It’s not often that a member of an NFL coaching staff willingly takes a demotion. However, it appears that this is exactly what happened in Green Bay this offseason under new head coach Matt LaFleur.
On Monday, LaFleur and the Packers announced the final piece of the coaching puzzle for the 2019 season: the strength & conditioning coaching staff. In a move that was widely-expected, the Packers will have a new head S&C coach this season. However, what was more surprising are the facts that the team’s former S&C coach is remaining in the organization and that the new head S&C coach comes from within the former staff.
Most important is the announcement that Chris Gizzi will take over as the head strength & conditioning coach for this season. He has been an assistant in that area for several seasons, starting with the team in a full-time capacity in 2014. Gizzi gets the job formerly held by Mark Lovat.
However, Lovat is not leaving the organization. Instead, the team announced that he will be one of Gizzi’s assistants for 2019, along with Thadeus Jackson and Grant Thorne. The latter two assistants were on staff in those positions in 2018 as well.
Thus, the members of the strength staff remain the same, but with a different man leading the group. Hopefully the Packers will have better luck with injuries under Gizzi’s watch than they did in 2018.
UPDATE: According to LaFleur in his Monday press conference, it was actually Lovat’s idea to step back from the strength & conditioning coordinator position and to offer Gizzi the promotion. This suggests a great working relationship between Lovat and Gizzi, as well as a healthy respect between Lovat and the Packers organization as a whole.