Before the 2019 season, many worried how new head coach, Matt LaFleur, and quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, would get along. There was a lot of speculation around their relationship, especially when reports came out that LaFleur might have an issue with Rodgers calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. In the quarterback’s prior 11 years starting for the Green Bay Packers, he had become accustomed to making changes when he felt they were needed. The media had a field day with this news and painted a picture of a rift between the veteran quarterback and first-year head coach.
In September 2019, prior to the first game of the season, Coach LaFleur said, “We’ve given him all the freedom. So, if he sees something, he’s got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play. We’re not going to take that from him.” This quote is proof that LaFleur trusted his quarterback, even in the very beginning. Sure, the two were starting a new partnership. There was a lot of room for growth, and over the season, the two became closer. The way Rodgers and LaFleur interacted on the sidelines and talked about each other in press conferences showed the high level of respect they have for one another.
Importance of Relationship Between Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur
The Packers ended the regular season with a 13-3 record, which most certainly didn’t expect to see. Their continued success was largely connected to the positive vibes that came from Rodgers and LaFleur. They found a way to make compromises and lead the team to the NFC Championship game. While they fell short of the Super Bowl, the Packers have a lot to be proud of and build upon. The best change the team made under LaFleur was playing more as a team rather than solely depending on Rodgers. For the first time, he didn’t have to perform at a superhuman level, so the team could win.
At the Combine, LaFleur had a lot to say about how Rodgers performed in 2019. Many were quick to point out that Rodgers didn’t put up the numbers he typically does. He only had a 95.4 passer rating this year, which is a step down from the last few years of 97.6, 97.2, and 104.2. LaFleur explained that regardless of the numbers, he feels Rodgers had a successful year.
Numbers Aren’t Everything
In response to questions about his quarterback’s 2019 stats, LaFleur said, “Yeah, I’ll be honest. The passing rating, I don’t even look at that anymore. I don’t think it’s a true indication of evaluating whether a quarterback played well or not.” LaFleur went on to say, “I think there’s so many other factors that go into that.”
LaFleur has a point. While it’s important to look at the numbers, they don’t tell the whole story. Sure, Aaron Rodgers had a lower passer rating in 2019 than in recent years. Did that number take away from the 13-3 record? No. Packers fans should be encouraged to see that the team is leaning on their quarterback less and helping him more. If this team continues to build on this progress, they could easily get back to the NFC Championship game and possibly win the Super Bowl.
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