The Packers media panopticon looked to Matt LaFleur on Monday as the head coach took a few moments to reflect on the season that was and the future that will be.
LaFleur said a lot, but it’s striking what he didn’t say — or didn’t have to say. For the first time since the Packers lost to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship, LaFleur didn’t have the looming specter of Aaron Rodgers’ future hanging over his offseason. As disappointing as the Packers’ successful attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory was, LaFleur’s press conference was (finally, mercifully) entirely focused on the foundation the Packers have built for the future.
It’s been a good, long while since the Packers had an offseason like this. With Rodgers at the helm, the expectation since 2011 (perhaps earlier?) was Super Bowl or bust, and there were plenty of spectacular busts and no Super Bowls. The Packers certainly hope to build back toward that level of expectation (contending for Super Bowls is, after all, the goal), and the hope that they’re closer now than they were a year ago.
Watching how the team rallied over the last two months of the season, it’s hard to conclude they’re not. Optimism and hope flows easily from there, even if the future is not guaranteed.
The head coach’s season-ending presser ranged widely, but if you were hoping for substantive answers on serious issues, you’d be left wanting.
A suspension for one of the best players on the team could have spiraled into a major negative story, but in retrospect it’s barely a blip on the Packers’ season-long radar.
Christian Watson has had hamstring issues dating back to his college career, and now will finally get some specialized help.
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It’s exciting that the Packers’ rebuild is ahead of the curve, but nobody else is going to be resting on their laurels watching the Packers ascend.
Year-end news conferences are always a little gloomy, but this was not as sad as it could have been.
Three months of yogurt and $10,000 for a month without my phone? I’d do it.