With Green Bay’s season now complete, it’s time to grade out the 2022 Packers. As the weeks go by, we will take a look at each position for the Packers, as well as the Packers defensive coaching staff. But today, we grade out Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay Packers offensive coaching staff.
Grading Matt LaFleur, Packers Offensive Coaching Staff
For the first time as the Packers head coach, Matt LaFleur finished with a losing record. It was a disappointing season for the Packers, especially for those who considered Green Bay to be Super Bowl contenders. While the Packers had a few bright spots, those bright spots were overshadowed by disappointments this season.
Matt LaFleur has said that he will evaluate the Packers program “with a fine tooth comb“. If he is truly going to do that, he will need to evaluate himself and the rest of the Green Bay Packers coaching staff. The evaluation, especially of himself, will no doubt uncover some very disappointing efforts.
LaFleur has said that he expects to have all of his coaching staff return in 2023. It seems baffling, as well as foolish, to do so. For a team that had such high expectations, and failed to meet them, you would think he would make some adjustments to his staff. But it appears that LaFleur seems content with what he saw.
Head Coach and Play Caller
With Matt LaFleur being the head coach and offensive play caller, he gets graded twice. In both cases, his efforts didn’t grade out very well.
LaFleur knew going into this season that the Green Bay Packers offense would look a lot different. With star wide receiver, Davante Adams shipped to the Las Vegas Raiders, the offense would be missing their biggest weapon in the passing attack. But even with having more than enough time to prepare, LaFleur never put together a competent offense. In fact, even late in the season, the Packers were still trying to find an offensive identity.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was the NFL MVP the prior season, took a step back this season. It appeared that Rodgers struggled to truly buy into whatever LaFleur was trying to establish. The Packers possess a strong run game, but LaFleur never truly embraced it. His play calling was at best uneven and that held back the Packers from establishing an identity.
Since Matt LaFleur has run the Green Bay Packer offense, he has frequently said he wants the offense to be “all gas, no brakes”. But this season, it was mostly “all brake, no gas”. There was a stretch when LaFleur and Rodgers finally started to utilize ultra-talented rookie wide receiver, Christian Watson. But it can be argued, it wasn’t enough. In many cases, LaFleur and Rodgers forced the ball to veteran wide receiver Allen Lazard. It appeared that LaFleur and Rodgers were trying to make Lazard a number-one wide receiver, something he isn’t.
LaFleur’s playcalling wasn’t the only area in which LaFleur struggled in. As the head coach, LaFleur didn’t display the type of leadership that is required from an NFL head coach. This season, the Packers looked undisciplined. It has been a long time since Packers fans have seen a Packers team so penalized. That lack of discipline falls on the shoulders of the head coach. The only bright spot for LaFleur, the head coach, was the Packers late-season four-game winning streak. If not for that LaFleur would have received an F.
Grade as a Head Coach: D, Grade as a Play Caller: D-
After an impressive stint as the Packers offensive line coach, Adam Stenavich earned a promotion to the Packers offensive coordinator position. It was a promotion that was well earned by Stenavich. Under his guidance as the offensive line coach, the Green Bay Packers offensive line had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. He did this while having to deal with an array of injuries to key Packers offensive linemen.
But by moving Stenavich to offensive coordinator, LaFleur weakened his coaching staff. Stenavich was one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. By having him move positions, it took him away from something he thrived at. With Matt LaFleur being the offensive play-caller, the Packers offensive coordinator position isn’t as vital as it is for other teams whose head coach isn’t the offensive play-caller.
Knowing that the idea that the Packers would be better off with a new offensive coordinator is laughable. In fact, if LaFleur were to replace Stenavich as the offensive coordinator (possibly with former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett), it would just make Stenavich a scapegoat for the Packers poor offensive performance this season. Something that we doubt LaFleur would do.
Giving Stenavich a grade, since he doesn’t call the plays, as the offensive coordinator is impossible to do. It wasn’t Stenavich’s fault that he was moved to a position that weakened the Green Bay Packers offensive coaching staff.
Offensive Line Coach
Green Bay Packers offensive line coach Luke Butkus faced a tough task in his first season as the man in charge of the offensive line. The Packers top two offensive linemen, Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari, were both coming off injuries and weren’t completely at one hundred percent this season. In fact, Bakhtiari missed time this season due to the injury he suffered in 2020. If that wasn’t tough enough, Butkus was working in the shadow of Stenavich, who is still on the Green Bay Packers offensive coaching staff.
While the Packers offensive line had its struggles, Butkus still did a decent job. Not only did he have to deal with Bakhtiari missing time, but he also had to deal with injuries to Yosh Nijman and backup offensive lineman Jake Hanson. With Bakhtiari and Nijman dealing with injuries, it forced Zach Tom into action. The rookie was a bright spot on the Packers offensive line. He was capable of stepping in at both left and right tackle in place of Bakhtiari and Nijman.
One knock on Butkus is the play of former second-round selection and starting center Josh Myers. Myers had a regression this season. In fact, at times, Myers was downright awful. Butkus will need to make sure that this season was just a hiccup for Myers.
On Aaron Rodgers request, the Packers brought back Tom Clements as their quarterbacks coach this season. Clements was Rodgers first quarterbacks coach and has been given him a lot of credit for the player Rodgers has become.
While we do credit Clements for Rodgers development, it doesn’t seem like his return helped Rodgers much this season. Rodgers had a down season, and while he did deal with a fractured thumb, his decision-making looked nothing like it once did. As a quarterbacks coach, part of your job is to get the quarterback ready mentally.
Clements didn’t do much for his reputation as a quarterbacks coach this season when Rodgers stated that Clements gave him a high grade after a lackluster performance against the Washington Commanders. Not sure what curve Clements was grading on, but that high grade gave the appearance that he was on the coaching staff to fetch Rodgers coffee.
One positive for Clements was the play of backup quarterback Jordan Love in Packers loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Love’s play in that game looked poised and precise. In fact, it’s the best Love has looked when he has been forced into action as a Packer. Clements should be given some credit, although not much, for that.