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Cheese Curds, 2/9: Packers effectively shut out at NFL Honors

It’s disappointing to see Matt LaFleur continue to get overlooked for major awards, but he has his sights set on a much bigger goal.

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NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

What does Matt LaFleur have to do to earn any real consideration for Coach of the Year?

It’s hard to imagine a more impressive coaching job than what the Green Bay Packers got from LaFleur during the 2023 season. Yes, the first half of the season saw the offense look largely disjointed as the team scuffled to a 3-6 start, but the midseason turnaround and the drastic development of the youngest team in the NFL — with a first-year starting quarterback — should be a testament to LaFleur and his coaching staff.

The fact that the Packers managed to not only make the playoffs but also to win a game in Dallas as heavy road underdogs only underscores what a great job LaFleur did. And the same should be said for general manager Brian Gutekunst, who had an absolutely dynamite draft last spring.

And yet, the best the Packers could muster across any category at the NFL Honors on Thursday was three votes for two different awards.

LaFleur probably doesn’t care. At least, he wouldn’t admit it if he did. He will simply remain focused on achieving the bigger goals that the franchise has for 2024. But after years of being snubbed for Coach of the Year honors in part because he had a MVP quarterback — rather than media members acknowledging that LaFleur probably played a huge part in his QB playing at that level — it would at least be nice if he and his team would finally get some more recognition for the incredible work they have put in.

Then again, if LaFleur can bring another Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay, that (and the road sign that will inevitably be put up in his honor) will be worth far more than any Coach of the Year vote.

Packers WR Jayden Reed and coach Matt LaFleur receive votes for AP NFL awards | Packers Wire
LaFleur got two third-place votes for coach of the year, finishing in 9th place, while Reed got a single third-place vote for offensive rookie of the year.

Julius Peppers: Dominant pass rusher, ‘quiet assassin’ and now a Hall of Famer - The Athletic ($)
There was no question that Peppers would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and his three years in Green Bay were truly memorable.

NFL rookie grades, NFC North: Lions quartet stars; Packers boosted by franchise-altering 2023 class | NFL.com
It's hard to fathom giving the Packers' 2023 draft a grade below the A range after one year, but NFL.com gave them just a B-plus. Maybe if Lukas Van Ness had been a starter and made a bigger impact, perhaps? But the team's massive contributions from nearly every other pick make it an "A" level class in my book.

Jordan Love is going back to school to work on his footwork this offseason | Packersnews.com
Early in the season, poor footwork appeared to result in accuracy issues. Later on, he seemed to be delivering the football perfectly even fading away, like his predecessor often did. But one thing is certain: Love and his personal throwing coach are going to focus heavily on getting his feet set after reviewing the tape on his 2023 season.

Kenneth Odumegwu’s year in Green Bay was ‘nothing short of amazing’ | Packers.com
In what was effectively a redshirt year as part of the NFL's international outreach programs, Odumegwu had a great experience with the Packers in 2023 and is signed on a futures deal for 2024. Rashan Gary took it upon himself to mentor the youngster, and he sees a real future and NFL-level skills.

Justice minister's government car stolen for the third time in as many years | CBC News
Apparently thieves in Ottawa really like Toyota Highlanders and messing with government officials, for some reason.