Green Bay Packers – Last Word on Pro FootballTalking Green Bay Packers Draft With Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft ScoutAaron Jones the Lead Back for Green Bay PackersA Look at the 2018 Season of Davante AdamsDavid Bakhtiari Proves He Is the Best Pass-Blocker in the NFLGreen Bay Packers Coaching Staff Under Matt LaFleur Starting to Take ShapeEvaluating the Play of Aaron Rodgers in the 2018 SeasonMatt LaFleur Hiring Pushes the Green Bay Packers All In on OffenseHoles to Fill on the Green Bay Packers Defensehttps://lastwordonprofootball.com Fri, 01 Feb 2019 04:19:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/30/packers-draft-parlegreco-draft-scout/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/30/packers-draft-parlegreco-draft-scout/#respond Wed, 30 Jan 2019 19:49:38 +0000

https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/?p=57427

This coming weekend the Super Bowl will take place in Atlanta. Once that concludes, the next big event on the NFL calendar will be the NFL Draft. While New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams fans will be focused on the big game, other NFL fans will have their eye towards the draft. Green Bay Packers fans are hoping that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst can bolster the Packers roster through this year’s draft. For preparation of the draft, we caught up with our favorite draft expert, Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft Scout. Parlegreco studies possible prospects throughout the year. We had a chance to sit down with him and discuss what the Packers might do this April in the draft. Talking Green Bay Packers draft with Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft Scout.

Gutekunst and his staff will put in many hours in preparation for the draft. If they feel a player, no matter the position, can help the Packers roster, they will select that player. But for this article, we highlighted four areas: outside linebacker, offensive line, tight end, and safety, and asked Parlegreco which players might be in line for the Green Bay Packers draft.

LWOPF:

It appears finding a 3-4 outside linebacker will be at the top of the Packers draft wish list.  They possess the number 12 and number 30 (via a trade from the New Orleans Saints) picks in the first round.  If they go outside linebacker at 12 which outside linebacker prospect do you think they will target?

DTP:

If they go outside linebacker at pick 12, look for them to target Josh Allen from Kentucky. There is a possibility that he might go higher. But if he slides and is available, the Packers should gobble him up.  Not only is he a dynamic pass rusher, but he is capable of dropping back into coverage.

LWOPF:

Allen would seem like a perfect fit. Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine drops his outside linebackers into pass coverage quite a bit. But what if the Packers draft plan isn’t to select an outside linebacker at 12. Instead, what if target one at 30, who do you think could be there for them to select?

DTP:

If the Packers draft plan is to select one at 30th, Jachai Polite from the University of Florida would be a great pick. He possesses an explosive first step as a pass rusher. That ability led to him having a tremendous double-digit sack season for the Gators this year. He has experience standing up and is able to play in space.

LWOPF:

It appears that selecting just one outside linebacker in this year’s draft won’t be enough for the Packers. Clay Matthews will be a free agent this off-season and they might not re-sign him. Along with Matthews, the Packers might part with the oft-injured Nick Perry. Do you see any mid-round prospects that might be good value for the Packers draft?  Do you have any sleepers at that position on your list?

DTP:

One prospect I really like is Ben Banogu from TCU. I expect him to go in the third or fourth round of the draft. He is a loose-hipped pass rusher with elastic flexibility. Another name to remember is Christian Miller from Alabama. He possibly could drop due to his injury history. But he’s got a terrific NFL frame and good overall athleticism. D’Andre Walker from Georgia is another possibility. He’ll likely go a little later in this draft, but he definitely has the ability to get to the quarterback!

LWOPF:

It looks like it is time for the Packers to start to look for a possible replacement for offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. How many tackle prospects do you have first-round grades on? If the Packers were to look for an offensive tackle at the end of the first round, who do you think they might look at?

DTP:

It depends on if you would consider Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford a guard or a tackle. He’s played both in college. But as of now, I have three first-round grades at tackle. Wisconsin’s David Edwards is a player they might target at the end of the first round. He isn’t an elite athlete but he’s a very good run blocker.

LWOPF:

One prospect that has caught our eye is West Virginia offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste. What can you tell us about Cajuste?

DTP:

Cajuste could be a guy the Packers target at the end of the first round. But my concerns with Cajuste is that he played in an “air-raid offensive system” where he didn’t have to hold up for long periods of time. Also, he’s had multiple knee surgeries on the same knee. A solid prospect with injury concerns.

LWOPF:

It appears that the tight end position is very deep in this year’s draft. Selecting a young tight end appears to be on the Packers draft list. If they choose not to spend a first round pick on a tight end, who might the Packers be left with in the second or possibly the third round?

DTP:

Tight end is a real deep position this year. They could go in so many different ways if they go in the second or third round. Dawson Knox from Mississippi and Irv Smith Jr. from Alabama should both be available in the second round and are both tremendously athletic tight ends. Smith is a better blocker of the two. Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger is another guy that really knows how to operate in space and has terrific upside.

LWOPF:

Finally, another glaring need for the Packers is a safety who can play in pass coverage. Last season, they traded Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and then moved 35-year-old Tramon Williams from cornerback to safety. The Packers need an athletic safety who can help out in pass coverage. If they go outside linebacker, tackle, and tight end with their first three picks, which safeties do you feel will be on the board in the third or fourth round range?

DTP:

Two guys I’m very high on are safeties Mike Edwards from Kentucky and Darnell Savage Jr. from Maryland. Both are terrific coverage safeties that can come up and hit you as well. I expect them to be early day three selections that will be starters in the NFL. I feel that these two have incredible upsides.

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This coming weekend the Super Bowl will take place in Atlanta. Once that concludes, the next big event on the NFL calendar will be the NFL Draft. While New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams fans will be focused on the big game, other NFL fans will have their eye towards the draft. Green Bay Packers fans are hoping that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst can bolster the Packers roster through this year’s draft. For preparation of the draft, we caught up with our favorite draft expert, Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft Scout. Parlegreco studies possible prospects throughout the year. We had a chance to sit down with him and discuss what the Packers might do this April in the draft. Talking Green Bay Packers draft with Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft Scout.

Gutekunst and his staff will put in many hours in preparation for the draft. If they feel a player, no matter the position, can help the Packers roster, they will select that player. But for this article, we highlighted four areas: outside linebacker, offensive line, tight end, and safety, and asked Parlegreco which players might be in line for the Green Bay Packers draft.

LWOPF:

It appears finding a 3-4 outside linebacker will be at the top of the Packers draft wish list.  They possess the number 12 and number 30 (via a trade from the New Orleans Saints) picks in the first round.  If they go outside linebacker at 12 which outside linebacker prospect do you think they will target?

DTP:

If they go outside linebacker at pick 12, look for them to target Josh Allen from Kentucky. There is a possibility that he might go higher. But if he slides and is available, the Packers should gobble him up.  Not only is he a dynamic pass rusher, but he is capable of dropping back into coverage.

LWOPF:

Allen would seem like a perfect fit. Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine drops his outside linebackers into pass coverage quite a bit. But what if the Packers draft plan isn’t to select an outside linebacker at 12. Instead, what if target one at 30, who do you think could be there for them to select?

DTP:

If the Packers draft plan is to select one at 30th, Jachai Polite from the University of Florida would be a great pick. He possesses an explosive first step as a pass rusher. That ability led to him having a tremendous double-digit sack season for the Gators this year. He has experience standing up and is able to play in space.

LWOPF:

It appears that selecting just one outside linebacker in this year’s draft won’t be enough for the Packers. Clay Matthews will be a free agent this off-season and they might not re-sign him. Along with Matthews, the Packers might part with the oft-injured Nick Perry. Do you see any mid-round prospects that might be good value for the Packers draft?  Do you have any sleepers at that position on your list?

DTP:

One prospect I really like is Ben Banogu from TCU. I expect him to go in the third or fourth round of the draft. He is a loose-hipped pass rusher with elastic flexibility. Another name to remember is Christian Miller from Alabama. He possibly could drop due to his injury history. But he’s got a terrific NFL frame and good overall athleticism. D’Andre Walker from Georgia is another possibility. He’ll likely go a little later in this draft, but he definitely has the ability to get to the quarterback!

LWOPF:

It looks like it is time for the Packers to start to look for a possible replacement for offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. How many tackle prospects do you have first-round grades on? If the Packers were to look for an offensive tackle at the end of the first round, who do you think they might look at?

DTP:

It depends on if you would consider Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford a guard or a tackle. He’s played both in college. But as of now, I have three first-round grades at tackle. Wisconsin’s David Edwards is a player they might target at the end of the first round. He isn’t an elite athlete but he’s a very good run blocker.

LWOPF:

One prospect that has caught our eye is West Virginia offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste. What can you tell us about Cajuste?

DTP:

Cajuste could be a guy the Packers target at the end of the first round. But my concerns with Cajuste is that he played in an “air-raid offensive system” where he didn’t have to hold up for long periods of time. Also, he’s had multiple knee surgeries on the same knee. A solid prospect with injury concerns.

