Cory's Corner: Matt LaFleur For Coach of the Year

We're only halfway through the 2019 season, but Matt LaFleur just put his hat in the ring for Coach of the Year.

And it came on a simple third-and-5 with 2:00 left. Cameras caught LaFleur telling Aaron Rodgers to win the game and that's just what he did. Rodgers found Aaron Jones in the right flat for eight yards, putting the game to bed as the Packers beat the Chiefs 31-24.

"A risk that we were willing to take," said LaFleur. "I totally trust our quarterback."

If there was anyone on the 53-man roster that didn't have 100 percent buy-in before that play, they are certainly on-board now.

And it's all because of one thing: LaFleur listens. At the NFL level, egos litter sidelines, front offices and press boxes. Yet, LaFleur is willing to put his ego aside and confidently hand off the keys to his team.

In a summer that saw many national talking heads point to the relationship between LaFleur and Rodgers, those two don't just have a great relationship, they want to do what it takes to help each other.

"We're having a lot of fun," said Rodgers, who has thrown for 734 yards and eight touchdowns in his last two games. "It's a good locker room. Guys really enjoy each other and winning is a cure-all, but it's fun when you're winning with the right people."

That says it right there. I know everyone rolls their eyes when players mention that the locker room reminds them of a family and how each one of the players is a brotherhood. I get all that, however, LaFleur is really making these guys believe that. They don't want to win games for themselves, they want to win them for each other.

"Our guys, they're resilient," LaFleur said. "They didn't quit, they stuck together and found a way to pull it out. It was really encouraging at the end of the game when we needed a stop, our defense came up big and our offense was able to close it out in that four minutes."

The Packers are now 7-1. LaFleur only needs two more wins to tie Mike Holmgren and Mike Sherman for the most wins by a first-year Packers coach. And the funny thing is, nobody expected this. Many thought Green Bay would build on their six wins from last year, but not be in the running to be one of the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs.

And it's all because the head coach gets it. Davante Adams has missed four games now. Everyone knows that the Packers' wideouts aren't top-shelf, so what do the Packers do? They target Jones eight times and he has 159 receiving yards and two scores. Jones had 53 targets in his first two years as a pro; he's got 42 already this year and is on pace for 84. 

"I think this scheme has obviously given him opportunities to do a lot more out of the backfield," Rodgers said. "You know, we're splitting him out and throwing the ball to him. We kind of caught lightning in a bottle there a couple times."

Who wouldn't want to play for LaFleur? He knows his team very well and trusts them to do their job. Perhaps Bears coach Matt Nagy should be taking notes.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (66)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:23 am

What I really want to know is, when will Mark Murphy be held accountable by the board for his organizational changes that are totally destroying the Packers? Clearly it's been a complete disaster that he interfered in the coaching hire.

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Turophile's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:39 am

Sarcasm doesn't often work well on forums, but even I, who sometimes misses the sarcastic tone in a post, got it.

Winning can solve most problems, so the heat that some put under Murphy is deflected, minimised, and largely forgotten about, in the Packers stellar run.

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Bure9620's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:47 am

Maybe if they lose in the playoffs that talking point could return

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 30, 2019 at 07:45 pm

LOL

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:24 am

In the vein of our old friend TK...you gotta put in about a hundred of these ~~~~ after a comment like that!

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pacman's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:32 am

He'll be on the hot seat if we lose a game due to a special teams mistake - and didn't get MLF to fix that earlier. I don't know about anyone else, but I get nervous every time we kick the ball off.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:32 pm

Murphy and Low Ball didn't extend the green to the guy running the Saints sp team with efficiency. Murphy is not off the hook by any means.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:24 am

Now I'm confused.... I thought MM was fired last season?
Oh, wrong MM --- you're talking "Mark Murphy".

Note: The other MM (McCarthy) has supposedly joined a gang that goes from HS basketball game to game & beats up on HS referees... -- That can't look good on his HC job resume.

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fastmoving's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:31 am

Mark Murphy is really waaayyyy better than he gets credit for it. But like always, when he is gone, someday, he will be remembered as the one who did everything right.
The, of course, truth lays in between, but I like him a lot. As a player, as an exe and as a human beeing. For me MM is just "Packer People".....

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flackcatcher's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:26 pm

You know that hiring MLF was a Gute call. Murphy never had a say, the executive committee cut him out despite his public pronouncements. Man's been a lame duck since mid winter of last year. Kind of like having your ex-mother in law hanging around....

