Many believed that some young, hot-shot offensive assistant wouldn’t be able to mesh with a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and, in essence, bring the Packers back to their winning ways.
Matt LaFleur had other ideas. The former Saginaw Valley State quarterback has the best record for a head coach in his first three seasons in NFL history, going 41-13 including the postseason.
That is an incredible stat and a testament to how LaFleur runs his team. He is a true student of the game and is incredibly consistent with how he coaches his players.
The Michigan native has won 13 games in back-to-back-to-back seasons. That is a long way from what Green Bay was at the end of the Mike McCarthy era.
Despite the efficiency of Aaron Rodgers, the offense was a middle-of-the-pack unit while the defense was in the bottom third of the league in almost every major category. Again, LaFleur had other ideas.
In 2019, his first season, the Packers didn’t do anything particularly impressive from a statistical point of view.
They finished 18th in total offense and 18th in total defense, but they found a way to win 13 games because they broke each game down.
They found a way to win each play, to convert that third down, to force a punt in that moment in the game.
They made the necessary plays when it mattered most. It resulted in a first-round bye and an NFC Championship Game appearance after missing the postseason in the two consecutive seasons prior.
In 2020, a COVID year, LaFleur led Green Bay to another 13-3 season. The Packers made a massive jump on offense by leading the league in scoring at 31.8 points per game, and they finished ninth in total defense.
Rodgers won his third MVP, and both CB Jaire Alexander and WR Davante Adams were named First-Team All-Pros. This past season resulted in another first-round bye and NFC Championship Game appearance.
In 2021, LaFleur coached his team to another fantastic 13-win season. The Packers were once again top 10 in offense and defense.
Rodgers won his fourth MVP and made it a point in his MVP speech to thank LaFleur for “supporting” him and “making things easier” for him on offense. However, Green Bay ended up getting eliminated in the divisional round by San Francisco.
No one needs to relay the message to LaFleur that he is missing a Super Bowl. He is a brilliant coach.
He has the Green Bay Packers in a great position to contend for Super Bowls for the next few seasons certainly, especially with Rodgers back at QB.
It is a poor idea to doubt LaFleur because of what he has done in just three seasons as a head coach.
Key players like Allen Lazard, Rasul Douglas, Elgton Jenkins and Rashan Gary have become fantastic players under the leadership of the head man in charge.
Look for this team to shore up its special teams miscues and have another double digit-win season en route to Super Bowl contention once again in 2022 thanks to the man on the sidelines.