2019 February : Packers Insider

Packers should bring in veteran QB Griffin to backup Rodgers

February 10, 2019 by  
Filed under News

From Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior editor

~Seven years ago this Spring, four NFL teams fortunes changed with rookie quarterbacks added to guide the future of their franchises.

At the top, with the first two picks, the Colts selected Andrew Luck from Stanford, while the Redskins pinned their hopes on Robert Griffin III from Baylor. Later in the first round, the Dolphins grabbed Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M.

Later in the draft, the Seahawks grabbed Russell Wilson from Wisconsin, mostly with the thought of being the backup to recent free agent addition Matt Flynn.

Packer fans are well aware of what has happened with Russell Wilson and Seattle.
Miami is almost set to give up on Tannehill.
Indianapolis learned immediately how good Luck was. And how bad luck to Luck would doom the Colts in 2016 and 2017.

The Redskins? Griffin, RG3, was sensational right out of the gates for Mike Shanahan’s offense. Matt LaFleur, incidentally, was the QB coach for Griffin that year.

As good as Luck was, and Wilson was, Griffin was the NFL Rookie of the Year. And he was beating the Seahawks handily in that season’s Wildcard game.
Then he hurt his knee.

He’s never been the same, and he’s been relegated to being a backup. Last season he was Joe Flacco’s backup, and then moved to the #3 QB as rookie first round pick Lamar Jackson was handed the keys to the Ravens offense.

Griffin is 28 years old, will turn 29 in the middle of February. He’s seen it all. He’s been on three teams already.

True, part of what made him such a weapon as a rookie was the Michael Vick like running ability Griffin possessed, and he lost most of that as a result of the ACL injury in 2013.

But have you seen Brett Hundley out there running the Packers? Did you see DeShone Kizer last year? His passer rating was 40.5. Griffin’s career passer rating is just south of 90. This is an immediate upgrade.

NFL reacts to Packers officially hiring Matt LaFleur

February 9, 2019 by  
Filed under News

By BRIAN JONES Jan 10

~The Packers have found a new head coach in Matt LaFleur. On Tuesday, the team announced they have hired LaFleur as the 15th head coach in team history and he was introduced to the media on Wednesday. He will take the place of Mike McCarthy who was fired on Dec. 2.

LaFleur spent the 2018 season as the offensive coordinator as the offensive coordinator of the Tennesee Titans. LaFleur has been working wonders with NFL offenses for quite some time. He spent two seasons in Atlanta as the quarterback’s coach, helping Matt Ryan lead the Falcons to an appearance in Super Bowl LI. Ryan was unstoppable during this season as he threw for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns en route to being named league MVP. However, Kyle Shanahan’s departure for San Francisco also affected LaFleur as he headed west to join Sean McVay’s staff.

LaFleur spent 2017 working with Jared Goff in a renaissance season as the Rams ranked first overall in scoring and 10th in total offense. Los Angeles made an appearance in the playoffs but ultimately lost to the Falcons in the wild-card round. LaFleur left the Rams after only one season to join Tennessee as the offensive coordinator. And while this season has been utterly bizarre, the offense has shown flashes of brilliance. Former New England running back Dion Lewis is playing extremely well and has quietly taken Derrick Henry’s job.

Marcus Mariota has found decent success as a passer despite his receivers dropping a major pass at least once every week. Although he has been more successful as a running quarterback. The Titans put a beat down on the Patriots utilizing in multiple ways. Some of his best throws even came on the run. Not many quarterbacks can rival Aaron Rodgers when it comes to throwing on the run, so it’s impossible to see Mariota succeeding in this manner and not picture the Packers quarterback.

So what do NFL fans and experts think of the move? Here’s a look at the reactions of the hire.

Ben Fennell of The Athletic and the NFL Network broke down film of teams that LaFleur has worked for and he noticed a trend that will make fans happy. He said, “Digging thru the film – you can see recurring trends in the scheme Screen game is HUGE. Certainly to the RBs but also getting the ball into your perimeter WR weapons ASAP… Easy yards!

LaFleur is good friends with the Los Angeles Rams head coach as he was the team’s OC in 2017. And when McVay heard the news, he was happy for him. McVay said, “He’s obviously one of my closest friends. So to see that for him, couldn’t be more excited. He’s a great football coach, got a great understanding from offensive football.”