LWOPF:

It appears that the tight end position is very deep in this year’s draft. Selecting a young tight end appears to be on the Packers draft list. If they choose not to spend a first round pick on a tight end, who might the Packers be left with in the second or possibly the third round?

DTP:

Tight end is a real deep position this year. They could go in so many different ways if they go in the second or third round. Dawson Knox from Mississippi and Irv Smith Jr. from Alabama should both be available in the second round and are both tremendously athletic tight ends. Smith is a better blocker of the two. Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger is another guy that really knows how to operate in space and has terrific upside.

LWOPF:

Finally, another glaring need for the Packers is a safety who can play in pass coverage. Last season, they traded Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and then moved 35-year-old Tramon Williams from cornerback to safety. The Packers need an athletic safety who can help out in pass coverage. If they go outside linebacker, tackle, and tight end with their first three picks, which safeties do you feel will be on the board in the third or fourth round range?

DTP:

Two guys I’m very high on are safeties Mike Edwards from Kentucky and Darnell Savage Jr. from Maryland. Both are terrific coverage safeties that can come up and hit you as well. I expect them to be early day three selections that will be starters in the NFL. I feel that these two have incredible upsides.

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https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/30/packers-draft-parlegreco-draft-scout/feed/ 0 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/28/aaron-jones-lead-back-for-green-bay-packers/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/28/aaron-jones-lead-back-for-green-bay-packers/#respond Mon, 28 Jan 2019 23:43:22 +0000

https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/?p=57341
Aaron JonesIn 2018, the Green Bay Packers suffered the most disappointing season in a very long time. The team was expected to play in January, and possibly February, instead they were done by December. Despite the losses and frustrating team performances, there were some bright spots such as Aaron Jones.

The second-year running back had a great season despite not receiving much playing time early in the year. Once former Head Coach Mike McCarthy decided to utilize the University of Texas El-Paso product more, he responded with dominant performances and took the starting job.

The Beginning

Aaron Jones season started in week three because of a two weeks suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Following his return to the team in week three, former head coach and offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy opted against using the University of Texas-El Paso product until week eight. In games at Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions and home meetings against the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, Jones never received more than 11 attempts (vs. Buffalo) and averaged seven attempts in the other three games. Perhaps, this was McCarthy’s attempt at showing discipline the way New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notoriously known for?

The Second Half of the Season

However, as soon as McCarthy let the second-year running back returned onto the field, he immediately showed promise. In the middle of the season, Green Bay faced an incredibly challenging five-game stretch, which included four road games against four Super Bowl contending teams.

Aaron Jones responded with five strong performances. As the Pack began to lean on him, Jones showed how dangerous of a weapon he could become, if utilized correctly. At Los Angeles Rams, he had 12 attempts for 86 yards and a 33-yard touchdown. What sticks out from that game is his 7.2 yards per carry. In the next four weeks, he posted incredible numbers despite losing three of the next four games.

At New England Patriots, he had 14 for 75 yards, in a home battle against the Miami Dolphins, he had 15-145-2, followed it with an 11-40-1 game at Seattle Seahawks, and finished that stretch with a 17-72-1 game at Minnesota Vikings. In that stretch, he had 69 attempts for 418 yards and five touchdowns.

Unfortunately, though the Pack was not able to capitalize on his strong games.

The End

Once it became clear that Green Bay would miss out on the postseason, Aaron Jones saw his attempts decrease. He still had one last strong outing against the Atlanta Falcons with 17 attempts for 78 yards and a 29-yard touchdown.

Jones season ended when he suffered a torn MCL in a week 16 game at Chicago Bears.

Conclusion

This season, Aaron Jones showed a lot of potential and chemistry with legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Aarons will lead the Pack’s offense for the near future. However, we also learned that Jones is not a workhorse back who can handle north of 20 carries per game.

He is a much more dangerous threat when receiving 15-18 attempts. Jones outstanding five point five yards per carry led the NFL in that category. He could’ve averaged a lot more, but as the season was winding down, his touches decreased gradually. From the week three loss at Washington to the week 10 win over Miami, Jones averaged 6.57 yards per carry.

He should be more involved in the passing game. His season-high for receptions was five in the game at Seattle. That way he’ll be in space where he is a nightmare for defenders to tackle. He should be used in a similar way the New Orleans Saints use Alvin Kamara.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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]]>

Aaron JonesIn 2018, the Green Bay Packers suffered the most disappointing season in a very long time. The team was expected to play in January, and possibly February, instead they were done by December. Despite the losses and frustrating team performances, there were some bright spots such as Aaron Jones.

The second-year running back had a great season despite not receiving much playing time early in the year. Once former Head Coach Mike McCarthy decided to utilize the University of Texas El-Paso product more, he responded with dominant performances and took the starting job.

The Beginning

Aaron Jones season started in week three because of a two weeks suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Following his return to the team in week three, former head coach and offensive play-caller Mike McCarthy opted against using the University of Texas-El Paso product until week eight. In games at Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions and home meetings against the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, Jones never received more than 11 attempts (vs. Buffalo) and averaged seven attempts in the other three games. Perhaps, this was McCarthy’s attempt at showing discipline the way New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notoriously known for?

The Second Half of the Season

However, as soon as McCarthy let the second-year running back returned onto the field, he immediately showed promise. In the middle of the season, Green Bay faced an incredibly challenging five-game stretch, which included four road games against four Super Bowl contending teams.

Aaron Jones responded with five strong performances. As the Pack began to lean on him, Jones showed how dangerous of a weapon he could become, if utilized correctly. At Los Angeles Rams, he had 12 attempts for 86 yards and a 33-yard touchdown. What sticks out from that game is his 7.2 yards per carry. In the next four weeks, he posted incredible numbers despite losing three of the next four games.

At New England Patriots, he had 14 for 75 yards, in a home battle against the Miami Dolphins, he had 15-145-2, followed it with an 11-40-1 game at Seattle Seahawks, and finished that stretch with a 17-72-1 game at Minnesota Vikings. In that stretch, he had 69 attempts for 418 yards and five touchdowns.

Unfortunately, though the Pack was not able to capitalize on his strong games.

The End

Once it became clear that Green Bay would miss out on the postseason, Aaron Jones saw his attempts decrease. He still had one last strong outing against the Atlanta Falcons with 17 attempts for 78 yards and a 29-yard touchdown.

Jones season ended when he suffered a torn MCL in a week 16 game at Chicago Bears.

Conclusion

This season, Aaron Jones showed a lot of potential and chemistry with legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Aarons will lead the Pack’s offense for the near future. However, we also learned that Jones is not a workhorse back who can handle north of 20 carries per game.

He is a much more dangerous threat when receiving 15-18 attempts. Jones outstanding five point five yards per carry led the NFL in that category. He could’ve averaged a lot more, but as the season was winding down, his touches decreased gradually. From the week three loss at Washington to the week 10 win over Miami, Jones averaged 6.57 yards per carry.

He should be more involved in the passing game. His season-high for receptions was five in the game at Seattle. That way he’ll be in space where he is a nightmare for defenders to tackle. He should be used in a similar way the New Orleans Saints use Alvin Kamara.

Main photo:
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https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/28/aaron-jones-lead-back-for-green-bay-packers/feed/ 0 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/26/wide-receiver-davante-adams/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/26/wide-receiver-davante-adams/#respond Sun, 27 Jan 2019 04:36:16 +0000

https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/?p=57240
In a season marred by inconsistency and missed opportunities, there were few bright spots on the 2018 Green Bay Packers. One player stood above the rest as a model for this team. Coming off a two-year stretch where he posted 22 combined touchdowns, Davante Adams signed a four-year $58 million extension. After new general manager Brian Gutekunst released longtime premier receiver Jordy Nelson, Adams became the team’s de facto number one target. He did not disappoint. Starting all but one game, Adams accumulated nearly 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns on 111 receptions. Let’s dive further into the impact Adams had during a disappointing 2018 season for the Green Bay Packers.

A Look at the 2018 Season of Wide Receiver Davante Adams

Somewhat Slow Start

The Packers had more receiving threats at the beginning of the year before injuries hurt the team’s depth. Randall Cobb was the star of week one against the Chicago Bears, scoring a 75-yard catch and run touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He would fight through various injuries the rest of the season, leading to the worst statistical year of his career. Adams still had a solid 5-88-1 line in that one, but most of his yardage came on a 51 yard bomb near the end of regulation. The next two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins were nearly identical. Adams only posted 116 yards combined over those two games which was third on the team. A healthy Geronimo Allison was thriving in single coverage while Adams commanded double teams on the opposite side. Adams continued to show impressive agility and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, though. He also had touchdowns in each of those first three games.

His touchdown streak ended in a week four victory over the Buffalo Bills. Adams posted 81 yards on eight catches but quarterback Aaron Rodgers was outraged that more plays weren’t schemed his way. That seemed to turn the tide as Adams began to go on a tear the rest of the year.

Mid-season Marvel

The three game stretch against the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Los Angeles Rams was phenomenal for Adams. After Cobb and Allison went down, the Packers essentially had Adams, Jimmy Graham, and a slew of rookie receivers left catching passes. Every defender knew that Rodgers would turn towards Adams in the games’ biggest moments. Time and again Adams proved to be the superior talent, boxing out cornerbacks on jump balls and finding separation no matter the competition. He and Rodgers put the offense on their backs, willing the team into games against the Lions and 49ers and keeping them alive against the NFC Champion Rams. Adams posted 24 receptions for 405 yards and three touchdowns over that period. Although his yardage totals dipped, Adams posted another three touchdowns in a two week stretch against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

Game of the Year

On a Thursday night in Week 11, the Packers traveled to play the Seattle Seahawks for an important NFC showdown with a potential wild card spot on the line. Adams consistently roasted promising corners Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on way to a career-high 166 yards while catching ten of 12 targets. He disengaged defensive backs well at the line of scrimmage, provided solid run after the catch on quick outs, and displayed strong hands on several deep routes over the middle. He was unguardable on comebacks and slants and was the team’s only receiver to step up in a must-win game. Surprisingly, Adams didn’t find the end zone, but he still almost single-handedly willed the Packers to an upset victory on the road.

Strong Finish

Adams followed up his dominant performance in Week 11 with an adequate, if uneventful game in Minnesota. He did score another touchdown on an impressive back shoulder toss from Rodgers. He continued his touchdown streak at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and again against the Atlanta Falcons the following week. In an elimination game against the Bears in Week 15, Adams did all he could. He caught eight of 13 targets for 119 yards and a two-point conversion. Unfortunately, the offense failed to reach 20 points for the fifth time and the Packers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Rodgers and Adams decided to continue playing, showing strong leadership qualities in a lost season. They traveled to face the New York Jets in a Week 16 game perceived to be an easy Packer win. That was not the case, however, as the game turned into a very entertaining shootout. The Packers scored a season-high 44 points in an overtime victory that came down to the wire. Adams led the team with a whopping 18 targets. He caught only 11 of those passes for 71 yards but did haul in the walk off touchdown in overtime. He injured his knee early in the game but gritted it out because that’s the kind of player he is. Sadly, that knee caused Adams to miss the season finale against the Lions.

So Close to History

Adams finished just short of several major Packer receiving records in 2018. His 111 receptions were second in team history behind Sterling Sharpe’s 112 in 1993. He also only needed 133 yards to pass his former running mate and mentor Jordy Nelson’s 1,519 yards from 2014. Both could have been accomplished had he not injured his knee in that win against the Jets. This is also assuming Rodgers doesn’t get knocked out of the week 17 affair with a concussion in the first quarter. When both players were out of the game, it became painfully aware how inept this roster is. The team failed to score a single point in a 31-0 home thrashing by the Lions in the final week with Rodgers and Adams sidelined.

Adams was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row even after only appearing in 15 games. He played at an All-Pro level all year and almost received those honors as well. The Packers lack of success had more to do with Adams not making the team than his individual performance. Regardless, Adams is a building block for this team moving forward and his development has been extremely impressive. His ability to shed defenders at the line of scrimmage and production in the red zone are second-to-none. Adams continues to get better each year in the league and should be viewed as one of the game’s top five wide receivers.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

The post A Look at the 2018 Season of Davante Adams appeared first on Last Word on Pro Football.
]]>

In a season marred by inconsistency and missed opportunities, there were few bright spots on the 2018 Green Bay Packers. One player stood above the rest as a model for this team. Coming off a two-year stretch where he posted 22 combined touchdowns, Davante Adams signed a four-year $58 million extension. After new general manager Brian Gutekunst released longtime premier receiver Jordy Nelson, Adams became the team’s de facto number one target. He did not disappoint. Starting all but one game, Adams accumulated nearly 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns on 111 receptions. Let’s dive further into the impact Adams had during a disappointing 2018 season for the Green Bay Packers.

A Look at the 2018 Season of Wide Receiver Davante Adams

Somewhat Slow Start

The Packers had more receiving threats at the beginning of the year before injuries hurt the team’s depth. Randall Cobb was the star of week one against the Chicago Bears, scoring a 75-yard catch and run touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He would fight through various injuries the rest of the season, leading to the worst statistical year of his career. Adams still had a solid 5-88-1 line in that one, but most of his yardage came on a 51 yard bomb near the end of regulation. The next two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins were nearly identical. Adams only posted 116 yards combined over those two games which was third on the team. A healthy Geronimo Allison was thriving in single coverage while Adams commanded double teams on the opposite side. Adams continued to show impressive agility and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, though. He also had touchdowns in each of those first three games.

His touchdown streak ended in a week four victory over the Buffalo Bills. Adams posted 81 yards on eight catches but quarterback Aaron Rodgers was outraged that more plays weren’t schemed his way. That seemed to turn the tide as Adams began to go on a tear the rest of the year.

Mid-season Marvel

The three game stretch against the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Los Angeles Rams was phenomenal for Adams. After Cobb and Allison went down, the Packers essentially had Adams, Jimmy Graham, and a slew of rookie receivers left catching passes. Every defender knew that Rodgers would turn towards Adams in the games’ biggest moments. Time and again Adams proved to be the superior talent, boxing out cornerbacks on jump balls and finding separation no matter the competition. He and Rodgers put the offense on their backs, willing the team into games against the Lions and 49ers and keeping them alive against the NFC Champion Rams. Adams posted 24 receptions for 405 yards and three touchdowns over that period. Although his yardage totals dipped, Adams posted another three touchdowns in a two week stretch against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

Game of the Year

On a Thursday night in Week 11, the Packers traveled to play the Seattle Seahawks for an important NFC showdown with a potential wild card spot on the line. Adams consistently roasted promising corners Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on way to a career-high 166 yards while catching ten of 12 targets. He disengaged defensive backs well at the line of scrimmage, provided solid run after the catch on quick outs, and displayed strong hands on several deep routes over the middle. He was unguardable on comebacks and slants and was the team’s only receiver to step up in a must-win game. Surprisingly, Adams didn’t find the end zone, but he still almost single-handedly willed the Packers to an upset victory on the road.

Strong Finish

Adams followed up his dominant performance in Week 11 with an adequate, if uneventful game in Minnesota. He did score another touchdown on an impressive back shoulder toss from Rodgers. He continued his touchdown streak at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and again against the Atlanta Falcons the following week. In an elimination game against the Bears in Week 15, Adams did all he could. He caught eight of 13 targets for 119 yards and a two-point conversion. Unfortunately, the offense failed to reach 20 points for the fifth time and the Packers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Rodgers and Adams decided to continue playing, showing strong leadership qualities in a lost season. They traveled to face the New York Jets in a Week 16 game perceived to be an easy Packer win. That was not the case, however, as the game turned into a very entertaining shootout. The Packers scored a season-high 44 points in an overtime victory that came down to the wire. Adams led the team with a whopping 18 targets. He caught only 11 of those passes for 71 yards but did haul in the walk off touchdown in overtime. He injured his knee early in the game but gritted it out because that’s the kind of player he is. Sadly, that knee caused Adams to miss the season finale against the Lions.

So Close to History

Adams finished just short of several major Packer receiving records in 2018. His 111 receptions were second in team history behind Sterling Sharpe’s 112 in 1993. He also only needed 133 yards to pass his former running mate and mentor Jordy Nelson’s 1,519 yards from 2014. Both could have been accomplished had he not injured his knee in that win against the Jets. This is also assuming Rodgers doesn’t get knocked out of the week 17 affair with a concussion in the first quarter. When both players were out of the game, it became painfully aware how inept this roster is. The team failed to score a single point in a 31-0 home thrashing by the Lions in the final week with Rodgers and Adams sidelined.

Adams was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row even after only appearing in 15 games. He played at an All-Pro level all year and almost received those honors as well. The Packers lack of success had more to do with Adams not making the team than his individual performance. Regardless, Adams is a building block for this team moving forward and his development has been extremely impressive. His ability to shed defenders at the line of scrimmage and production in the red zone are second-to-none. Adams continues to get better each year in the league and should be viewed as one of the game’s top five wide receivers.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty ImagesThe post A Look at the 2018 Season of Davante Adams appeared first on Last Word on Pro Football.
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https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/26/wide-receiver-davante-adams/feed/ 0 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/23/david-bakhtiari-best-pass-blocker-in-the-nfl/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/23/david-bakhtiari-best-pass-blocker-in-the-nfl/#respond Wed, 23 Jan 2019 19:58:22 +0000

https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/?p=57016
In 2013, the Green Bay Packers drafted left tackle, David Bakhtiari, 12th in the fourth round and 109th overall. The Packers selected defensive end Datone Jones and running back Eddie Lacy ahead of Bakhtiari, yet more than likely, if NFL teams had the foresight of what he’d become, he would have gone in the first round. In each season following his rookie year, Bakhtiari maintained a pass-blocking grade of 85.0 or greater. He has kept above 96.4 since 2016. In his tenure with the Packers, he has only missed six starts. Even though he battled multiple knee issues in 2018 and injured his hip flexor at the New York Jets, the tackle still started all 16 games. Through his toughness, leadership, selflessness, and talent, David Bakhtiari proves he is the best pass-blocker in the NFL.

