Why Matt LaFleur should be on the Hot Seat

As we all know, the Green Bay Packers mightily disappointed in the 2022-23 season. The fans of the green and gold watched in horror as a team that was projected on top of the division and the NFC plummeted in the standings and finished a mediocre 8-9. While many fans and critics have chosen to go after the front office and a regression in player talent from 2021, many overlook Matt LaFleur. Green Bay’s head coach had been nothing short of phenomenal before the 2022-23 season, steering the Packers to a very strong 39-10 record in the regular season, and racking up points upon points along the way. However, fans have seen over his tenure as head coach that LaFleur struggles mightily in the postseason.

When the lights shine the brightest, and the situations become the toughest, Matt LaFleur shrinks. The Packers have now garnered a reputation in the NFL community that they can’t get it done in the playoffs, and LaFleur’s first 3 seasons only influenced these opinions. In the conference championship game against the Buccaneers at the end of the 2020-21 season, Packers fans watched in horror as LaFleur called for a field goal as Green Bay trailed by 8 with 2:09 to play. This was a 26 yard field goal, meaning the Packers were absolutely in scoring range to try to save their season, especially with Aaron Rodgers under center. Not to mention, on the other side of the field you have Tom Brady, who is certain to finish the job. LaFleur made a crucial decision that killed any chance the Packers had at winning. This is just one example of LaFleur’s tendency to shy away from making the right decision when it really counts.

Packers fans were forced to watch their historic franchise drudge to an 8-9 record this year, with no thanks to the efforts of Matt LaFleur. One of the most troubling ways about how this season went is how lifeless the offense looked. Keep in mind, this is with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Aaron Rodgers. He may not be the MVP he once was, but he was still pretty good when it mattered this past year. The Packers also had electric rookie Christian Watson, and one of the best running back pairs in the league with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. So why was the offense so mediocre? It’s not Adam Stenavich’s fault, that’s for sure. This blame falls on the shoulders of “offensive-minded” head coach Matt LaFleur. To his credit, LaFleur has been docked the services of the best wide receiver in the league, Davante Adams. That being said, a star wide receiver leaving does not kill an offense this much. Teams can and will make adjustments to keep their squads in contention. Look at the Chiefs, who lost Tyreek Hill and still made the super bowl. The Packers don’t have Travis Kelce, but they had Rodgers and some dynamic guys around him. The shortcomings of Brian Gutekunst as a general manager clearly didn’t help this team, but they didn’t kill it either. LaFleur’s offense went from the premier of the NFL to a middle of the pack group at best. This year proved that Matt LaFleur does not elevate an offense to levels it hasn’t reached before, he only is capable of bringing a team as far as its star players can take it. Davante Adams proved this. As soon as his offense is downgraded, LaFleur flounders. We saw him do this in Tennessee, where in his last season as offensive coordinator he led the league’s 27th best offense, and now we are seeing him do this in Green Bay. He needs to improve big-time in 2023, or the Packers may be in serious need of a change at head coach.

It’s not that Matt LaFleur is a terrible head coach. He’s not Urban Meyer. It’s more that so far he has proven incapable of elevating an offense past its expectations. The Packers, unless they finally draft a wide receiver high in the draft, need a coach that can bring a team farther than it ever thought it could, a coach that can help make Jordan Love and Christian Watson a star duo. A couple guys that Green Bay could look at are Eric Bieniemy and Kellen Moore. Both of these guys have proven themselves as phenomenal coaches over the past couple years. It is known that Bieniemy wants to get out of Andy Reid’s shadow, and if he once again goes unsigned by a team, the Packers should absolutely consider him in 2024. Bieniemy was instrumental in the development of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, and he could be an essential piece for the development of Jordan Love. Kellen Moore, however, has not been as consistent as Bieniemy. Dallas has shown itself to be a bit rocky as a team, but Moore stands as a very talented coach. His move to Los Angeles could prove to be very fruitful for him, and he is likely to prove to the NFL world that he is a force to be reckoned with. Moore is one of the more creative play callers in the league, and he could bring an added flavor to the Packers offense that Matt LaFleur hasn’t quite shown. While both these guys are phenomenal options, they are also both likely to be unavailable in 2024. Bieniemy is always a talked about name in the head coaching openings business, and Kellen Moore has taken a job with the Chargers that could give him a head coach opening in 2024. Brandon Staley has been fairly heavily scrutinized in his tenure with the Chargers, especially with a quarterback like Justin Herbert. Moore could be choosing the Chargers because of the fast-track to head coaching they offer. That being said, if either Eric Bieniemy or Kellen Moore are available in 2024 to be interviewed, the Green Bay Packers front office should at least consider the possibility that LaFleur isn’t the answer, granted the green and gold offense continues to disappoint.
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