Report: Matt LaFleur didn’t have full say on hiring Packers’ assistants

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Packers coach Matt LaFleur has put together a coaching staff in Green Bay, but it may not have been exactly the staff he would have hired if it had all been up to him.

LaFleur wasn’t the sole decision-maker when it came to hiring assistant coaches, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

That detail comes in a long story that is heavy on anonymous sources and short on direct quotes, but paints a picture of burgeoning dysfunction in the Packers’ front office, where LaFleur, General Manager Brian Gutekunst and director of football operations Russ Ball are all vying for authority under Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy.

The story hints at several issues in Green Bay, but the issue with assistant coaches is particularly noteworthy, because sources contradict the claim from Murphy that “Matt was allowed to make his own decisions.”

Instead, LaFleur reportedly tried to get Darren Rizzi as his special teams coach but was unable to land him because the Packers low-balled him on a contract. Rizzi, who had an excellent reputation from his years with the Dolphins, was one of the most highly sought assistant coaches in the NFL this offseason and eventually signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract to coach the Saints’ special teams. Instead, the Packers hired Shawn Mennenga as their special teams coach.

Mennenga doesn’t have as strong a résumé as Rizzi, and according to the report wasn’t even LaFleur’s second choice after Rizzi. But Mennenga has previously worked for Mike Pettine, who was retained as the Packers’ defensive coordinator. The report says LaFleur was “strongly encouraged” to keep Pettine as the defensive coordinator.

The report portrays Murphy as getting more involved in football decisions than he did in the previous regime in Green Bay, when General Manager Ted Thompson had authority over personnel moves and head coach Mike McCarthy chose his own staff. Which could mean that if the Packers don’t get better under LaFleur, it would be Murphy on the hot seat.

86 responses to “Report: Matt LaFleur didn’t have full say on hiring Packers’ assistants

  1. Hiring the best coaches is the most cost effective measures that an NFL team can make especially when you consider the value of an NFL franchise. Also if they do not have the confidence in Mr. LaFleur to be able to choose his own assistants who will carry out his vision then I would say that they hired the wrong head coach.

  2. Bunch of guys trying to justify their existence in the payroll. Fire any one of those three Nd the coach has the dough to hire who he wants.

    Coaches do not count against salary cap.

  3. Welcome to corporate America! We all go through this! The higher your role, the less control you have over decisions. Nothing to see here!

  4. Unless and until LeFleur confirms this personally, I will not believe a word of it. In spite of the desire to be a head coach, it is very, very, very difficult to think any head coach applicant would take the job without total control over all the assistants. And, that does not reflect on ego, just common sense. He might be constrained by limit for all assistants but most likely nothing as described. Your article describes what is an almost impossible start for the HC.

  5. If a coach can’t hire his own staff what is he allowed to do? Oh yeah lose games. No wonder this is the only person that they could find to run the team.

  6. I guess tha $80 million the Packers paid Rodgers in the last 12 months has had some ramifications.

    A dysfunctional front office just makes one bad decision after another.

  7. Nothing worse than a micromanager, Hire the person you want (LaFleur) then get out of the way and let him assemble his staff.

  8. If people look into this you, will find Murphy to be a classic insulated corporate leader that leads by cronyism and requires sycophants around him. He has a huge ego, and takes little to no input, completely disconnected from the people around him. Insulated, arrogant, and unchecked. The fish always rots from the head first. This is an organization with little to no accountability that is ego and identity driven.

  9. In a Salary Cap league, getting the best coaches (regardless of what it costs) is one of the greater advantages a team can have. Apparently, that obvious point has not yet made its way to Green Bay.

  10. Of course there’s a new world order in Green Bay. I have no problem with doing things differently. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

  11. Competing puppet strings are controlling Lafleur, first Murphy’s and second Rodgers’s. Good luck, Matt. You’re going to need it.

  12. This is the kind of road that leads nowhere. It was fun there for a little while rooting for a winner.

  13. The WHOLE BASIS for the speculation that LaFleur didn’t have full say on his coaching staff hires is the Rizzi story.

    Rizzi came to Green Bay for a interview and left without a contract. It happens. He also interviewed with several other teams and left without a contract. Rizzi’s family is staying living in Florida and Rizzi ultimately decided on a job with the Saints to be a little closer to his family. His words.