David Bakhtiari Proves He is the Best Pass-Blocker in the NFL

While the 2018 season resulted in yet another early finish for the team, Green Bay can be incredibly proud of their left tackle who’s taking home multiple accolades. Zach Kruse, a managing editor for Packers Wire, reports that Bakhtiari was named All-Pro by Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the third straight year. This year, his talents were also recognized by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) as they named him to their All-NFL team for the first time.

Bakhtiari is the epitome of what the Packers’ offensive line should strive to be. The Packers offensive line was ranked seventh following Week 17, according to PFF. This was due in large part to Bakhtiari’s high-flying pass protection abilities.

Bakhtiari surpasses even Joe Thomas, who protected Browns’ quarterbacks for 11 years with 10,363 consecutive snaps, as the best pass-blocker in the NFL. According to PFF, Thomas has a career pass-blocking grade of 92.4, making him second to the Packers’ offensive lineman. Both tackles gave up 49 pressures. However, Bakhtiari did so on only 1,612 pass-blocking snaps while Thomas did so on 1,030.

Thomas was named All-Pro three times by the PFF, too, but they were not consecutive. Because of his illustrious career, he is beloved and esteemed by many around the league as one of the greatest left tackles. Certainly, a 92.4 career pass-blocking grade is rather impressive. So, to have Bakhtiari’s name mentioned alongside this great and have the stats prove he’s a little bit ahead of him is high praise. The best part is that the Packer is nowhere near done.

Bakhtiari’s Contract with the Packers

The left tackle is in contract with the Packers through 2020. Despite his peers, such as Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews, signing new and lucrative deals before the 2018 season, Bakhtiari is content with his current agreement. He told Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, “I’m very fortunate in where I’m at, and I’m truly happy for those guys and where they’re at.”

Bakhtiari said this of his peers’ new contracts in 2018– “That’s great. That’s great for the market, great for the league, great for the players – I’m just hoping that continues, not only on the left tackle position but across the board.” He is willing to patiently wait for a new contract that will more accurately reflect his contribution to the offensive line. His friend and quarterback received a well-deserved increase after years of waiting and negotiating. Hopefully, Bakhtiari will see his own patience pay off as well.

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In 2013, the Green Bay Packers drafted left tackle, David Bakhtiari, 12th in the fourth round and 109th overall. The Packers selected defensive end Datone Jones and running back Eddie Lacy ahead of Bakhtiari, yet more than likely, if NFL teams had the foresight of what he’d become, he would have gone in the first round. In each season following his rookie year, Bakhtiari maintained a pass-blocking grade of 85.0 or greater. He has kept above 96.4 since 2016. In his tenure with the Packers, he has only missed six starts. Even though he battled multiple knee issues in 2018 and injured his hip flexor at the New York Jets, the tackle still started all 16 games. Through his toughness, leadership, selflessness, and talent, David Bakhtiari proves he is the best pass-blocker in the NFL.

David Bakhtiari Proves He is the Best Pass-Blocker in the NFL

While the 2018 season resulted in yet another early finish for the team, Green Bay can be incredibly proud of their left tackle who’s taking home multiple accolades. Zach Kruse, a managing editor for Packers Wire, reports that Bakhtiari was named All-Pro by Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the third straight year. This year, his talents were also recognized by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) as they named him to their All-NFL team for the first time.

Bakhtiari is the epitome of what the Packers’ offensive line should strive to be. The Packers offensive line was ranked seventh following Week 17, according to PFF. This was due in large part to Bakhtiari’s high-flying pass protection abilities.

Bakhtiari surpasses even Joe Thomas, who protected Browns’ quarterbacks for 11 years with 10,363 consecutive snaps, as the best pass-blocker in the NFL. According to PFF, Thomas has a career pass-blocking grade of 92.4, making him second to the Packers’ offensive lineman. Both tackles gave up 49 pressures. However, Bakhtiari did so on only 1,612 pass-blocking snaps while Thomas did so on 1,030.

Thomas was named All-Pro three times by the PFF, too, but they were not consecutive. Because of his illustrious career, he is beloved and esteemed by many around the league as one of the greatest left tackles. Certainly, a 92.4 career pass-blocking grade is rather impressive. So, to have Bakhtiari’s name mentioned alongside this great and have the stats prove he’s a little bit ahead of him is high praise. The best part is that the Packer is nowhere near done.

Bakhtiari’s Contract with the Packers

The left tackle is in contract with the Packers through 2020. Despite his peers, such as Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews, signing new and lucrative deals before the 2018 season, Bakhtiari is content with his current agreement. He told Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, “I’m very fortunate in where I’m at, and I’m truly happy for those guys and where they’re at.”

Bakhtiari said this of his peers’ new contracts in 2018– “That’s great. That’s great for the market, great for the league, great for the players – I’m just hoping that continues, not only on the left tackle position but across the board.” He is willing to patiently wait for a new contract that will more accurately reflect his contribution to the offensive line. His friend and quarterback received a well-deserved increase after years of waiting and negotiating. Hopefully, Bakhtiari will see his own patience pay off as well.

Main Photo:
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https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/23/david-bakhtiari-best-pass-blocker-in-the-nfl/feed/ 0 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/22/packers-coaching-staff-taking-shape/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/22/packers-coaching-staff-taking-shape/#respond Tue, 22 Jan 2019 20:13:41 +0000

https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/?p=56991
Packers Coaching StaffIt has been two weeks since the Green Bay Packers named Matt LaFleur as their new head coach. Not only has LaFleur been busy trying to get accustomed to living in Green Bay, but he has been busy putting together his first coaching staff as the Packers head coach. His first decision, some would say his most important one, was retaining defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. With Pettine back in the fold, LaFleur can focus on filling the rest of his staff.

Pettine isn’t the only coordinator that has been named to the Packers coaching staff. Last week it was officially announced that joining the Packers coaching staff as offensive coordinator will be Nathaniel Hackett.

Hackett has been an offensive coordinator for two teams in NFL. His first stint as an NFL offensive coordinator was with Buffalo Bills from 2013-2014 under then head coach Doug Marrone. After his stint in Buffalo, he was hired as the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He took over as the offensive coordinator and play caller in week nine of the 2016 season for the Jaguars. He held that position until week 12 of last season when Jaguars head coach Marrone fired him.

In 2017, Hackett’s only full season as the Jaguars offensive coordinator, the Jaguars offense finished fifth in points per game. They also finished sixth in yards per game. That season, the Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship game, where they were beaten in by the New England Patriots.

But last season, the Jaguars offense struggled. A lot of that had to do with the quarterback play of Blake Bortles. Bortles performed so poorly, he lost his starting job. Some have said that Marrone made Hackett the scapegoat for the Jaguars overall struggles.

LaFleur and Hackett share similarities. Both are 39 years old and both are coach’s sons. Hackett’s father, Paul Hackett, was a longtime NFL offensive coordinator. Although he and LaFleur have never worked together before, they are hoping that their past experiences can develop a high octane offense in Green Bay. Most importantly, the duo is hoping to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ play back to the high standards he had established before last season.

Hackett will be the Packers offensive coordinator but he won’t be responsible for play calling. In LaFleur’s introductory press conference, he announced that he would be responsible for calling the offensive plays. This is similar to what former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy did for most of his tenure as the Packers head coach. Taking this off Hackett’s plate will allow Hackett to focus on Rodgers and the weekly offensive game planning.

Longtime Packers Coach Departs

From 2004 until last season, James Campen had been a part of the Packers coaching staff. He was also a player for the Packers from 1989-1993. But next season, Campen will be on the sideline for a different NFL team.

After LaFleur allowed him to interview with other teams, Campen was hired by the Cleveland Browns as their new associate head coach/offensive line coach. Not only will the Packers be losing one of their longest-tenured assistant coaches, but they will also be losing one of their best.

As the Packers offensive line coach, and last season their run game coordinator, Campen got the most out of the Packers offensive line. He helped develop current Packers offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, and Corey Linsley, but also former Packers offensive linemen Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.

Former general manager Ted Thompson never did Campen many favors. It was rare that Thompson would select an offensive lineman high in the NFL draft. Instead, Thompson expected Campen to develop middle round picks, something Campen frequently did.

Replacement for Campen

Now, the duty of coaching the men who will protect Rogers will fall on Adam Stenavich’s shoulders. Stenavich, a Marshfield, WI native, spent last season as the San Francisco 49ers assistant offensive line coach under head coach Kyle Shanahan. There is no doubt that LaFleur consulted with Shanahan before the Stenavich hire. LaFleur coached with Shanahan when both were assistants with the Atlanta Falcons. LaFleur was also an assistant with Kyle when both were assistants under Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan when he was the Washington Redskins head coach.

