Good news, Matt LaFleur, you’re head coach of the Packers. Bad news, Matt LaFleur . . . you know where this is going by now, right?
LaFleur takes over an iconic franchise, but the franchise requires some fixing. That fix will have to happen on the fly, because — as quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in remarks that may be scrutinized a bit more carefully in light of his reputation for passive aggression — there’s no grace period, no redshirt year.
So did LaFleur know what he was getting into when he agreed to succeed Mike McCarthy as coach of the Packers? Here’s Jay Glazer’s explanation, from his latest item for TheAthletic.com:
“I know he knew some of what was going on, he knew a lot of the drama going into that interview, but now to get thrust into the middle of this as a young head coach? I always tell these new head coaches to be careful what you wish for. This job is less about X’s and O’s and more about making sure 53 separate corporations all get along and are on the same page, and those corporations have a lot of messed-up people in the subdivisions. To be great, you have to be crazy. To be on this level, you’ve got to be crazy. There’s a lot of craziness inside a football building, and the head coach has to blend all that craziness together. It’s hard enough without all this drama.”
Glazer is right, and LaFleur’s first challenge will be to get everyone on the same page, to manage the various personalities, and to strike the right balance between having a positive relationship with Rodgers and not being deferential to him.
Thus, regardless of whether CEO Mark Murphy said it to Rodgers, at some point LaFleur needs to be ready to say it, loud and clear if necessary: Don’t be the problem.