    Murphy, LaFleur, and Gutekunst all said the coaching staff hires were 100% LaFleur’s call. Most of the staff is younger and that was obviously LaFleur’s doing. He is 39 and a lot of his friends and contacts in the league are younger talented rising star coaches like himself.

    Pettine was on LaFleur’s list of DC’s he was interested in and that is the list he brought with him to interview for the job.

    Silverstein never says in the article that LaFleur didn’t have full say on the hires.

    It is all conjecture stemming from the Rizzi story and it is hogwash.

    #GoPackGo!🧀🏈

  14. I can see the GM not giving the coach much authority on actually picking the players, but picking the coaching staff and picking which players actually play in games should be completely up to the HC. If it isn’t you have the wrong GM or the wrong coach.

  15. Wow, the Saints must feel great that their new coach would rather be somewhere else and he’s running his mouth about it. I’d say this particular case makes the Packers look smart. They avoided an assistant coach with a mouth that causes internal strife, and looks like it was a wise decision to not allow the young head coach to bring a bad apple into the organization. I don’t know if any of this is even remotely true, but people can spin things any way they want depending on who they’re trying to make look bad at that particular moment.

  16. No wonder this is the only person that they could find to run the team.
    —–
    If you really believe that there was a shortage of applicants to one of the most coveted jobs in the league, you’re a dullard.

  17. Reports like this should never surprise anyone as coaches and managers, even more experienced ones, often have much less input in terms of assistants and personnel in general than the average fan would assume.

  18. This is starting to sound like the Niners. Too bad they don’t have strong leadership to tell the others in the front office to let LaFleur do his job. If LaFleur doesn’t succeed, these other bozos should get fired too.

  19. I beleived for a long time Russ Ball is the money man and has a lot more power then people give him credit. Murphys mission is to deliver cheap money ball aka the Raiders. There were a lot of very good fit Free Agents over the past several years, that the packers “talked” to to show interest but one thing in common and why they never signed, they were all low balled and went elsewhere.
    At one time I think I read Mathews and Rodgers ate up more than 50% of the teams cap. Two guys.

  20. The Pack could have bundled with two first round picks and moved down into the top five easily but they held their ground to save paying the big bucks. I read a good article of how the 3-4 is the cheap mans game plan, not having to pay legit Defensive Ends big bucks but using cheaper late round linebackers. This is the pack philosphy save a buck

  21. If this is true, Lafleur should have walked away then and there. You can’t succeed under the conditions as described.

  22. This makes sense. LaFleur answers to the GM and the GM answers to his boss: Aaron Rodgers.

  23. I think there needs be at least a little oversight for coaches hiring assistants. We’ve seen plenty where coaches bring in their own guys, who may or may not have the necessary experience but got the job only because they ‘know’ someone. Sure, there are times when some of these guys only needed the right opportunity to strut their stuff but more often than not, the guys are riding on the coattails of their name/father.

  24. It really does not matter….this was a bad hire to begin with. The Packers are going in the 6-10 range by my calculations for 2019.

  25. Here’s my take on why Rizzi (and I really wish he would have stayed in Miami!) chose the Saints over the Packers–because the Saints have a tendency to hire Dolphin assistants (such as the guy who was their 2015 interim HC Dan Campbell, formerly TE coach, and one or two others). And yes, NOLA is closer to home than GB.

    And it is really odd to me that suddenly the Packers seem to be dysfunctional. Could be another reason Rizzi went to NOLA…he’s seen enough past dysfunction in Miami!

  26. Murphy has a connection with Rizzi. Sounds like GB was just out out bid for Rizzi.

    There’s a connection between Rizzi and Packers team president Mark Murphy, who went to Colgate University and was the team’s athletic director when Rizzi was hired as an assistant coach there in 1993.

  27. I am a long time Packers fan, and I know everyone is talking 10-6 and the playoffs. I think 8-8 is much more realistic. If those first two games against the Bears and Vikings don’t go well, there will be a lot of pressure and I am not sure how this new regime will react to that.

  28. Ask Joe Madden if upper management “contributes” to selecting his assistants.
    In Minnesota, the Head Coach picks the Offensive Coordinators – but they only last 1/2 of a season.

  29. And furthermore, let’s for a second make it true that LaFleur really wanted to hire Rizzi but Rizzi was asking for too much money(we do have quotes from Rizzi that he chose N.O. for family reasons) and a deal couldn’t get done. That happens all the time in contract negotiations. How would that equate to LaFleur not having full say on the hires?

