The next coach is …?

Packers News:

In a search that lasted for more than a month, the Green Bay Packers have found their next head coach.

Matt LaFleur, 39, is set to become the 15th head coach for the franchise, according to multiple reports and confirmed by PackersNews.

The Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator interviewed initially on Sunday. By Monday morning, the source said, the Packers began preparations to make LaFleur their 15th head coach in franchise history.

ESPN first reported LaFleur was the Packers’ top target.

LaFleur just concluded his first year as the Titans’ offensive coordinator after spending 2017 as Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Tennessee finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs, ending the year No. 25 in total offense and No. 27 in scoring. The Titans were 29th in passing with quarterback Marcus Mariota but seventh in the league in rushing.,

In 2017 in L.A., the Rams finished eighth in the league in rushing to go with the No. 10 passing attack in football.

Interim head coach Joe Philbin directed the team over the final four games of the regular season and interviewed for the full-time position after going 2-2. The Packers finished third in the NFC North with a 6-9-1 record, missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

The last time the Packers looked for a head coach, Ted Thompson was the general manager and he moved relatively quickly. Thompson settled on McCarthy, then the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, just 10 days after the firing of Mike Sherman on Jan. 2, 2006.

Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst met Friday with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Patriots defensive play caller Brian Flores about their coaching vacancy. On Saturday they huddled with New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and tight ends coach Dan Campbell, as well as former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

On Sunday, they interviewed LaFleur and former Dolphins coach Adam Gase. It’s unclear whether they spoke with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who was reported to be high on the Denver Broncos’ list.

Matt LaFleur joined the Titans in 2018 with nine previous years of NFL coaching experience. Most recently, he spent the 2017 season as the Rams offensive coordinator and helped Los Angeles rank first in the NFL in scoring and 10th in total offense.

LaFleur spent two seasons (2015-16) as quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons. While with the Falcons, quarterback Matt Ryan earned NFL MVP honors and the team earned an NFC  Championship title. In 2016, Ryan threw for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns for a 117.1 passer rating.

He spent four seasons (2010-13) as quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins and one season coaching quarterbacks for Notre Dame (2014).

Following five seasons coaching in the college ranks, he began his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant for the Houston Texans (2008-09), where he worked with the quarterbacks and wide receivers.

A native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., LaFleur was a three-year starting quarterback at Saginaw Valley State where he guided his team to the Division II playoffs each season.

I was correct that the Packers’ coach wouldn’t be coming from the college ranks, and that he wouldn’t be a former head coach, and that he would be coming from the offensive side of the ball. The only recent trend he doesn’t follow is having Mike as his first name (Holmgren, Sherman and McCarthy), but his first name does start with M.

I admit to knowing nothing about him, which concerns me somewhat. People knew who McCarthy was, though his association with losing teams was a concern. One wonders why LaFleur left the Rams (which came out of nowhere to make the 2017 playoffs) for the Titans (which did not make the 2018 playoffs), though the Rams’ departure might be because head coach Sean McVay, not his offensive coordinator, calls plays. One is also concerned that LaFleur ran an offense that was 27th in points and 25th in yards, though that could be blamed on the general manager for not drafting enough offensive talent.

Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press–Gazette reports that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is still under contract, so he and the defensive staff are expected to stay, though who knows.

 

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