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Sean McVay on Packers' hiring of Matt LaFleur: 'He's a great football coach'

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Sean McVay on Packers' hiring of Matt LaFleur: 'He's a great football coach'

-- There's no Sean McVay in Green Bay.

There is, however, Matt LaFleur.

For the Packers, this could be the next best thing.

LaFleur became the team's newest head coach on Monday, marking the succession of Mike McCarthy, who was the previous title holder for 13 seasons and helped deliver a championship in 2010.

The 39-year-old LaFleur is tasked with the job of helping Aaron Rodgers -- the Packers' starting quarterback whose age is just four years LaFleur's junior -- rejuvenate his career after an unorthodox 2018 season and reach the top of the mountain for just the second time in his 14-year career.

In a copy-cat league, the Packers are following the blueprint set by the Los Angeles Rams when they hired Sean McVay two years ago.

McVay, 32, has previous experience working with LaFleur on the Washington Redskins' coaching staff for four seasons as the team's tight ends coach. That was before McVay became the team's full-time offensive coordinator for another three seasons and landing his current position with the Rams.

He also couldn't be happier for his friend, who now gets to map out the groundwork for his own legacy with his own inaugural head-coaching gig.

"It's awesome," McVay told reporters on Tuesday. "I talked to Matt when he was going in to interview. He's obviously one of my closest friends. To see that for him, you couldn't be more excited."

With the direction the league is trending, teams are opting for more offensive-minded coaches in efforts to keep up with explosive, high-flying programs like the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints. The Rams, of course, fall under the same umbrella.

Both McVay and LaFleur worked in a Kyle Shanahan-coordinated offense with the Redskins. When Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator for two seasons, LaFleur was on his staff as the team's quarterbacks coach, providing one of the helping pairs of hands in quarterback Matt Ryan earning his first career MVP award and Super Bowl berth.

When Shanahan became the 49ers head coach in 2017, he wanted LaFleur on his staff to continue their extended tenure together, but LaFleur pursued McVay in Los Angeles instead.

Looking past LaFleur's lone year with the Tennesee Titans in which he served as the offensive coordinator, it wouldn't be a stretch to refer to his resume as an impeccable one.

A year in which quarterback Marcus Mariota dealt with his own share of injuries for a majority of the season along with the receiving corps, LaFleur's innovation and ability to adapt mid-season still flashed on display; the Titans morphed into a power-running team behind the legs of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis and as a result, implemented a heavier dosage of play action. A staple that LaFleur will certainly infuse into the Packers' offensive operations.

But above all else, LaFleur will need to win over Rodgers and the rest of the locker room. Whatever it is he's selling, they'll need to buy in early.

"He's a great football coach," McVay continued. "He's got a great understanding for offensive football. He's just such a great guy, where he cares about people, he's going to be honest with his communication and then he's going to be invested in working really hard in trying to put guys in good spots.

"When you see those types of things, you can't do anything but just really be happy for a close friend. ... It's an exciting thing for the Packers and for Matt, for sure."

The Packers officially inked LaFleur to a four-year deal with a fifth-year option on Tuesday. He'll be formally introduced as the team's new head coach during a press conference on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. CT.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

Any word on what McVay thought of the Packers' "futures contract" signings after the season?

Bearmeat's picture

I really like the hire's potential. Words like "delegator" "grinder" "respectful" "demanding but not demeaning" "flexible" "humble" "genius"

Like it or not, the HC is much more of a CEO or President of an organization. His job is to set the vision, to supervise, to delegate... much more than to teach.

This is either going to be a home run, or a strike out. No 8-8 stuff with this hire. I like the risk. Win or go home.

Handsback's picture

For better or worse the Packers picked a young aggressive coach....I think he's got the chops to do the job.
At least they didn't select Kingsbury, and now we will see how the Cardinals will remain top of the draft boards for awhile.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah. That seemed like a real reach. I wanted Kingsbury possibly as an OC, not as a HC. It's always a stretch to hire a college coach... that guy had better have a long and successful reign in college to know that he is a successful visionary and delegator. Although an innovative offensive mind, Cliff didn't have that.

FTS Messamore's picture

I remember McCarthy first game against the Bears, it was a shutout and finished the season at 8-8. Those last four games we won and beat the bears in the last game. Even last season, I read numerous comments about Pettine turning our Defense around, since he never had coached a squad that finished outside the top ten in total defense. I think "WE" as packer fans need to limit our high expectations. I'm glad we hired a young, energetic coach for the future because it is time for us to be "NEW." There are going to be some growing pains next season, but I want to see progress. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic. I am excited for the future and can't wait to beat the Bears again!

4thand1's picture

I fell into the trap of "high expectations" last year. Thought this offense would be top 5 and basically unstoppable most of the time. After hearing comments from former players of ours and other teams saying the Packers were running the same offense from 2011, I thought we're cooked. The NFL changes and evolves all the time and the Packers didn't. MM depended on his meal ticket and didn't coach, he lost the team.

kevgk's picture

I dont feel silly for my lofty expectations, the team flashed top 5 potential in both offense and defense, but who would have guessed MM would hit a wall, Graham would bust, Wilkerson would play 2 and a half games, and Cobb and Allison would be out by week 4? They had all the pieces to take the league over, just couldnt make it work.

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