With the expectation that LaFleur will run a similar offense to the Shanahans, it isn’t a surprise that Stenavich would be hired. Stenavich spent just one season as the 49ers assistant offensive line coach. Before arriving in San Francisco, he was the offensive line coach for Northern Arizona and San Jose State.

While the Packers offensive line finished third in sacks given up, with 53, the 49ers offense wasn’t too far behind. Last season, the 49ers offense gave up 48 sacks, which was ninth in the NFL. While they struggled against the pass, they did help 49ers finish 13th in rushing yards with 1,902.

The hire of Stenavich comes with some major risk. The Packers chances of getting back to the playoffs falls on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. If he is hit or even worse, injured, their chances of winning all but goes out the door. That unit responsible for protecting Rodgers is now in the hands of a first-time offensive line coach. Stenavich has some big shoes to fill. If the unit he is responsible for falters, it will show poorly not only on Stenavich but LaFleur who hired him.

A New Face Joins Packers Coaching Staff

Another new face will be presumably joining the Packers coaching staff. It has been reported that Kirk Olivadotti will be hired as the Packers linebackers coach. While nothing is official, it is presumed that he will be the inside linebackers coach, a position formerly held by former longtime Packers assistant Winston Moss. Moss was fired during last season by interim head coach Joe Philbin.

Olivadotti comes over from the Redskins. He was with the Redskins for two stints, from 2000-2010 and from 2014-2018. In his latter stint, he was the Redskins linebackers coach. Just like with LaFleur, Pettine, and Hackett, he is the son of a coach. Tom Olivadotti was a longtime NFL assistant, most notably with the Miami Dolphins.

Familiar Faces Return

It has also been reported that some other familiar faces will be returning to Green Bay. Last season’s running backs coach Ben Sirmans will be returning to Green Bay. Sirmans was hired in 2016 as the Packers running backs coach. Under his guidance, he has helped develop current Packers running backs Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams.

While Jones and Williams have developed under Sirmans’ guidance, his best work might have been with Ty Montgomery. Sirmans helped with converting Montgomery from wide receiver to running back. While Montgomery never became an every-down running back, he did become a contributor to the Packers offense. Jones and Williams are still a work in progress, LaFleur is wagering that they can keep developing under Sirmans guidance.

Also reportedly being retained is secondary coach Jason Simmons. Simmons started with the Packers as an administrative assistant. He held that position from 2011-2014 before being named as a special teams assistant. He was promoted to the Packers secondary coach prior to the 2018 position.

In his first stint as the secondary coach, he worked with the Packers young cornerbacks. Last year’s first-round draft pick Jaire Alexander had a solid first season. Just like with Sirmans and the running backs, LaFleur is hoping that Simmons can keep up the work with Alexander, Kevin King, and Josh Jackson.

Although he wasn’t on the Packers coaching staff last season, Luke Getsy will be returning to the Packers coaching staff. Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com has reported that he will be the new quarterbacks coach.

Getsy worked under McCarthy from 2014-2017. He was the wide receivers coach from 2016-2017. Last season, he served as the offensive coordinator for Mississippi State. When he was with the Packers, it was reported that he had a close relationship with Rodgers. That relationship will help now that he will serve as Rodgers position coach.

Missing Out

The top three assistant positions LaFleur needed to name were defensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and special teams coordinator. So far, he has named two out of the three. But it looks like he swung and missed on naming a replacement for Ron Zook.

Under Zook’s guidance, the Packers special teams were downright horrible. Packers fans rejoiced when news broke that he wouldn’t return. It appeared that the Packers and LaFleur had their sights set on arguably the best available candidate on the market, Miami Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi.

Rizzi interviewed with the Packers for their open special teams coordinator position. However, he left without a contract. Now reports have surfaced that with the Packers refusing to pay top dollar for Rizzi’s services, the search will continue without him.

The lack of deal falls on the shoulders of vice president of football operations Russ Ball. Ball controls the contracts for players but also assistant coaches. If a deal couldn’t have been worked out, it isn’t hard to figure out who was behind the lack of a deal.

With presumably Ball refusing to meet Rizzi’s contract demands, the Packers now will have to scour the available special teams coaches market to find the coach to fix the Packers special teams woes.

A New Era Starts

It appears that the Packers and LaFleur are distancing themselves from longtime McCarthy assistants. Along with Campen not returning, the Packers parted ways with longtime Packers assistant Joe Whitt Jr.

Whitt oversaw the Packers cornerbacks for many seasons. Not only did he help develop young Packers cornerbacks but also helped veterans like Charles Woodson, Al Harris, and Tramon Williams become top veteran cornerbacks. Whitt wasn’t out of work for long. He was recently named the defensive passing coordinator for the Browns.

It is understandable that the Packers and LaFleur want to distance themselves from the McCarthy era, but he is taking a big risk in losing good assistants like Campen and Whitt. But just like with the hire of LaFleur, time will only tell if the moves he makes for the Packers coaching staff are the right ones. But time isn’t on LaFleur’s side. The Packers are a team that is built to win now, so LaFleur and his Packers coaching staff will need to get to work right away.

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Packers Coaching StaffIt has been two weeks since the Green Bay Packers named Matt LaFleur as their new head coach. Not only has LaFleur been busy trying to get accustomed to living in Green Bay, but he has been busy putting together his first coaching staff as the Packers head coach. His first decision, some would say his most important one, was retaining defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. With Pettine back in the fold, LaFleur can focus on filling the rest of his staff.

Pettine isn’t the only coordinator that has been named to the Packers coaching staff. Last week it was officially announced that joining the Packers coaching staff as offensive coordinator will be Nathaniel Hackett.

Hackett has been an offensive coordinator for two teams in NFL. His first stint as an NFL offensive coordinator was with Buffalo Bills from 2013-2014 under then head coach Doug Marrone. After his stint in Buffalo, he was hired as the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He took over as the offensive coordinator and play caller in week nine of the 2016 season for the Jaguars. He held that position until week 12 of last season when Jaguars head coach Marrone fired him.

In 2017, Hackett’s only full season as the Jaguars offensive coordinator, the Jaguars offense finished fifth in points per game. They also finished sixth in yards per game. That season, the Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship game, where they were beaten in by the New England Patriots.

But last season, the Jaguars offense struggled. A lot of that had to do with the quarterback play of Blake Bortles. Bortles performed so poorly, he lost his starting job. Some have said that Marrone made Hackett the scapegoat for the Jaguars overall struggles.

LaFleur and Hackett share similarities. Both are 39 years old and both are coach’s sons. Hackett’s father, Paul Hackett, was a longtime NFL offensive coordinator. Although he and LaFleur have never worked together before, they are hoping that their past experiences can develop a high octane offense in Green Bay. Most importantly, the duo is hoping to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ play back to the high standards he had established before last season.

Hackett will be the Packers offensive coordinator but he won’t be responsible for play calling. In LaFleur’s introductory press conference, he announced that he would be responsible for calling the offensive plays. This is similar to what former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy did for most of his tenure as the Packers head coach. Taking this off Hackett’s plate will allow Hackett to focus on Rodgers and the weekly offensive game planning.

Longtime Packers Coach Departs

From 2004 until last season, James Campen had been a part of the Packers coaching staff. He was also a player for the Packers from 1989-1993. But next season, Campen will be on the sideline for a different NFL team.

After LaFleur allowed him to interview with other teams, Campen was hired by the Cleveland Browns as their new associate head coach/offensive line coach. Not only will the Packers be losing one of their longest-tenured assistant coaches, but they will also be losing one of their best.

As the Packers offensive line coach, and last season their run game coordinator, Campen got the most out of the Packers offensive line. He helped develop current Packers offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, and Corey Linsley, but also former Packers offensive linemen Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.

Former general manager Ted Thompson never did Campen many favors. It was rare that Thompson would select an offensive lineman high in the NFL draft. Instead, Thompson expected Campen to develop middle round picks, something Campen frequently did.

Replacement for Campen

Now, the duty of coaching the men who will protect Rogers will fall on Adam Stenavich’s shoulders. Stenavich, a Marshfield, WI native, spent last season as the San Francisco 49ers assistant offensive line coach under head coach Kyle Shanahan. There is no doubt that LaFleur consulted with Shanahan before the Stenavich hire. LaFleur coached with Shanahan when both were assistants with the Atlanta Falcons. LaFleur was also an assistant with Kyle when both were assistants under Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan when he was the Washington Redskins head coach.

With the expectation that LaFleur will run a similar offense to the Shanahans, it isn’t a surprise that Stenavich would be hired. Stenavich spent just one season as the 49ers assistant offensive line coach. Before arriving in San Francisco, he was the offensive line coach for Northern Arizona and San Jose State.