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports mentions how LaFleur got the job. He said, “Matt LaFleur did something very rare this year for an offensive coaching candidate. Instead of being pass-happy to build up his name as an HC candidate, he ran the ball a ton and played more to protect the ball.”

Colin Cowherd of FS1 does not like the move. He said, “Congratulations on hiring somebody who people question whether he has the stature and gravitas to lead a coordinators meeting. Maybe you’ve heard Aaron Rodgers is aging, he ran a Super Bowl-winning coach out of town. Good luck to Matt LaFleur.”

Packers legend LeRoy Butler is very excited about the move. He said, “GREAT HIRE BY THE @packers MATT LaFleur! I’m very excited!!!” Butler was drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 1990 NFL Draft and he spent his entire career in Green Bay. During his time with the Packers, Butler put together a memorable career, recording 889 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 38 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles. Along with helping the Packers win Super Bowl 31, Butler was named to the Pro Bowl four times, was named to the All-Pro First Team four times and he’s a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. Butler has also been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.

Robert Griffin III had some great things to say about LaFleur once he heard the news. He said, “Congrats to Matt Lafleur and his family! Great coach, better guy! Griffin knows LaFleur very well as he was the quarterbacks coach with the Redskins and helped Griffin win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky sent a message to his former coach. He said, “Congrats to LaFleur. I’ve known the dude for 10+ years now, played for em twice. I love the hiring. Dudes very bright, very creative, knows how to attack defenses, has had great teaching and the biggest thing-he’s gonna coach the HECK out of 12 and challenge him DAILY!”

Peter Schrager of “Good Morning Football” is confident LaFleur can have success in Green Bay. He said, “I’ve been at the same table as him and McVay and Shanahan. He can hang with them – both with the Xs and Os, and with the chop busting. He worked with Vrabel, a Type-A, too. Aaron Rodgers will be intellectually challenged and will love it.”

Albert Beer of Sports Illustrated knows why the Packers went with LaFleur. He said, “Part of the deal for the Packers was finding a coach that could challenge Aaron Rodgers intellectually. I’d say that’s where the fit with Matt LaFleur is.” And let’s hope that Rodgers responds to LaFleur’s challenges.

Dan Graziano of ESPN took a look back at how LaFleur got to where he his now. He said, “LaFleur was Matt Ryan’s QB coach in 2016, Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator in 2017, the Titans’ offensive coordinator this year. Rapid ascent for one of the bright QB minds in the league. Should be a good match with Aaron Rodgers.”

Mike Clay of ESPN took a look back at LaFleur’s experience in the NFL. Here’s a look at LaFleur’s path to Green Bay.

2015-16: Kyle Shanahan’s QB coach
2017: Sean McVay’s OC
2018: Mike Vrabel’s OC
2019: Packers head coach

Will Brinson of CBS Sports noticed a trend when it comes to the Packers head coaches. Here’s a look at who the Packers hired as their head coach the last 25-plus years (except Ray Rhodes).

Matt LaFleur – 39 years old – Titans OC (1 year)
Mike McCarthy – 43 years old – 49ers OC (1 year)
Mike Sherman – 46 years old – Seahawks OC (1 year)
Mike Holmgren – 44 years old – 49ers OC (3 years)

Former NFL QB Trent Dilfer thinks LaFleur is the next Mike McCarthy which is a good thing. “He said, Matt LaFleur is Mike McCarthy before McCarthy stopped grinding. Both smart, creative offensively, great pedigrees and strong leadership traits. Most importantly HE WILL COACH AARON HARD!”

Radio host Grant Paulsen points out that LaFleur coached under two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Shanahan. He said, “With Matt LaFleur landing Packers head coaching job, the 2013 Redskins’ staff looks even more impressive. Mike Shanahan’s offensive staff had Kyle Shanahan as OC, Sean McVay leading TE’s and Matt LaFluer coaching QB’s. All three are HC’s in NFC now.”

Matt Eurich of Chicago Bears on 247Sports points out there are now three head coaches in the NFC North named Matt. Also, LaFleur is the youngest head coach in the division at 39 years old. Here’s a look at the four NFC North head coaches.

Matt Nagy (Bears) – 40
Matt Patricia (Lions) – 44
Matt LaFleur (Packers) – 39
Mike Zimmer (Vikings) 62