    It was also reported early on that LaFleur wanted to hire his brother, but the Niners blocked him from doing so. Does that then mean that LaFleur has no say in who he wants to hire? No head coach that is putting together a staff gets every single coach he first set out to get. LaFleur is very happy with his staff and if you hear him talk about his staff he gets a gleam in his eyes and you can tell he is very confident about his assistants. Maybe he didn’t get his brother and his first choice of special teams coach, but everything happens for a reason and Packers Nation is looking forward to the season and to talking about ACTUAL FOOTBALL so we can start to quiet some of these haters who just chirp, chirp, chirp about all things Green Bay.

    I guess Aaron finally snapping back scared them away from talking about him for a while. They now are having to find other things to try and spin to the negative about the Packers.

    #GoPackGo!🧀🏈

  30. “…burgeoning dysfunction.”?!
    Truly a miracle that they were able to participate in the NFL Draft, select players, sign players and have them participate in a couple of team workouts/camps. Forget free agency signings altogether. I’ll take some more dysfunction, thank-you.

  31. The Packers have not beaten the Vikings in forever and it bothers them that they can’t beat the Vikings anymore so they have started copying them as much as possible but even I am surprised that they have copied the triangle of authority. Best of luck with that.

  32. I don’t know how much of this kind of thing to believe, but I will say I’m glad to see Murphy acting more like a real owner. I love that the Packers are community owned, but I also see the downside in the lack of ownership over the past few seasons.

  33. So Brzezinski refusing to pay Barr what he wants means Mike Zimmer has no say over the Vikings’ roster and neither does Rick Spielman? I dunno, fellas; that just doesn’t seem right, somehow.

  34. We’re content with the Wilf-Spielman-Zimmer-Brzezinski regime, thanks.
    We have franchise stability probably never before seen in the history of the team.

    Your team on the other hand…

  35. Mark Murphy is the biggest obstacle in the Packers winning another championship any time soon. He stripped his GM of some of his duties and makes everyone down to the guy who cleans the rest rooms answer directly to him.
    If you look at Mark Murphy’s resume, you have to wonder how he ever got the Packers President job to begin with? There is nothing on his resume which says he is qualified for that position. But he thinks he is — just ask him.
    The Packers should have fired him when they demoted Ted Thompson, fired Dom Capers, and then fired Mike McCarthy. There was no point in keeping Murphy.

  36. Frazier28/7 says:
    May 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm
    We’re content with the Wilf-Spielman-Zimmer-Brzezinski regime, thanks.
    We have franchise stability probably never before seen in the history of the team.
    ________

    Really?
    Your team has just 2 playoff appearances, and 1 very lucky, Missed Tackle Miracle, postseason win in 5 long seasons.
    And this makes you happy?

  37. I’m sure this means something but honestly I don’t know what. I am not even sure if this is uncommon. As a Vikings fan, I remember our own triangle leadership structure and it was a bit of a flop. I remember Spielman Childress and I don’t even know who the third one was. But we got a short run at the Super Bowl and our window closed. We came a game short and didn’t get near it again. So I’m suspicious of this structure, But there are so many variables here, that’s hard to say that it won’t work. They didn’t get the coach they wanted. I bet that’s not the first time in history that happened.

  38. Are we going to have to listen to these rumors by this guy all summer long – got a bee in his bonnet I would think

  39. I will steal a line from David Bakhtiari when I answer what I expect from the Packers this season.

    Have you ever seen John Wick? Did you ever see when they kill his dog? That, is what I expect.

    #GoPackGo!✊🏈🧀

  40. freefromwhatyouareisanass says:
    May 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm
    And furthermore,……………

    @@@@&&&&&&&&&

    Never seen free so trigged

  41. freefromwhatyouare says:
    May 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm
    I will steal a line from David Bakhtiari when I answer what I expect from the Packers this season.

    Have you ever seen John Wick? Did you ever see when they kill his dog? That, is what I expect

    @@@@@&@@&@&&&&&&

    You know John Wicks is fictional. He is played by actor Keanu Reeves and he has all of lines written for him.

  42. freefromwhatyouare says:
    May 11, 2019 at 6:20 pm
    I will steal a line from David Bakhtiari when I answer what I expect from the Packers this season.

    Have you ever seen John Wick? Did you ever see when they kill his dog? That, is what I expect.
    ——————————————

    John Wick is a fictional character in Hollywood. In the real world the Packers are a 6-9-1 rebuilding team with an aging quarterback and a rookie coaching staff.