While the Packers offensive line finished third in sacks given up, with 53, the 49ers offense wasn’t too far behind. Last season, the 49ers offense gave up 48 sacks, which was ninth in the NFL. While they struggled against the pass, they did help 49ers finish 13th in rushing yards with 1,902.

The hire of Stenavich comes with some major risk. The Packers chances of getting back to the playoffs falls on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers. If he is hit or even worse, injured, their chances of winning all but goes out the door. That unit responsible for protecting Rodgers is now in the hands of a first-time offensive line coach. Stenavich has some big shoes to fill. If the unit he is responsible for falters, it will show poorly not only on Stenavich but LaFleur who hired him.

A New Face Joins Packers Coaching Staff

Another new face will be presumably joining the Packers coaching staff. It has been reported that Kirk Olivadotti will be hired as the Packers linebackers coach. While nothing is official, it is presumed that he will be the inside linebackers coach, a position formerly held by former longtime Packers assistant Winston Moss. Moss was fired during last season by interim head coach Joe Philbin.

Olivadotti comes over from the Redskins. He was with the Redskins for two stints, from 2000-2010 and from 2014-2018. In his latter stint, he was the Redskins linebackers coach. Just like with LaFleur, Pettine, and Hackett, he is the son of a coach. Tom Olivadotti was a longtime NFL assistant, most notably with the Miami Dolphins.

Familiar Faces Return

It has also been reported that some other familiar faces will be returning to Green Bay. Last season’s running backs coach Ben Sirmans will be returning to Green Bay. Sirmans was hired in 2016 as the Packers running backs coach. Under his guidance, he has helped develop current Packers running backs Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams.

While Jones and Williams have developed under Sirmans’ guidance, his best work might have been with Ty Montgomery. Sirmans helped with converting Montgomery from wide receiver to running back. While Montgomery never became an every-down running back, he did become a contributor to the Packers offense. Jones and Williams are still a work in progress, LaFleur is wagering that they can keep developing under Sirmans guidance.

Also reportedly being retained is secondary coach Jason Simmons. Simmons started with the Packers as an administrative assistant. He held that position from 2011-2014 before being named as a special teams assistant. He was promoted to the Packers secondary coach prior to the 2018 position.

In his first stint as the secondary coach, he worked with the Packers young cornerbacks. Last year’s first-round draft pick Jaire Alexander had a solid first season. Just like with Sirmans and the running backs, LaFleur is hoping that Simmons can keep up the work with Alexander, Kevin King, and Josh Jackson.

Although he wasn’t on the Packers coaching staff last season, Luke Getsy will be returning to the Packers coaching staff. Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com has reported that he will be the new quarterbacks coach.

Getsy worked under McCarthy from 2014-2017. He was the wide receivers coach from 2016-2017. Last season, he served as the offensive coordinator for Mississippi State. When he was with the Packers, it was reported that he had a close relationship with Rodgers. That relationship will help now that he will serve as Rodgers position coach.

Missing Out

The top three assistant positions LaFleur needed to name were defensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and special teams coordinator. So far, he has named two out of the three. But it looks like he swung and missed on naming a replacement for Ron Zook.

Under Zook’s guidance, the Packers special teams were downright horrible. Packers fans rejoiced when news broke that he wouldn’t return. It appeared that the Packers and LaFleur had their sights set on arguably the best available candidate on the market, Miami Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi.

Rizzi interviewed with the Packers for their open special teams coordinator position. However, he left without a contract. Now reports have surfaced that with the Packers refusing to pay top dollar for Rizzi’s services, the search will continue without him.

The lack of deal falls on the shoulders of vice president of football operations Russ Ball. Ball controls the contracts for players but also assistant coaches. If a deal couldn’t have been worked out, it isn’t hard to figure out who was behind the lack of a deal.

With presumably Ball refusing to meet Rizzi’s contract demands, the Packers now will have to scour the available special teams coaches market to find the coach to fix the Packers special teams woes.

A New Era Starts

It appears that the Packers and LaFleur are distancing themselves from longtime McCarthy assistants. Along with Campen not returning, the Packers parted ways with longtime Packers assistant Joe Whitt Jr.

Whitt oversaw the Packers cornerbacks for many seasons. Not only did he help develop young Packers cornerbacks but also helped veterans like Charles Woodson, Al Harris, and Tramon Williams become top veteran cornerbacks. Whitt wasn’t out of work for long. He was recently named the defensive passing coordinator for the Browns.

It is understandable that the Packers and LaFleur want to distance themselves from the McCarthy era, but he is taking a big risk in losing good assistants like Campen and Whitt. But just like with the hire of LaFleur, time will only tell if the moves he makes for the Packers coaching staff are the right ones. But time isn’t on LaFleur’s side. The Packers are a team that is built to win now, so LaFleur and his Packers coaching staff will need to get to work right away.

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https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/22/packers-coaching-staff-taking-shape/feed/ 0 https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/11/evaluating-the-play-of-aaron-rodgers-in-the-2018-season/ https://lastwordonprofootball.com/2019/01/11/evaluating-the-play-of-aaron-rodgers-in-the-2018-season/#respond Sat, 12 Jan 2019 00:42:19 +0000

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The 2018 NFL season was a season to forget for the Green Bay Packers, as they stumbled their way to a 6-9-1 record and third place in the NFC North by season’s end. Their 6-9-1 record is more shocking considering the fact that the Packers had two time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers suit up for all 16 regular season games. Rodgers was heavily scrutinized throughout the year for his apparent poor play, but how poorly, if even that, did Rodgers actually play? Here’s an in-depth evaluation of Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season.

The Stats

To begin, Rodgers certainly did not perform at the MVP-caliber level we remember him performing at the last time he suited up for all 16 games back in 2016. His completion percentage dipped to 62.3% compared to his career average that hovers near 65%. His touchdown percentage took a nosedive to 4.2%, down sharply from his career 6.2% number. He led the league in throwaways, and seemed to be off-target all season long on many of his throws. Questions were frequently raised about his attitude and his relationship with former head coach Mike McCarthy.

All in all, coupled with the week-to-week drama and poor record, it was likely the most forgettable year of Rodgers’ career, even more so than the 2008 campaign that saw the Packers finish with a worse record at 6-10 in Rodgers’ first full year as a starter in Green Bay.

Rodgers Better In 2018 Than Given Credit For

In many regards, however, Rodgers was far better statistically in 2018 than people give him credit for despite finishing with below average numbers by his own standards. He posted the highest yards per game numbers we’ve seen him put up since 2013 at 277.6 yards per game. He posted the lowest interception percentage of his career at 0.3%, throwing just two interceptions (both coming off of tipped passes) to 25 touchdown passes. His yards per attempt number was at it’s highest since his MVP season of 2014 at 7.4 yards per attempt. Even his passer rating of 97.6, while lower than his career average of 103.1, was still higher than it was in 2017 before he suffered his collarbone injury.

On top of his statistical improvements, Rodgers also led impressive comeback victories vs. the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, the former of which was one of Rodgers’ greatest moments as a pro. After suffering a knee injury in the first half, Rodgers would return to the game and lead a ferocious comeback down 20-0, eventually leading the Packers to victory on a last-minute 75-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb to give the Packers a 24-23 victory. Rodgers also threw for 400 yards on three separate occasions, something he had only done five times in total throughout his career before this season, and set an NFL record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception.

Poor Games Down the Stretch Doomed Packers

Despite these impressive individual achievements from Rodgers in 2018, he played some of his worst games of the season down the stretch when the Packers were fighting for their postseason lives. Poor performances against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and the Bears in Week 15 sealed Green Bay’s fate, as Rodgers posted just an 80.9 passer rating while completing just 60.7% of his passes in those three games, hardly numbers you’d expect from the highest paid player in the league.

In particular, his performance against the Bears included multiple off-target throws to open receivers that would wind up costing Green Bay crucial points in a tight game. While his comebacks were certainly impressive and added to his legacy of being one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in comeback situations, his poor play in crucial games down the stretch should not be overlooked.

Conclusion

It’s fair to say that Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season wasn’t up to par with what you’d expect out of a player of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber. There were many highs, such as the epic comeback in Week One vs. the Bears, but also many lows, such as the poor home performance against Arizona that all but eliminated the Packers from postseason contention. That being said, despite the roller-coaster season for Rodgers and the Packers, Rodgers still played well enough that the Packers should’ve been able to finish with a better record than 6-9-1, and numerous internal issues along with bad-luck losses all contributed to a disappointing and forgettable 2018 season for Green Bay.

Overall Grade: C+

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The 2018 NFL season was a season to forget for the Green Bay Packers, as they stumbled their way to a 6-9-1 record and third place in the NFC North by season’s end. Their 6-9-1 record is more shocking considering the fact that the Packers had two time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers suit up for all 16 regular season games. Rodgers was heavily scrutinized throughout the year for his apparent poor play, but how poorly, if even that, did Rodgers actually play? Here’s an in-depth evaluation of Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season.

