For Green Bay Packers fans, the 2023 season has been a roller coaster of emotions. At one point, with the Packers sitting at 2-5, it appeared any chances of the Packers making the playoffs were all but over. With that, the criticism kicked into full gear. Packers podcasters who once talked about playoff hopes were now talking about firing anyone who played a part in the Packers failures. But fast forward to the present, the Packers sit at 6-6 and sporting a three-game winning streak. One of the driving forces for the turnaround is the recent success of the Green Bay Packers offense. A driving force in the Packers offensive turnaround is the job of head coach and play-caller Matt LaFleur.
Matt LaFleur Deserves Credit for the Green Bay Packers 2023 Turnaround
When the Packers were sitting at 2-5, many started to speculate that Matt LaFleur might be on the hot seat. While we didn’t think LaFleur would lose his job, we also believed his seat might be getting warmer.
But credit to LaFleur, he weathered the storm. Even during the Packers four game losing streak, it appeared that LaFleur never gave up hope. He preached about patience and having faith in his team. That patience and especially that faith have paid off.
Not only have the Packers moved into second in the NFC North, but their chances of earning a playoff spot have grown. With a very favorable schedule the rest of the way, it looks like a very strong possibility the Packers will be heading into the playoffs.
Many deserve credit for the turnaround. But Matt LaFleur should be at the front of the line when it comes to giving out credit. Especially with the work he has done with the Green Bay Packers offense. If not for the offensive turnaround, it’s hard to believe that the Packers would be sitting where they currently sit.
Taking Off the Training Wheels
One of the biggest criticisms LaFleur faced during the Packers early struggles, was his handling of the Packers offense. He struggled to establish the run but most glaring was his resistance to open up the offense for his first-year starting quarterback Jordan Love. It was obvious to most that LaFleur was handling Love with kid gloves.
But something changed in the Packers week eight game against the Los Angeles Rams. LaFleur started to slowly open things up, and with that, Jordan Love started to show glimpses of his potential. In their 20-3 victory over the Rams, Love was 20 for 26, throwing for 228 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception. While the stats were eyepopping, it was the confidence that Love displayed in the offense that made fans stand up and take notice.
In the Packers next four games, in which they went 3-1, LaFleur continued to open up the offense for Love, which led to even more success. During that span, Love would throw for 1,146 yards, 10 touchdown passes, and just three interceptions. By opening up the offense, and allowing Love to make the offense his, LaFleur started to present Love with opportunities for success. It also led to wins, which has helped the Packers to where they are currently at.
Finally Seeing the True LaFleur Offensive Scheme
LaFleur’s successful regular season record has a lot to do with having Aaron Rodgers as his starting quarterback in his first four seasons as the Packers head coach. Even LaFleur has admitted to that. While his time was successful, the task wasn’t easy.
As NFL fans know, Aaron Rodgers is very set in his ways. So when LaFleur took over the Packers offense, he had to adapt to his scheme to meet Rodgers demands. Not only did he do so, but he did it in a way that made the Packers successful. LaFleur doesn’t get nearly the credit for that he should.
But it also had many wondering what a true Matt LaFleur offensive scheme would look like with Rodgers now gone. In the past four games, after he finally took the training wheels off of Love, we are seeing it.
Not only is LaFleur trying to establish some semblance of a running game, but he is running a lot more presnap motion than he previously hadn’t. Not only are wide receivers Christian Watson and Jayden Reed running motion, but they are getting carries off it. By motioning it makes opposing defenses have to respect the possible jet sweeps. This opens up the play-action pass, which is a staple of LaFleur’s offense. It’s the same thing when it comes to running the ball with AJ Dillon, Aaron Jones (when healthy), and Patrick Taylor.
The scheme is similar to what San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan runs. It’s a scheme that has found a lot of success. It isn’t a coincidence that LaFleur and the Packers offense are now finding success as well.
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