Packers find their man in LaFleur

Well, the Green Bay Packers got their man.
Time will tell whether they made the right choice in Matt LaFleur, pronounced "la-flew-er."
At the tender age of 39, La Fleur begins his 11th year coaching in the NFL and his 18th overall in coaching.
His impressive credentials are almost as glowing as the comments from current and former players and coaches around the league.
Personally, I'm taking a "wait and see" attitude toward LaFleur becoming Green Bay's head coach, although I am already impressed with a few things.

No. 1 - While some critics wonder why the Packers made such a quick decision, it was an excellent move. The front office apparently didn't want to risk losing LaFleur to another NFL team searching for a head coach. The move also gives LaFleur more time to meet with his current coaching staff, decide which assistants to keep or let go, more time to prepare for the draft, and to familiarize himself with the Packers front office and the Green Bay community in general.

No. 2 - La Fleur retained defense coordinator Mike Pettine. That was an excellent move in my book. Admit it, despite all the injuries, Pettine's defense played well. He deserves a ton of credit for the job he did with what he had to work with as far as talent and healthy bodies all season. Consider the 31-0 shellacking by the lowly Detroit Lions in the finale. Only three of the preferred 11 Green Bay defensive players on the roster finished the game. What's the saying? "It's hard to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Pettine, who is very highly regarded around the league, certainly deserves more than one year. He also deserves much more talent and fewer injuries before deciding whether he is the right man for the job.

No. 3 - I'm extremely happy Green Bay didn't hire current New England Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. How could anyone trust he wouldn't back out of the Packers job at the last minute and return to the Pats like he did last year with the Indianapolis Colts? And then when McDaniels said earlier this week that he "would only accept the Packers' job, or would return to the Patriots," sealed it for me. He was simply saying "Packers, HIRE ME!"

No. 4 - I believe LaFleur and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers will develop a good, honest chemistry by finding a true comfort level with each other. They should also be able to feed off each other with the knowledge they have gained on and off the field. After all, LaFleur was a pretty fair quarterback, too. A native of Mount Pleasant, Mich., LaFleur played receiver for two seasons at Western Michigan before transferring to play quarterback at Saginaw Valley State in 2000. LaFleur led the Cardinals to three consecutive NCAA Division II playoff appearances and was twice named the team’s MVP (2001-02).

No. 5 - I believe the running game will be much more apparent under LaFleur. Look for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to get more carries. A strong running game always complements an excellent passing attack. It will also take some pressure off Rodgers, thus giving him a chance to "manage" the game more like New England's 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady rather than putting everything on his shoulders and his 35-year-old arm.

Hopefully, LaFleur will put Green Bay back on top of the NFC North Division and onto the road to the Super Bowl very soon. It happens very quickly in the up-and-down NFL. One only has to look as far as Packers' division rivals Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings

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