The Stats

To begin, Rodgers certainly did not perform at the MVP-caliber level we remember him performing at the last time he suited up for all 16 games back in 2016. His completion percentage dipped to 62.3% compared to his career average that hovers near 65%. His touchdown percentage took a nosedive to 4.2%, down sharply from his career 6.2% number. He led the league in throwaways, and seemed to be off-target all season long on many of his throws. Questions were frequently raised about his attitude and his relationship with former head coach Mike McCarthy.

All in all, coupled with the week-to-week drama and poor record, it was likely the most forgettable year of Rodgers’ career, even more so than the 2008 campaign that saw the Packers finish with a worse record at 6-10 in Rodgers’ first full year as a starter in Green Bay.

Rodgers Better In 2018 Than Given Credit For

In many regards, however, Rodgers was far better statistically in 2018 than people give him credit for despite finishing with below average numbers by his own standards. He posted the highest yards per game numbers we’ve seen him put up since 2013 at 277.6 yards per game. He posted the lowest interception percentage of his career at 0.3%, throwing just two interceptions (both coming off of tipped passes) to 25 touchdown passes. His yards per attempt number was at it’s highest since his MVP season of 2014 at 7.4 yards per attempt. Even his passer rating of 97.6, while lower than his career average of 103.1, was still higher than it was in 2017 before he suffered his collarbone injury.

On top of his statistical improvements, Rodgers also led impressive comeback victories vs. the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, the former of which was one of Rodgers’ greatest moments as a pro. After suffering a knee injury in the first half, Rodgers would return to the game and lead a ferocious comeback down 20-0, eventually leading the Packers to victory on a last-minute 75-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb to give the Packers a 24-23 victory. Rodgers also threw for 400 yards on three separate occasions, something he had only done five times in total throughout his career before this season, and set an NFL record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception.

Poor Games Down the Stretch Doomed Packers

Despite these impressive individual achievements from Rodgers in 2018, he played some of his worst games of the season down the stretch when the Packers were fighting for their postseason lives. Poor performances against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 and the Bears in Week 15 sealed Green Bay’s fate, as Rodgers posted just an 80.9 passer rating while completing just 60.7% of his passes in those three games, hardly numbers you’d expect from the highest paid player in the league.

In particular, his performance against the Bears included multiple off-target throws to open receivers that would wind up costing Green Bay crucial points in a tight game. While his comebacks were certainly impressive and added to his legacy of being one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in comeback situations, his poor play in crucial games down the stretch should not be overlooked.

Conclusion

It’s fair to say that Aaron Rodgers’ 2018 season wasn’t up to par with what you’d expect out of a player of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber. There were many highs, such as the epic comeback in Week One vs. the Bears, but also many lows, such as the poor home performance against Arizona that all but eliminated the Packers from postseason contention. That being said, despite the roller-coaster season for Rodgers and the Packers, Rodgers still played well enough that the Packers should’ve been able to finish with a better record than 6-9-1, and numerous internal issues along with bad-luck losses all contributed to a disappointing and forgettable 2018 season for Green Bay.

Overall Grade: C+

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Matt LaFleurThis past August, the Green Bay Packers signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a four-year, $134 million dollar extension. Unfortunately for the Packers and Rodgers, the season that followed the new deal didn’t play out as hoped. Rodgers suffered a knee injury in their season opener, which hampered him throughout the season. To go along with that, the supposed riff between him and Mike McCarthy finally came to a head. Not only did McCarthy lose his job, but for the second straight season the Packers missed the playoffs.

Though the numbers might not reflect it, 25 touchdowns passes with only two interceptions, Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense wasn’t what we were accustomed to seeing. The once mighty Packers offense, led by Rodgers, looked stale and discombobulated. With that in mind, president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst knew a change was needed. The team needed new leadership, especially on offense. While the whole team needed a new direction, Murphy and Gutekunst had to believe that the offense was the biggest issue when searching for a new head coach. The Matt LaFleur hiring pushes the Green Bay Packers all in on offense.

The hottest name in NFL coaching right now is Sean McVay. At only 32 years of age, McVay has helped mold the Los Angeles Rams offense into the gold standard for NFL offenses. Because of his creativity and youthful enthusiasm, these past two seasons have seen the Rams win 24 regular season games. He has also led the Rams to consecutive playoff appearances.

It appears that Murphy and Gutekunst took notice of what McVay has done. With the Packers offense suffering the past two seasons, it is highly likely that both men yearned to bring the same type of offensive explosiveness back to Lambeau Field that the Rams currently have. That belief led to the Packers interviewing and eventually hiring Matt LaFleur.

Paid His Dues

While some so-called experts believe that LaFleur got the Packers head coaching job because he “bro’d it up” with McVay, that is far from the truth. LaFleur isn’t a failed college head coach or a one-year wonder assistant. He has paid his dues as an assistant.

LaFleur has been an NFL assistant for 10 years, as a quality control assistant, quarterbacks coach, as well as an offensive coordinator for two different NFL teams. Along with his time in the NFL, he spent six seasons as an assistant at the college level. In college, he coached under Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. At the NFL level, he learned under Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and also McVay. In 2016, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons. That season, quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL MVP award.

In McVay’s first season with the Rams, LaFleur was the Rams offensive coordinator. That season, the Rams finished with an 11-5 regular season record and earned a playoff berth. Their offense led the NFL in passing and finished seventh in rushing.

Paving His Own Way

Instead of staying with the Rams for a second season, LaFleur chose to leave. He was then hired as the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator. He chose to do this because he would have the opportunity to call his own plays, something McVay did and continues to do with the Rams.

Although the Titans offense struggled, finishing 23rd in total yards and passing, their struggles weren’t all on LaFleur. The Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota missed a plethora of time because of injuries and the Titans also were without the services of their top two tight ends.

If this sounds familiar to Packers fans, it should. As Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com recently pointed out, when Ted Thompson hired McCarthy in 2006, McCarthy was the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator. In his lone season as the 49ers offensive coordinator, they finished last in total offense and 30th in scoring. This illustrates that LaFleur’s one season with the Titans doesn’t mean he can’t run a productive offense. The level of quarterback play between the Titans and what the Packers have isn’t comparable. Instead of dealing with a learning young quarterback as he had in Mariota, he will now be working with a two-time league MVP and a former Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Surrounding Himself With the Right Staff

With only one year of play-calling under his belt and being a rookie head coach, LaFleur has a lot to learn. To help him with the learning curve, it will be essential that he hires the right staff to surround himself with. That’s especially true on the defensive side of the ball.

Although nothing has officially been announced, it appears that LaFleur will keep Mike Pettine and the Packers defensive staff. This should be looked as a very big positive for LaFleur. Pettine is an established defensive coordinator and has a proven track record.

Many have heaped praise on Pettine for his work that he did with the Packers defense this past season. Although there are improvements to be made, the Packers finished 21st against the pass and 22nd against the run, the defense improved under Pettine. To go along with being one of the better defensive minds in the NFL, Pettine is a former head coach that can help LaFleur in dealing with being a first-time head coach.

Coaching Overhaul on Offense and Defense

While it appears the defensive staff will stay, the same can’t be said about the Packers offensive staff. LaFleur has inherited an offensive and even special teams staff that will need a major overhaul.

Frank Cignetti (quarterbacks coach) and Jim Hostler (passing game coordinator) just finished their first season as Packers offensive assistants. Even though both coaches resumes were littered with teams that had losing records, they were brought on to the staff. Their past working relationships with McCarthy no doubt helped them with landing their positions. With McCarthy departed, it appears both will be packing their whistles and clipboards.

Along with Cignetti and Hostler, it is highly doubtful that Ron Zook will keep his job as the special teams coordinator. Under Zook, the special teams week in and week out not only failed to produce but actually hurt the Packers in trying to win games.

Two possible holdovers could be offensive line/run game coordinator James Campen and offensive coordinator/interim head coach Joe Philbin. Campen has done a strong job with the Packers offensive line. He has helped David Bakhtiari become an upper-echelon left tackle and helped make Corey Linsley an up and comer in the NFL. He has also developed undrafted free agents into serviceable NFL offensive lineman.

Experienced Offensive Assistant Coaches Wanted

With Philbin, it will be a tough call. He has been a dedicated employee of the Packers organization for many years. When McCarthy was fired, he put his close relationship with McCarthy aside and took over as the interim head coach. Philbin not only has years of experience as an assistant but also has spent time as an NFL coach. If Campen is let go, it is possible that Philbin could replace him. He has experience as an offensive line coach.

If LaFleur doesn’t retain Philbin, it would be best that he bring in experienced NFL offensive assistants. Being a head coach is a lot different than being an assistant. He will be pulled in many different directions, so he will need to rely on his assistants. Like with Pettine, it would be best that those assistants have NFL experience.

Not only would it be best that they have experience, but that they have different backgrounds as well. It didn’t help McCarthy this past season when he chose to bring in coaches like Cignetti and Hostler. Besides both not having a winning background, both were close friends of McCarthy’s and it is assumed, just yes men to McCarthy.

