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Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:34
by liny195
GREEN BAY , Wis. — Matt LaFleur has never been in charge of an NFL team before, and until last year had never called plays for one either.Packers CoveragePhotos of the Week: 7/21/19 – 7/27/19Packers rookie Gary’s biggest critic is himselfTop Tweets: Former Badger TJ Watt has impressive four-year transformationPHOTOS: 2019 Green Bay Packers training campPackers’ Rodgers, LaFleur ironing out offense, building chemistryPlayers to watch at Green Bay Packers 2019 training campLaFleur: Offense still a work in progress as Packers open campPackers release defensive tackle Mike DanielsGreen Bay Packers 2019 training camp primerPackers’ Rodgers not ranked as a top-5 quarterback in Madden 20On Wednesday, he took over the Green Bay Packers, who have missed the playoffs two years in a row — and a team with a two-time MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, whom LaFleur must help to get back to playing his best.“I briefly spoke to (Rodgers) prior to accepting the job,” LaFleur said during an introductory news conference at Lambeau Field.“That’s kind of how I had an idea that maybe I was in the running for it.”According to team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, LaFleur was by far the best of the other nine candidates who interviewed for the job after longtime head coach Mike McCarthy was fired on Dec. 2, with four games remaining in his 13th season in charge.“Obviously we cast a fairly large net, much larger than the 10 people that we interviewed,” Murphy said. “Went through the nine (interviews) and quite honestly, no one really stood out. There were a lot of strong candidates, but there wasn’t one that just jumped out at us.“Matt was our last candidate, and we’d heard great things about Matt through our vetting process. A lot of the coaches and others that we talked to talked about his background, his experience. So were really excited going into it.”Murphy, Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball then emerged from LaFleur’s interview Sunday in Nashville even more excited — and agreeing that they had their man, despite having planned to host a second round of interviews.After sleeping on it, they offered the job to LaFleur on Monday, and he arrived in Green Bay on Tuesday night to sign his contract.“It’s always been a dream of mine to be an NFL head coach, but to be the head coach of the Green Bay, it is surreal,” LaFleur said.LaFleur comes to the Packers after one season as the play-calling offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, a job he took a year ago because he knew he needed to “challenge myself.”He’d spent the 2017 season as the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator under Sean McVay, and Murphy said he believed LaFleur would have been “the hot candidate. He’d be flying all over the country talking to everybody.”Instead, the Packers were the only team to interview LaFleur for a head coaching job since the season ended.“It would have been easy to stay in L.A. You look at the roster and you look at the success they’re having there this year Aaron Rodgers Jersey , it certainly could have been easy to stay there,” LaFleur said, referring to the Rams, who’ll face the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC divisional playoffs on Saturday night.“I took the risk because I knew that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a coach.”Meanwhile, it’ll be vital for LaFleur to find a comfort zone with Rodgers, who is coming off a down season by his standards. Although he threw only two interceptions in 16 games, he also threw only 25 touchdown passes, the lowest full-season total of his career. He also completed only 62.3 percent of his passes, the second-lowest rate of his time as a starter, and finished with a 97.6 passer rating, well below his 103.1 career rating.Rodgers also played all season with a left knee injury sustained in the season-opener against Chicago and left the season finale with a concussion after three offensive series as the Packers finished 6-9-1.It’ll be up to LaFleur to get Rodgers back to the MVP form he showed in winning the award in 2011 and 2014, and in rallying the Packers from a 4-6 start in 2016 to a berth in the NFC championship game that year.The Packers lost that game to the Atlanta Falcons, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who won the league’s MVP that season.Ryan’s quarterbacks coach that year? LaFleur.“I’ll tell you what, I cannot wait to get to work with him,” LaFleur said of Rodgers. “I think he’s equally excited. There’s a lot of work to be done in front of us, but just looking forward to that opportunity.”At the same time, LaFleur will have to coach the entire 53-man team, not just the quarterback. And the Packers are convinced he can both lead the team and reinvigorate Rodgers.“I think we’ve got the perfect candidate to lead us to where we want to go,” Gutekunst said. “There’s one goal — always has been one goal — and that’s to win world championships. We’re excited to get started.” GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers‘ Davante Adams can trace his ascent to becoming one of the most productive receivers in the NFL to a cold night in late November four years ago.That game against the New England Patriots is proof of how much a rookie must be prepared at any time to step up, even against the toughest of opponents.More Packers coveragePhotos of the Week: 7/21/19 – 7/27/19Packers rookie Gary’s biggest critic is himselfTop Tweets: Former Badger TJ Watt has impressive four-year transformationPHOTOS: 2019 Green Bay Packers training campPackers’ Rodgers, LaFleur ironing out offense, building chemistry“Well I mean, I let everybody know as far as my approach to the game ever since I got here was just to be ready at all times,” Adams said this week.It’s a lesson that the Packers’ current crop of rookie receivers can draw from when Green Bay faces New England again on Sunday night at Foxboro.In 2014 Randall Cobb Color Rush Jersey , Adams took advantage of more looks when the Patriots decided to focus on then-top Packers wideout Jordy Nelson. Adams had six catches for 121 yards on 11 targets, getting as many receptions and targets as he had drawn the three previous games combined.“Yeah, that was probably my coming out game,” Adams said.Now Adams is quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ top option, the receiver that usually draws an opponent’s best cornerback. Adams has had at least 132 yards receiving in each of his last three games.“Well, he’s big for us. I think he can do it all from the wide receiver position and we’re expecting a lot of attention by the Patriots secondary” on Adams, coach Mike McCarthy said.If that’s the case, it could mean more looks for rookie wideouts Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Equanimeous St. Brown.The 6-foot-4 Valdes-Scantling has especially taken advantage of more work in recent games with injuries to starters Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. They returned last week, but Valdes-Scantling still caught a touchdown pass last week, his second in three games.Adams has offered simple, but important advice to the rookies, just like how Nelson did to Adams four years ago.“Don’t try to be (Adams.) Don’t try to be Cobb, don’t try to be (Allison). Don’t try to be anybody else that you see,” Valdes-Scantling said in recounting a piece of advice from Adams.Valdes-Scantling could draw another start against the Patriots with Allison listed as doubtful for Sunday after injuring his groin in practice this week to go with an already sore hamstring. Cobb is questionable again with a hamstring injury but seems to be improving.“Be yourself. Everybody does things well, but what you do well, just keep doing it,” Valdes-Scantling added about Adams’ advice.Adams has become an all-around receiver. Explosiveness and an ability to make moves allow him to gain extra yards after a catch.But while the 26-21 win over the Patriots in 2014 might have been his springboard, it took a while for Adams to gain the kind of consistency that now makes him an important part of the offense.For example, following the Patriots game, Adams managed just four catches for 29 yards over his last four regular-season games combined in 2014. Then he had seven catches for 117 yards and a score in a 26-21 win in the playoffs over the Dallas Cowboys.Adams has 28 touchdown catches since the 2016 season. Opposing secondaries have caught on to Adams’ rise, yet he’s still coming up clutch for Rodgers.“He’s going to look to guys who maybe he hasn’t looked to as much coming up,” Adams said. “If that’s how they decide to go about the game, remove (me) from the game, I’m still going to do my best to contribute as much as I can to this offense. I know the rest of the guys will be ready as well.”Linebacker Nick Perry (ankle) and safety Jermaine Whitehead (back) are the only other players on the injury report, listed as questionable for Sunday.