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flackcatcher's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:34 pm

There are moments when I should know better. This a Packer Fan site after all. PS. The Bears Still Suck. (insert evil fan laugh....)

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fastmoving's picture

October 30, 2019 at 05:37 am

Totally stupid (nearly trumpstupid) conspiracy theory. But today you may find 2 People who think you know something.
Funny.....
Mark M. is as smart as 100 such guys brains put together. But of course that alone means not much…..

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:28 am

""Our guys, they're resilient," LaFleur said. "They didn't quit, they stuck together and found a way to pull it out. "

With the close wins (and loss) this team has gone through this season, I don't think this is just a talking point anymore. Somehow--in a year--this team went from being lackluster and defeatist, to a team with guts and moxy. How did that happen? Much more complex than just a coaching change.

Who else is really a coach of the year candidate at this point? Maybe Kyle Shanahan.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:16 am

Sean Payton is definitely in the running too, by virtue of how well the Saints did with Brees out, but what MLF has done in year one so far has been nothing short of astounding.

I would also argue that Rodgers is a serious candidate for CPotY, and if they can finish in the top 2 for the NFC I don't think MVP is out of the picture.

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Gee's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:21 pm

If the Saints get 1 of the first 2 seeds, Payton wins it. People forget 2 of those games, no Kamara. Teddy going to get a payday, and right now my money on the Bears.

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sonomaca's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:44 am

People getting a bit overexcited. Kind of like when the stock market is up, up, up. R-E-L-A-X applies now, as well.

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Houndog's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:07 am

I like the sarcasm Jeremy, and I think everyone is pleasantly surprised and happy at the Packers early success under LeFleur, I know I am, but it will (and should) take more than a 7-1 start to satisfy Packer fans.
I'll give at least some of the credit to whoever it was that lit the fire under Murphy to get him off his a$$ and get the Packers back to being a Football Team versus Real Estate Moguls. Let's not forget who was in charge throughout their demise as TT wasted the end of Favre's and years of Rodgers careers
By restructuring the front office Murphy put himself on the hot-seat, and that's precisely where he belongs.
Keep those fires burning!

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fastmoving's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:34 am

You can be both…..a good football team and a successfull business. Actually, you must be both.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 29, 2019 at 05:03 pm

Packer fans will never be satisfied. Even if they win a Title they will complain about something. Packer fans are extremely spoiled. Seeing Gutey and LaFleur rebuild this team so quickly more than satisfied me. The Packers are fun to watch again and that's all sports is, entertainment.

Any number of things can go wrong going forward but this start? You bet I'm satisfied. I thought GB would be 4-4 or 3-5 at the midpoint of the season. It's a fun ride this year, whatever happens in the second hall of the season and post season, if we make it.

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JakeDickerson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:53 am

I think LaFleur is doing a terrific job, but I think people are forgetting about Shanahan in SF. I think to win COTY LaFleur is going to have to beat him.

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Houndog's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:13 am

I agree Jake, beating Shanahan and the 49ers will both be tough.
The parallel could be the relationship between the HC and GM which is present on both teams. Lynch from what we've seen thus far is a bit of a gunslinger and not afraid when it comes to making trades whereas Gutey's just getting started and doing well. Here's hoping it works out as well for the Pack as it has for SF.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:24 am

You don't get to midseason undefeated by accident, but certainly SF has had a cake schedule...almost as cakey as the Patriots' schedule.

That said, you can only play the schedule put in front of you and win the games you play.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:54 am

There is a lot riding on the outcome of the GB-SF game, no doubt, but regardless, LaFleur has done an excellent job. So far. The regular season is only halfway completed and I’ve seen the wheels come off before. Bart started out 7-2 once and missed the playoffs. It can happen. One week at a time.

I do like that we’re getting contributions from everyone and winning close games. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:22 am

"I do like that we’re getting contributions from everyone and winning close games."

If there's anything to be optimistic about, this says it very well. Both signs of good teams.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:38 am

No doubt, the 1st game after the bye against the 49ers is beginning to look huge. -- GB needs to bounce the Chargers & Panthers & then rest a couple weeks & put a hurt'in on the 49ers in SanFran. -- May very well play a big part in the playoff seedings.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:37 pm

Home Field. La Fleur will not blow it, like Big Mike.

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mnbadger's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:13 am

Appreciate the enthusiasm, but let's vote after the season. I'll definitely give him coach of the first 8 games. It's been fun so far, but the real tests come later in the year with the pressure on in hostile environments. If he passes then I'm all in.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:31 am

At this rate if he and the team keeps it up, absolutely.

