It’s not often a head coach’s second season is more challenging than the first, but that is exactly the position Matt LaFleur finds himself in with the Green Bay Packers.
In his first Zoom call with the media since training camp got underway, LaFleur acknowledged the strange environment the team finds itself in thanks to the ongoing pandemic and noted the team was going to have to be flexible.
“It’s all unprecedented. It has to be fluid,” LaFleur said. “If it doesn’t feel right or fit for us, we will make the necessary changes.”
He also said the Packers wanted to make Lambeau Field “the safest place in Green Bay” while understanding his players really hold the key to maintaining a safe work environment. “If we’re going to have football this year, it’s going to take a lot of self-discipline,” LaFleur said. “We’re all in this sucker together.”
After recent outbreaks among Major League Baseball teams, many eyebrows were raised about what the NFL was going to do as the season unfolds with much larger rosters and even closer contact. Isolating the team’s quarterbacks is something “that has been floated,” according to the Packers coach as well as having one single guy quarantined in case of emergency.
In terms of a lost preseason and a loss of game reps for younger players as well as tape for the coaches, LaFleur said the team would occasionally use Lambeau Field for quasi-scrimmages to simulate a game environment. “We’re going to have to implement more live-scrimmage situations,” he said.
Besides the pandemic, the other big topic around camp is how first round pick Jordan Love will mesh with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. LaFleur said,”Right now, Aaron is our quarterback and I see him here for a really long time.” The coach did acknowledge he did not know how long that was and “Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. But I feel so lucky to be able to work with him on a daily basis and I don’t see that changing for a really long time.”
LaFleur ended his press conference by telling media and any fans watching to “mask up” and with that, the coach ended his call and continued to embark on a training camp unlike anything in the National Football League’s 101 years of existence.