As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter late Monday, the Packers are hiring Titans Offensive Coordinator (and Ryan Reynolds doppelgänger) Matt LaFleur to be just their third head coach since the start of the millennium. With that low rate of turn-over in Green Bay, make no mistake that this decision was difficult for that front office. Green Bay with a 35 year old Aaron Rodgers are in win now mode, and they can’t afford for a coach to come in and not gel with their 2 time MVP.
LaFleur has worked in the coaching trees of some of the league’s best offensive teams. The first time head coach has worked with the likes of Kyle Shanahan in Washington and Atlanta as a QBs coach, and Sean McVay in 2017 as Offensive Coordinator. McVay and Shanahan have been touted around league offices as two of the brightest minds in football. LaFleur is going to have to bring some of that magic with him to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau, as offensive woes have haunted the Packers their last two seasons. Packers fans expect nothing less than that coveted Lombardi Trophy, and their future hall-of-fame quarterback hoisting it high to bring it back home. They need to win now, and LaFleur could offer that spark for a franchise that has been starving for a Super Bowl since Rodgers won them one back in 2010.
Fans have their doubts when it comes to this hire. Even though LaFleur was the OC in Los Angeles, play-calling duties were carried out by HC Sean McVay. Play-calling has been one of the many woes of Green Bay’s coaching staff in the past few seasons, which is something that Aaron Rodgers has been openly critical of.
“We need to find ways to get our playmakers in position to get more opportunities.” – Aaron Rodgers commenting on the playcalling after their Week 4 win vs. Buffalohttps://touchdownwire.usatoday.com/2018/09/30/aaron-rodgers-packers-playcalling-offense-comments-week-4/
In Tennessee this season, LaFleur undertook full play-calling duties under coach Mike Vrabel. This season the Titans ranked 25th in yards per game, 26th in total first downs, and 27th in points per game. Some could chalk this up to personnel issues and lack of talent, but the 2018 Titans were largely the same if not improved from the 2017 Titans, yet they underperformed and missed the playoffs.
If one thing is reassuring for Packers fans, Aaron Rodgers is a little bit better than Marcus Mariota, and Rodgers make the players around him better. If Matt LaFleur is able to gameplan around his players’ strengths and get receivers open, Rodgers will find them without a doubt. The pieces are there for Green Bay, it just comes down to coaching; and Matt LaFleur looks to be the answer for a fanbase thirsting for a Lombardi.