Doesn't matter really,award wise, the changes he's already brought to the team, it's attitude and outlook, are enough for me.

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jhalwas611.com's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:52 am

I would like to know how the strength of schedules compare between the Packers and the teams with unbeaten records. That, for me, would have a large factor in coach of the year. I'm betting the Packers have tougher schedules than the Patriots for sure.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:29 am

For unbeaten and 1-loss teams...

Team---SOS---SOW (strength of win)
NE (8-0) -- 0.259 -- 0.259
SF (7-0) -- 0.327. -- 0.327
NO (7-1) -- 0.533 -- 0.519
GB (7-1) -- 0.508 -- 0.510

Note that the 1-loss teams have played significantly harder schedules...but it's all about when you play someone (as opposed to who).

https://www.espn.com/nfl/standings/_/view/playoff

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jhalwas611.com's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

Thanks for this info. I agree timing is everything but both one loss teams have had to deal with injuries also.

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Barazinho's picture

October 29, 2019 at 04:35 pm

We'll find out how good the patriots are this week, playing in Baltimore. GB has played some really good defenses - that should give them an advantage against SF.

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Gee's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:22 pm

Damn I loath and respect the Saints.

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Gee's picture

October 29, 2019 at 06:22 pm

Damn I loath and respect the Saints.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:20 am

LaFleur is definitely in the running for coach of the year.

What he has come in and done is truly amazing. Lets not forget it wasn't that long ago that people were saying that the Browns job was considered a better place to go then GB. It wasn't that long ago when people were out there saying that they would not want to coach Aaron Rodgers. It wasn't that long ago when people were predicting the Packers to win 7-9 or worse. It wasn't long ago when National Media was making a huge deal that there was a dispute between Rodgers and LaFleur over audibles.

What LaFleur has done has been very impressive. He not only has won more games then what some thought they would do. He has rejuvenated the team. He has brought energy to the offense and the team. He has been a great choice for HC thus far.

LaFleur has really started to put his stamp on this offense. The offense continues to improve each weak. And they continue to get better each week without their top Receiver. A top 5 WR in the league. The part I find more impressive though is how he finds weaknesses in defenses and attacks them. Against the Chiefs it was Aaron Jones in the passing game. He finds different ways to attack teams. The biggest difference offensively between McCarthy and LaFleur to me is how they use the RB's. LaFleur has the RB's involved in the passing game. Not just to block or go to the flat and be a check down. They are used all over and used in multiple ways. That is a huge change from McCarthy.

Another impressive thing is that we have not won a game the same way all year. LaFleur has adapted to what the defense does and is weak at.
These last few games are some of Rodgers best games he has played in a long time. He has Rodgers playing within the scheme. He is starting to catch fire quite honestly. A lot of that is credited to LaFleur.

LaFleur definitely is one of the top candidates for coach of the year. He has earned the right to be in that discussion!

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:27 am

Once again RC, you interpretation of preceding events is "spot on". --- You should compile all of your posts over the last few years & publish a book.. A very thick book.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:35 am

lol. I dont' think I would be able to fit it all in a book. I would probably have to make it a series of books.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:43 am

Sparknotes...

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Exactly. Who expected that 2nd and 2 play with Jones. One of 2 plays I was totally fooled or shocked by.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:32 am

"Lets not forget it wasn't that long ago that people were saying that the Browns job was considered a better place to go then GB. "

I seem to remember some people who were frequent posters who publicly claimed on this site, some at draft time and some when Laffy was named coach, that they were done with the Packers, it's self-defeating power structure, and lousy decisions, and officially proclaimed themselves Browns fans. Hmmm.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:50 am

Oh I remember that to Dobber!

Haven't heard anymore about it lately have we.

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fastmoving's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:49 am

Yeah, the power structur of death was one of the favorite conspiracy theories here. Even all that stuff makes probabbly not much of a difference, Im sure if we were 1 and 7 all the smarties would know the reasons for sure.
John Dorsey alone was way smarter than all of our stuff. Luck is always the deciding factor, but when everyone and his sister knows exactly whats coming next, you can be sure ist just the other way around.
And as the most people live already a couple of years on his planet, they should know that.
But hey, stranger things happend in the last couple of years in America.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 12:39 pm

...and certainly the Browns have played one of the hardest schedules in the league so far. Their record shows it. There will be regression to the mean and they'll look like a team that got it together in the second half of the year, is my bet. But they're still likely to end up a sub-.500 team.

