then it did in year one. And lets not go for homeruns on third and short as well. Try running the ball in those situations.

  5. Scott Spurgeon May 14, 2020

    I agree with pretty much everyone is saying. 2019 Packers and their schedule were going to win games. Games against the 49ers showed all the flaws that have gone uncorrected in the draft. To have 10 picks and not draft a wide receiver, take players higher than what they were projected to go in the draft loosing draft value each time and it not the first Gute/LaFluer draft. I still haven’t gotten over 2019 and Rashad Gary. Drafts have been poor going back to 2015.

    Aaron Rogers will still be effective in 2020but the WR’s are still not superior athletes with just average to above average attributes. So, expecting them to make a “jump” as Gute and LaFluer posted after the uproar from the 2020 draft is a pipe dream at best. More like CYA.

    If Packers finish below 2019’s performance, I think it will be Aaron Roger’s who pays the price as the fall guy, not Gute or LaFluer. Rogers would likely be traded with three years left on his contract. Reason: Love is not going to sit on the bench for four years and this might be the grand plan all along.

    1. PF4L May 14, 2020

      First round QB’s rarely sit on the sideline long. After Rodgers, i don’t recall any other 1st round QB, not starting in at least his 2nd season.

      After Adams, i’m not sure you’d want to call any of our other receivers average, or above average. Maybe Lazard has a shot, i hope so. Plus maybe we’ll get to see what EQ can finally do. Seems we have a lot of 3rd year players looking to prove themselves.Plus a GM.

  6. PF4L May 15, 2020

    For those interested, Rodgers 2:00 PM tele-conference call with reporters….

  7. PF4L May 18, 2020

    Well….as it turns out, we were all concerned …..over nothing. Slickster and future “Executive of the Year” Brian Gutenkunst signed CFL stand out wide receiver Reggie Begelton to a reserve/futures contract.
    That alone isn’t why i’m sold on him. It’s been reported that LeFleur is “super hyped” on the man.
    Finally, after 9 years, i’m super hyped to announce the turning around of bad player acquisitions. Finally we see a clear path to the Super Bowl.
    BONUS: No Green Bay Packers were arrested lately.
    We’re going places people!

  8. Scott Spurgeon June 3, 2020

    Matt LaFluer should be compared with Jim Harbaugh taking over the 49ers. LaFluer now says he wants to mimic the 49ers but you will not find LaFluer’s back-up players on the 49er starting offense. After year three, the 49ers began to tank and I believe we will see that in Green Bay. Two years after Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers, the 49er franchise was what $2B in debt. Packers have always relied on drafting talent and best value until 2019. Now, it’s who can we pick-up in free agency. Paying market price and draining franchise revenue. Something to watch