Green Bay has got their guy.
After a little over a month of wild speculation about who would land the head coaching job for the Packers, the team has concluded their interviews and have signed Matt LaFleur, most recently the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, to a four-year deal with a fifth year option.
LaFleur’s track record is fairly impressive, if you look at small victories. No, he hasn’t been part of any championship teams. However, LaFleur could be partially credited with Matt Ryan’s MVP season in 2016 as quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Also, he helped turn quarterback Jarod Goff and the Los Angelos Rams around in 2017 under head coach Sean McVay.
This year in Tennessee, LaFleur wasn’t so stellar. He led the titans to only the 27th ranked scoring offense, but nagging injuries to Mariota and the entire offensive line provided for some lack-luster performances. The Titans finished third in the AFC South with a record of nine and seven, yet they still were in playoff contention until week 16. Perhaps if the team remained healthy and in their 2017 form, we’d be seeing them in the divisional round this Sunday.
Relationship with Rodgers
So the question is, how will LaFleur mesh with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers?
The media has often questioned Rodgers obedience to his Head Coach. It is obvious a smart player like Rodgers should get the go-ahead for audibles and shifts, but what about ignoring an entire play call?
A recent story out of Green Bay comes from the mouth of Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports last Thursday about the tension between Rodgers and his former head coach, Mike McCarthy.
“One time I really saw it for the first time, we were in the huddle. I guess McCarthy called in a play, and Aaron was kind of like, ‘Nah’. He gave a direction and a protection to the line, and went. It was a four-minute offense, he threw a 40-yard bomb for a completion. I’m like, ‘What’s really going on?’ I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life.”
I mean, he got the completion. So that’s pretty cool.
At least LaFleur will know how to play to Rodgers’ strengths. Rodgers has great legs and when he gets outside of the pocket her can really light a defense up. He’s also an excellent runner if he decides to tuck it and go. LaFleur was able to tap into this ability with Mariota as well, designing lots of play action calls and designed quarterback runs. Rodgers could flourish in an offensive system like this, but LaFleur will need to be careful. If Rodgers, the franchise man for Green Bay, feels like he’s getting a bit to banged up, we might see him ignoring calls again.
LaFleur is expected to make his first formal introduction to the team on Wednesday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where we can get our first reactions and impressions from the team on their new head coach.