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Since'61's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:33 am

This has been a surprising, exciting and brilliant run by the Packers so far this season. However, let's remember that the Packers haven't won anything yet. It is a little premature to be discussing post-season awards. I'm enjoying this ride as much as anyone but the only trophy that matters is the one that bears Lombardi's name regardless of whichever individual awards are received.

MLF has the right approach. Go 1-0 every week. One play, one series, one quarter, one game at a time. Make the playoffs, win the division, get home field, get to the SB, win the Lombardi Trophy. Plenty of football left.

As Lafleur would say, "let's go 1-0 this week by beating the Chargers." Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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splitpea1's picture

October 29, 2019 at 02:49 pm

Excellent post.

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Sol's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:48 am

I have to agree with your prognosis that LaFleur is definitely one of the top candidates for coach of the year. Also it has been a pleasure to see them win in so many different ways so far this season. But the thing that stands out to me is when you get media shots of AR and Matt talking on the sidelines, the respect seems to be mutual and growing. That is a great thing, that can't be taught or bought only earned. The dividends for that will be collected on away games and a run deep into the playoffs. Yes my friends the culture in the organization has definitely changed this year and I for one am a very happy camper!

Go Pack

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Lare's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:49 am

So where are all the so-called experts and ex-players that were writing and doing interviews in the off-season predicting disfunction, huge egos, meddling management and play-calling controversy?

Haven't heard a thing from them during the current run of Packers success.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:02 am

Most of them are silent or have been muzzled... That's what happens when your lips move & your brain is still in park.

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porupack's picture

October 29, 2019 at 09:52 am

Well, I'm not ready for COY discussion. What I love;
the dramatic use of RBs and schemes.
I. back to spreading the ball around
ii. diversity of attack per each opponent
iii. renewed run game and productivity
iv. more effective blocking schemes

What still bothers me;
I. still under production from tight end group
ii. not including more change-of-pace; increased pace (quick and timed throws like Derek Carr and Matt Moore had for cutting their offense loose.
iii. how long it still takes for WRs to get separation (despite speed).
iv. Special teams; need I say more?

An HC has to address more than the Offense, and even on Offense, has to do more than present success with QB, and RBs. A few more glaring needs need fixed before COY conversation. GreenBay is still second tier, and hasn't been dominant as Saints, 49ers, Patriots, and not even sure they're better coached than them, nor S'hawks, Vikes and Chiefs as well.

nonetheless, MLF has done a fantastic job.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:10 am

GB doesn't have to take a back seat (at this point) to any of the teams you mentioned... The 49ers & Pats are winning with strong defenses & questionable offenses.--- Only the Saints appear to be a notch above everyone else... New England is in the AFC.. I don't even count them... When GB destroys SD this Sunday, the Pack will be 4-0 versus the AFC.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:23 am

"The Packers are now 7-1." ----- "And the funny thing is, nobody expected this."

Again, the above comments are just mostly inaccurate... There were many posters here who posted a 10, 11 or 12 win season for GB back in August.. And it wasn't just "blind optimism". -- It was based on a new & aggressive regime (Gute/MLF), a healthy AR, great FA acquisitions & a pretty good 2019 draft class.

I will openly admit, however, I was wrong--- I didn't pick the Pack to be 7-1 at the halfway mark... I picked them to be 6-2.

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Lphill's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:35 am

If he goes out and finds a linebacker today then yes.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:38 am

Regularly checking to see if there's any movement here.

I don't expect the Packers will make any splash moves, but I sure wouldn't mind something happening...

I would rather have a DE or DT. Derek Wolfe anyone?

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stockholder's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:38 am

Yes he should be considered. He was the right guy for Green Bay. But , I don't like the talk. Talk has a way of being just that. Talk! Action speaks louder then words. The problem: WR, TE, ILB, and DL depth. If the pat on the back comes to early. Nothing gets done to improve the talent of the team. Isn't that what we saw From MM and TT, from 2010 - 2017? You don't see the patriots Talk. They still are trying to improve the depth and talent of the team. Devil be damed in the details. The patriots keep their noses in all trades and waivers. Why can't the packers beat the patriots to the punch? Save the honors for the end of the year. We have a team that is winning. To make sure it keeps on winning; Takes more then Talk.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:43 am

The coaches & players aren't talking about awards --- only the media & mostly the fans.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:12 am

Some of the names being tossed around (mostly by the media) on trade day are:

Trent Williams, Darius Slay, Ryan Kerrigan, Cordy Glenn, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, Chris Harris, Derek Wolfe, Robby Anderson, OJ Howard, Melvin Gordon, Nate Solder, Le'Veon Bell.

