As eager as he is to start the 2020 season, Matt LaFleur is not looking forward to this weekend.
“This is the toughest time of the year for us,” he told reporters as the Green Bay Packers prepare to make their roster cuts tomorrow. “Any time you’re knocking on the door of cutdowns, you get so much appreciation for what our guys do. How they battle, how they come to work. It’s always tough when you have to take that away from someone.”
LaFleur is also tasked with preparing the Packers for their Week 1 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, which has an extra layer of complexity this year. There’s always an aspect of uncertainty heading into the first game of the season, he says, because of a lack of tape on your opponent. But even so, he feels good about their chances at anticipating what’s coming from the Vikings, especially on defense.
“We’re pretty familiar with the defense that’s been run there over the years,” said LaFleur.
The most obvious challenge heading into Week 1 is addressing the Vikings’ pass rush. With Danielle Hunter already on the squad, the Vikings added Yannick Ngakoue last weekend. And with the Packers facing injuries on the right side of the line, LaFleur is exploring all his options for filling potential gaps, including moving Elgton Jenkins to right tackle.
“I think we’re looking at every combination,” he said. “The goal is always to get your best five out there to give you the best chance to win, so we’ll look at everything.”
Jenkins has played a little bit of tackle in the past, with an emphasis on “a little bit.” Mississippi State put him there briefly in practice, and although it worked out in that instance, he ultimately spent most of his college career playing on the interior of the offensive line.