A Leader of Men Required

The choice of Matt LaFleur as the Packers new head coach comes with a lot of risks. Having a great offensive mind helps but it doesn’t guarantee success. LaFleur isn’t just in charge of improving Rodgers’ play and reinventing the Packers offense. But he is now in charge of all aspects of the Packers. Defense, special teams, time management, and so on. He will need to show that he is the leader of this team. This means that he will have to earn the respect not just of the offense, but all of his players.

While McVay and Kyle Shanahan have shown that they are offensive innovators, neither have won a playoff game as an NFL head coach. In fact, in two years as the 49ers head coach, Shanahan has yet to lead them to a winning record. Being successful on just one side of the ball doesn’t guarantee championships.

If becoming a leader of an NFL team isn’t pressure enough, LaFleur will have the pressure of needing to win immediately. When Aaron Rodgers is your starting quarterback, getting to the playoffs just isn’t enough. McCarthy knew that and discovered that this season. Mark Murphy lost sight of that which is why he’s preaching how important it is to get back to the Super Bowl.

If LaFleur fails to live up to those expectations, even with it being his first season, jobs will be lost. The NFL business doesn’t allow head coaches time like they used to. If the Packers continue their losing ways, it isn’t out of the realm that LaFleur would lose his job. Joining LaFleur would be Murphy and possibly Gutekunst.

A lot is riding on the hiring of LaFleur. For Murphy and Gutekunst, they are possibly betting their jobs that he is the answer to get back to the Super Bowl.

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Matt LaFleurThis past August, the Green Bay Packers signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a four-year, $134 million dollar extension. Unfortunately for the Packers and Rodgers, the season that followed the new deal didn’t play out as hoped. Rodgers suffered a knee injury in their season opener, which hampered him throughout the season. To go along with that, the supposed riff between him and Mike McCarthy finally came to a head. Not only did McCarthy lose his job, but for the second straight season the Packers missed the playoffs.

Though the numbers might not reflect it, 25 touchdowns passes with only two interceptions, Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense wasn’t what we were accustomed to seeing. The once mighty Packers offense, led by Rodgers, looked stale and discombobulated. With that in mind, president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst knew a change was needed. The team needed new leadership, especially on offense. While the whole team needed a new direction, Murphy and Gutekunst had to believe that the offense was the biggest issue when searching for a new head coach. The Matt LaFleur hiring pushes the Green Bay Packers all in on offense.

The hottest name in NFL coaching right now is Sean McVay. At only 32 years of age, McVay has helped mold the Los Angeles Rams offense into the gold standard for NFL offenses. Because of his creativity and youthful enthusiasm, these past two seasons have seen the Rams win 24 regular season games. He has also led the Rams to consecutive playoff appearances.

It appears that Murphy and Gutekunst took notice of what McVay has done. With the Packers offense suffering the past two seasons, it is highly likely that both men yearned to bring the same type of offensive explosiveness back to Lambeau Field that the Rams currently have. That belief led to the Packers interviewing and eventually hiring Matt LaFleur.

Paid His Dues

While some so-called experts believe that LaFleur got the Packers head coaching job because he “bro’d it up” with McVay, that is far from the truth. LaFleur isn’t a failed college head coach or a one-year wonder assistant. He has paid his dues as an assistant.

LaFleur has been an NFL assistant for 10 years, as a quality control assistant, quarterbacks coach, as well as an offensive coordinator for two different NFL teams. Along with his time in the NFL, he spent six seasons as an assistant at the college level. In college, he coached under Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. At the NFL level, he learned under Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and also McVay. In 2016, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons. That season, quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL MVP award.

In McVay’s first season with the Rams, LaFleur was the Rams offensive coordinator. That season, the Rams finished with an 11-5 regular season record and earned a playoff berth. Their offense led the NFL in passing and finished seventh in rushing.

Paving His Own Way

Instead of staying with the Rams for a second season, LaFleur chose to leave. He was then hired as the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator. He chose to do this because he would have the opportunity to call his own plays, something McVay did and continues to do with the Rams.

Although the Titans offense struggled, finishing 23rd in total yards and passing, their struggles weren’t all on LaFleur. The Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota missed a plethora of time because of injuries and the Titans also were without the services of their top two tight ends.

If this sounds familiar to Packers fans, it should. As Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com recently pointed out, when Ted Thompson hired McCarthy in 2006, McCarthy was the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator. In his lone season as the 49ers offensive coordinator, they finished last in total offense and 30th in scoring. This illustrates that LaFleur’s one season with the Titans doesn’t mean he can’t run a productive offense. The level of quarterback play between the Titans and what the Packers have isn’t comparable. Instead of dealing with a learning young quarterback as he had in Mariota, he will now be working with a two-time league MVP and a former Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Surrounding Himself With the Right Staff

With only one year of play-calling under his belt and being a rookie head coach, LaFleur has a lot to learn. To help him with the learning curve, it will be essential that he hires the right staff to surround himself with. That’s especially true on the defensive side of the ball.

Although nothing has officially been announced, it appears that LaFleur will keep Mike Pettine and the Packers defensive staff. This should be looked as a very big positive for LaFleur. Pettine is an established defensive coordinator and has a proven track record.

Many have heaped praise on Pettine for his work that he did with the Packers defense this past season. Although there are improvements to be made, the Packers finished 21st against the pass and 22nd against the run, the defense improved under Pettine. To go along with being one of the better defensive minds in the NFL, Pettine is a former head coach that can help LaFleur in dealing with being a first-time head coach.

Coaching Overhaul on Offense and Defense

While it appears the defensive staff will stay, the same can’t be said about the Packers offensive staff. LaFleur has inherited an offensive and even special teams staff that will need a major overhaul.

Frank Cignetti (quarterbacks coach) and Jim Hostler (passing game coordinator) just finished their first season as Packers offensive assistants. Even though both coaches resumes were littered with teams that had losing records, they were brought on to the staff. Their past working relationships with McCarthy no doubt helped them with landing their positions. With McCarthy departed, it appears both will be packing their whistles and clipboards.

Along with Cignetti and Hostler, it is highly doubtful that Ron Zook will keep his job as the special teams coordinator. Under Zook, the special teams week in and week out not only failed to produce but actually hurt the Packers in trying to win games.

Two possible holdovers could be offensive line/run game coordinator James Campen and offensive coordinator/interim head coach Joe Philbin. Campen has done a strong job with the Packers offensive line. He has helped David Bakhtiari become an upper-echelon left tackle and helped make Corey Linsley an up and comer in the NFL. He has also developed undrafted free agents into serviceable NFL offensive lineman.

Experienced Offensive Assistant Coaches Wanted

With Philbin, it will be a tough call. He has been a dedicated employee of the Packers organization for many years. When McCarthy was fired, he put his close relationship with McCarthy aside and took over as the interim head coach. Philbin not only has years of experience as an assistant but also has spent time as an NFL coach. If Campen is let go, it is possible that Philbin could replace him. He has experience as an offensive line coach.

If LaFleur doesn’t retain Philbin, it would be best that he bring in experienced NFL offensive assistants. Being a head coach is a lot different than being an assistant. He will be pulled in many different directions, so he will need to rely on his assistants. Like with Pettine, it would be best that those assistants have NFL experience.

Not only would it be best that they have experience, but that they have different backgrounds as well. It didn’t help McCarthy this past season when he chose to bring in coaches like Cignetti and Hostler. Besides both not having a winning background, both were close friends of McCarthy’s and it is assumed, just yes men to McCarthy.

A Leader of Men Required

The choice of Matt LaFleur as the Packers new head coach comes with a lot of risks. Having a great offensive mind helps but it doesn’t guarantee success. LaFleur isn’t just in charge of improving Rodgers’ play and reinventing the Packers offense. But he is now in charge of all aspects of the Packers. Defense, special teams, time management, and so on. He will need to show that he is the leader of this team. This means that he will have to earn the respect not just of the offense, but all of his players.

While McVay and Kyle Shanahan have shown that they are offensive innovators, neither have won a playoff game as an NFL head coach. In fact, in two years as the 49ers head coach, Shanahan has yet to lead them to a winning record. Being successful on just one side of the ball doesn’t guarantee championships.

If becoming a leader of an NFL team isn’t pressure enough, LaFleur will have the pressure of needing to win immediately. When Aaron Rodgers is your starting quarterback, getting to the playoffs just isn’t enough. McCarthy knew that and discovered that this season. Mark Murphy lost sight of that which is why he’s preaching how important it is to get back to the Super Bowl.

If LaFleur fails to live up to those expectations, even with it being his first season, jobs will be lost. The NFL business doesn’t allow head coaches time like they used to. If the Packers continue their losing ways, it isn’t out of the realm that LaFleur would lose his job. Joining LaFleur would be Murphy and possibly Gutekunst.

A lot is riding on the hiring of LaFleur. For Murphy and Gutekunst, they are possibly betting their jobs that he is the answer to get back to the Super Bowl.

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