  43. When Packer fans get flustered and flummoxed and don’t know what to say, they do what they do best which is to complain about the Vikings it’s fans and the ownership. It’s all they know how to do.

    there’s some serious problems going on in Green Bay. And if you can’t see that you’re in denial.

  44. Liberalsruineverything says:
    May 11, 2019 at 11:33 am
    It’s very easy to see why Bruce Arians turned down the Packers interview request and why they had to settle for a guy that nobody heard of.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Packers never called him. They weren’t interested. Too old and out of touch. Besides, everyone knows he’s a man of his word and he’d only take the Browns job. Only the Browns.

    Right.

  45. cheeseisfattening says:
    May 11, 2019 at 10:21 pm
    “Only the Browns” was code for “Not the Packers”
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I know! He coach-blocked himself. Lucky us. I’m convinced more than ever the Packers are blessed.

  46. Cheese

    That is a wonderful comparison.

    I can see freefromcommonsense and cellarperformance standing side by side and saying “I know nothing!” in a heavy, drunken German accent…

  47. I see the trolls with the deepest needs for following “all things Packer” are back to padding their own thumbs-up on their own posts. Some things never change, including perennial losing.

  48. stellarperformance says:
    May 12, 2019 at 7:45 pm
    I see the trolls with the deepest needs for following “all things Packer” are back to padding their own thumbs-up on their own posts. Some things never change, including perennial losing.
    ———————————

    I think a clinical term for the disorder you’re is experiencing is called psychological projection.

  49. Thank you Dr Freud, but you’ve displaced your amateur tenet. A troll may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the trolling activity. Despite the fact that a troll’s typically denigrating activities are aimed at the trolls targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the troll’s own sense of personal insecurity or vulnerability. I’m simply reacting to your proactivity. You’re the ones projecting. As usual.

  50. stellarperformance says:
    May 12, 2019 at 8:24 pm
    Thank you Dr Freud, but you’ve displaced your amateur tenet. A troll may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the trolling activity. Despite the fact that a troll’s typically denigrating activities are aimed at the trolls targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the troll’s own sense of personal insecurity or vulnerability. I’m simply reacting to your proactivity. You’re the ones projecting. As usual.
    ——————————————

    “I know you are but what am I?” is never a good comeback for a righteous burn Stella…..

  51. Mark Murphy is a problem in green bay. I never understood how he got to his position in the first place. But he is proving he isn’t up to the task.

  52. cellarperformance says:

    Col. Klink and Gen. Burkhalter have spoken!
    ###

    And they were just as inept as Sgt. Shultz.

    Kind of like Mark Murphy, Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur.

  53. Same thing in Minnesota, where Zimmer wasn’t allowed to pick his own assistants when management hired Kubiak and Son and Rick Dennison after losing faith in Mike Zimmer to oversee the both the offense and defense, after several poor choices. Last year continued a trend of Zimmer not being able to get his team ready for big games that began in the 2017 post-season and ended with a very talented roster not making the playoffs. Hard to believe that this great coach has managed to win only one playoff game, and that one only by virtue of the Meaningless Miracle.

  54. The only thing……the only thing…….that compels Viking trolls to pick unnecessary fights with Packer fans is frustration. They are frustrated from nearly six decades of performance futility and they are frustrated they have not enjoyed significant successes with their team as we have with ours.

    Good luck with that.

  55. cheeseisfattening,cody or ariani or whatever your name is,sure is a dufus!! Sure is Obsessed over every Packers article/comment! I can’t wait until his paper champions implode again this season, and see that stupid glass thing they call a stadium half full again! Go back to your igloos! Packers fans don’t care about, or fear your team!! The Bears are our biggest rival!! Your team is a laughing stock!!!!!

  56. minnytrollpolis says:
    May 14, 2019 at 4:48 pm
    cheeseisfattening,cody or ariani or whatever your name is,sure is a dufus!! Sure is Obsessed over every Packers article/comment! I can’t wait until his paper champions implode again this season, and see that stupid glass thing they call a stadium half full again! Go back to your igloos! Packers fans don’t care about, or fear your team!! The Bears are our biggest rival!! Your team is a laughing stock!!!!!

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    RELAX minnytroll, twelve exclamation marks! The Vikings will sweep you and your biggest rival will sweep you. Oh yeah the lions will sweep you again. See you can comment without yelling.

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