Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert, who has since transitioned to becoming a content creator, has been critical of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur via multiple mediums over the last week. Benkert, who played under LaFleur from May 2021 until June 2022, got the ball rolling when answering a question on a stream.
Stream host: What was Kurt’s least favorite coordinator to work with?
Benkert: So I’m gonna go head coaches here. I played for Dan Quinn, who I absolutely love. I really loved Kyle Shanahan, and LaFleur and I really butted heads. I will just be very honest about it. The beginning things were really good. By the time that I got released from the Packers, transparently, I went home after an OTA practice and I just told my wife, “Dude I cannot do this shit anymore.” It is driving me insane, because I was just like getting it, dude. It’s offseason. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t there to kind of lighten up the mood. A lot of coaches had left. Some players had left. It was that new year, and then I ended up getting cut like three weeks later, thankfully. He was just unloading on me every day, and I didn’t take it anymore, and that’s why I ended up getting cut. And it kind of left a really sour taste in my mouth, because I freaking loved Green Bay. I rode for it.
Tell me how you really feel, Kurt! After his Packers career, which really amounted to being a practice team quarterback aside from a kneel-down situation that Benkert was allowed to participate in, Benkert signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an off-and-on practice squad member for about two months in 2022. He later signed with San Antonio Brahamas of the XFL, where he would break his ribs — which he played through for a couple more drives before being placed on the league’s reserve list in April of 2023.
With the clip of Benkert’s comments on the stream going semi-viral, Benkert made some follow-up comments on Twitter/X discussing his opinion on the situation. In the first of lengthy posts, here’s what Benkert noted:
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my opinion / experience with MLF and will be very transparent on my comments of us “butting heads”.
I’ll start by giving my honest opinions about the scheme. It’s outdated, and there is a better way to play offense right now. I’m not going to go into full detail but I talk about this stuff all the time on my reviews.
On a personal level, outside of football - our personalities couldn’t have been more opposite and when you spend countless hours with someone in a meeting room you grow to know them. My personality meshed really well with some of the other coaches, and not so much with his. Those coaches left and I was released soon after. Have you ever had a boss that you don’t vibe with? Same thing, is what it is and people move on.
Add to this, when you’re in a quarterback room, regardless of position on the roster - you’re expected to contribute and speak up - especially a room with Aaron Rodgers. If you think keeping your opinion to yourself was an option - on scheme, play design, matchups, etc - good luck with that.
So over a year of giving my point of view on how I see the game, offense, mixed in with the fact that I was doing a lot in the gaming / media space while being a player — it was clear that it wasn’t liked so much. So regardless of how well I felt I was playing - it didn’t really matter. At the end of the day I was a dispensable practice squad player. My perspective in conversation, added in with my projects off the field weren’t a fit for the head coach (even though it was appreciated by others).
If you think players only get cut over performance or personal conduct issues, you may have forgotten that sometimes people just have different personalities that don’t fit with the ones in charge. I’m sure some of you have experienced this before and the NFL is no different.
He later made comments about Shanahan, who runs a similar style of offense to LaFleur and coached with LaFleur in Houston, Washington and Atlanta in prior stops. As you can imagine, the comparisons and contrasts of how the two coaches were spoken about by Benkert threw gasoline on the fire.
Someone asked me “what stuck out the most about Shanahan to you?” in regards to my time with the 49ers.
Here’s my response:
1. He’s a learner and his willingness to accept that he doesn’t have all the answers was glaring. He also would go to the ends of the earth each week to find the answers for that weeks game plan. With him, whether you agreed with his opinion or not, he wanted to hear all perspectives and ultimately you knew at the end, he had reasoning behind every decision he came to as to why a play was in that week - and the style of play that that game needed to have the highest chance of winning. This is why some weeks are ground heavy and some weeks are pass heavy with them, they’ll do whatever it takes to win.
Sometime installed plays were his own, sometimes they were someone else’s, and sometimes they were taken and tweaked from another team. It didn’t matter to him where they came from, just mattered if he thought it could work.
2. He can flip the switch from being a dude to a coach like the best of them. I wasn’t expecting to see that dude if him, but it was a cool surprise. There’s no wonder why his guys play so hard week in and week out (the film shows that on both sides of the ball).
Also, when he’s being Coach Shanahan and not Kyle, you can nearly leave your blind faith in him that he’s done all the work to get the plan ready - and now ad a player it’s on you to do your part to play into the plan. It was so cool to see that permeate throughout the locker room while I was there.
There’s more than that - but all in all there’s no surprise with how they are run from the inside why their sustained success looks the way they do. Everyone there plays their part and trusts each other to do theirs as well.
It why they’ve been able to plug and play different pieces, navigate injuries, and everything in between over the last few years and continually be in Super Bowl contention. This year they just so happen to have the best pieces to date, and be the healthiest they’ve been so far. Very much a stars aligning for good dudes playing hard for one another in a system twitch a great coach and gm combo.
That part about Shanahan willing “to accept that he doesn’t have all the answers” is only more prominent after former Packers receiver Davante Adams made some choice comments leading up to the Green Bay-Las Vegas matchup last week. Adams told ESPN that Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a lot less deflecting of blame than either Derek Carr or former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers were earlier in his career:
Not taking anything away from Derek and Aaron, but Jimmy does a good job of not coming in acting like he knows everything. He’s open to suggestions and me talking through ways that I’ve done in the past.
Before this entire saga started, Benkert was on Twitter/X criticizing what he saw out of the Packers’ offense in their 13-point effort against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.
There’s a lot of problems, but I’ll start with what I see:
Packers slow start on offense kills them again
They don’t have an identity either
The players that I saw tonight, for the most part, didn’t roll together like you typically see out of that scheme
They need to use tempo in the offense is having a hard time getting into rhythm
The defense did enough to win this game, but they could have done even more in the red zone by fixing pre-snap alignment
Jordan Love didn’t play well, and I’m sure he would admit that - however, there is nothing to help him get rolling as a passer in this game
Them being the youngest team in the NFL showed up tonight , and if you’re going to be the younger team, you have got to be the best coach team on the field to have a chance to win games AND Have insane athletes — they didn’t do or have either of those
The most disappointing part is that there is only so much to look forward to based on what we’ve seen this year - and the same problems show up week in and week out with little to no improvement
Who knows if this is a bitter ex situation or if Benkert genuinely doesn’t think much of LaFleur’s coaching ability. Either way, I don’t think the former quarterback and current coach are going to be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon.