The Packers 8-2 start can be attributed to the hiring of the 39 year-old offensive-minded Matt Lafleur in the off-season. Not only did the Young head coach come in with little experience calling plays but no experience as the leader of a professional football franchise.
His challenge: To convince an aging two-time MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback that although his Youth and lack of experience was looked at as a negative, he could provide the answers and offense that would bring the veteran quarterback back to the dominance that he had once had over the league.
Step 1: LaFleur had to build an offense that could challenge the veteran quarterback and take the pressure off of him, provide a scheme that made it hard pre snap on the defense. Additionally LaFleur used the talent around his elite quarterback in new innovative ways.
Step 2: Provide a defense that was complementary to what he was doing on the offensive side of the ball. One that creates short fields. Gets the timely turnover or that gotta have it 3rd down stop.
So far the young coach has done a great job of both because of the following: LaFleur’s culture provides a base that breeds not just the team aspect., but beyond that the family aspect reminiscent of the Lombardi era when the Packers were dominating the league and winning championships year in and year out.
It starts first with accountability and responsibility, but most importantly fun. He encourages supporting each other in the worst of times. Coaching and teaching each other to help grow as a team. Now not only has the quarterback Aaron Rodgers bought in fully to what his coach is selling, but he is becoming a living example and embodiment of the new culture for his young coach.
Example 1: Rodgers has worn a wristband for the first time in his career.
Example 2: Rodgers has made statements about not caring about his stat line, as long as he gets the win. The vet QB is no longer berating or yelling at receivers, teammates and Coaches when things aren’t going as planned. Instead they are working through them quickly. He is managing the game well and clearly more focused on winning than the numbers he puts up on the stat sheet.
Overall: When you watch this team on Sunday versus the 49ers, and as the season goes on, pay close attention to how the players act during the good times then react and bounce back in the adverse times. I say it couldn’t be any different from the previous regime over the past four or five seasons.
Matt Lafleur is building a winning culture and a sustainable model for success not only now, but for the sustainable future. Going forward it will be a lot of fun to watch this team grow, because they are only scratching the surface of what their potential is and what they will become by season’s end!