Robby Anderson -- OJ Howard -- Geno Atkins -- any takers? --- Any one would cost plenty.

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splitpea1's picture

October 29, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Yes, Geno Atkins. But I don't think the Bengals believe in trading their players.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 08:39 pm

I'll take Geno Atkins any day.

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Packer_Fan's picture

October 29, 2019 at 11:43 am

The Packer offense is beginning to mirror the Patriots. Keep going to the plays the defense can't defend. Hence keep splitting the running backs out wide. The Pack basically had two touchdowns off that. (If Jones didn't step out of bounds.) And one was a throw behind the line of scrimmage. The last pass was against a man to man and the linebacker had to play off. And let us not forget, Rodgers messed up a couple of these short throws at the end of games last year by throwing them short. When one is winning, everything works.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

October 29, 2019 at 12:39 pm

...too early for that nonsense.....now you're gonna jinx them.....

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

October 29, 2019 at 12:49 pm

The record was unexpected, but is making the football season for us. I admit, I wanted Gase who went to New York, but now in retrospect, I would take our guy. Coach of the year? We are only halfway through and the SF coach looks tough and it's hard to vote against Belichick who is also the GM and what he has accomplished and what he continues to accomplish drafting at or near the bottom of the annual draft. I've watched and studied football (as a fan only) most all of my life and I have never seen a coach who has impressed me as much as Belichick, in spite of having watched Halas, Lombardi, Shula, Brown, and Walsh their entire careers.

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splitpea1's picture

October 29, 2019 at 01:03 pm

The LaFleur hiring has certainly worked out a whole lot better than some of the names bandied around after last season like Fangio, Arians, and (never) McDaniels (footnote: I think it's safe to say the Colts found their man in Reich). So Murphy should be given credit for making the right selection.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

October 29, 2019 at 04:32 pm

LaFleur so far is offensive COY. He was brought in to rejuvenate the offense and he's done it. Rodgers is buying into the system and together they've done wonders winning 4 straight sans Adams, and with a receiving corps off the rack. But for all the upgrades; the Smiths, Savage, Amos, the D is still a sieve. Not SB caliber. Need a big interior lineman, all new ILB group, and a corner (King is hugely overrated and Jackson can only play zone). TEs and WRs are often two area codes away from our defenders. I have been ranting about the poor WRs since game 1 and have record-setting dislikes, but the receivers are not NFL quality, especially Allison, who should be benched. Somehow, LaFleur has made it work, designing an offensive game plan that virtually eliminates the need for WRs. So the D has taken over as the biggest liability to this team. Gute did nothing to shore it up at the trade deadline. I think that was a big mistake. His love of Rashan Gary seems not to have died it's inevitable death yet. A shame. That pick may have cost the Pack a SB, or two. Imagine a great rusher, huge DL, or a receiver who can get open, instead of what is likely the draft's biggest bust. But can't blame LaFleur for that. He's done his job.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

October 29, 2019 at 05:23 pm

The Packers are a hair's breadth away from being a top 10 defense in points allowed per game. They are 11th. They are 6th in the league in total takeaways, giving the offense 14 more possessions through picks and fumble recoveries.

That's hardly a sieve. Plus, they are not done. They are a work in progress. Savage just got back. Ibraheim Campbell is practicing and may step in as the extra safety/hybrid ILB. The rookies will continue to get better. I don't think the defense is anywhere near their peak, but they've been where they are needed to be to win 7 games. That's not a sieve.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:59 pm

Johnny has a tendency to show his ignorance & impatience... -- 7-1 & he continues to talk "doom & gloom".... Wow!

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flackcatcher's picture

October 29, 2019 at 07:09 pm

Couple of short points. MLF growth as a HC has been remarkable. Do not underestimate his ability to manage the egos on this team. I have been amazed at him deferring to Pettine, but he must really respect him, and we see all the results to date. The buy in from the players, all the players is special at this level. This is not one way either. From the technique changes in the O line to scheme shifts, the HC and position coaches are listing to their players. And the mental toughness this team has shown to date marks this team as something special. Special credit goes to the young GM who made the guts call on hiring an unknown assistant coach. Way to go Gute. (And NO. Mark Murphy did not make the call on hiring MLF. No matter what his 'unnamed sources' say. And before you ask, yes I do have a 'Mark Murphy' voodoo doll. Hanging next to my 'Jerry Jones'. Must be working.... :-)

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