Matt LaFleur says he’ll consider putting starters on special teams to fix woes

NFC Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers
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Two big special teams blunders and yet another mistake on the game-winning field goal from Robbie Gould proved to be critical turning points for the Green Bay Packers in their loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

A blocked 39-yard field goal try at the end of the second quarter kept the Packers from taking a 10-0 lead into halftime. A blocked punt with five minutes remaining was returned for a touchdown by Talanoa Hufanga to tie the game at 10-10 and breathe life into the 49ers. Then as Gould setup for the game-winning 45-yard field goal attempt, the Packers had just 10 defenders on the field as Gould sent the 49ers through to the NFC Championship game.

The Packers finished the season ranked last in the NFL in long-time NFL writer Rick Gosselin’s respected special teams rankings list. The shortcomings in that area came back to bite the Packers at the worst time and end their Super Bowl aspirations early.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur knows it’s an area they have to devote energy to fix moving forward. Via Tom Silverstein and Kassidy Hill of PackersNews.com, LaFleur said he’s going to consider putting starters out on special teams units if he thinks it will help make a difference.

“That’s gonna be something that I wanna do some studies around the league and see how many teams operate that way,” LaFleur said. “Does it have some inherent risk? Absolutely.”

An illustration of that risk comes in the fact the Packers lost running back A.J. Dillon to a fractured rib while blocking on a kickoff return in the third quarter. Using key offensive or defensive players on special teams units will carry that risk.

However, making such critical mistakes regularly on special teams carries its own risk in that a blunder will occur at an incredibly critical moment.

“That’ll be a big-time priority for us moving forward is to not allow something like this to happen again, because it’s really disappointing when our defense goes out there and really dominates for four quarters,” LaFleur said.

23 responses to “Matt LaFleur says he’ll consider putting starters on special teams to fix woes

  1. “That’s gonna be something that I wanna do some studies around the league and see how many teams operate that way“
    ————————————————————-
    He’s been their coach for 3 seasons and he’s only just now going to study how teams around the league run their special teams?

  2. When half your salary cap is allocated to 5 players (I’m guessing and exaggerating), you will not get to sign quality back ups.

  3. The fact that Maurice Drayton is still on the staff is unbelievable.
    The fact that LaFleur is still supporting him and making excuses for him is unforgivable, as is the Packers’ management for low-balling competent coaches.
    This is not the makings of a continuously successful Head Coach or organization. They’ve ridden Rodgers coattails for the past three years and we’ll see what happens if he leaves, but I for one am not confident that Howdy Doody Murphy and his yes-man staff can get it right.

  4. The repeated mistakes made by the Special Teams unit this season was primarily mental errors. Fixing the problem by replacing with better skilled players will not fix the problem. Ex. Missed blocking assignments, # of men on the field at one time. Why not focus on better coaching with the players you have on the unit rather than mask the problem by substituting with your starters and increasing the risk to injury? The NFL is a copycat league but this doesn’t mean that LaFleur needs to see what personnel are on their Spec. Teams. Rated #32 in the league does not say that we have 11 of the wrong guys on this unit. Chances are we have the wrong Asst. coach for the job. How bout we put our attention there!

  5. The special teams coach should had been shown the door immediately without any parting gifts after the game, he has no business being a special teams coach.

  6. LaFleur is going to have bigger issues than special teams next year. Packers are $40m over the cap and will undoubtedly lose many starters to free agency. Many of those current special teams players may have to move into a starter role. Currently all of the rostered wide receivers are free agents. The party is over in Green Bay. This will end up being a full on rebuild. Welcome to the Lynn Dickey era of football Packer fans.

  7. Good news, with being 40 mill over the salary cap and Aaron’s contract. Your starters will be mostly special teamers. Win-Win.

  8. You can blame special teams sure, they were/are bad. But what kind of MVP puts up only 10 points in a playoff game at home? An all-time great rises to the occasion. Even in a loss, Brady played well. Despite an almost tragic fumble, Cooper Kupp played great. Who is the real MVP?

  9. How has the ST coordinator still have a job?? The guy should’ve been fired 3 months ago. That game was on Lefluer for not replacing MD half way through the season. The whole GB doesn’t like instability during the season cost them a chance at a SB.

  10. aw, poor babies!

    the answer is get better players on your bench for special teams, just like everybody else does;

    then go find a ST coach what can count to eleven;

    an even better solution is to stop paying stars too much so you have to cheat on the back end of your cap and pay minimum salaries to what are obviously marginal players;

  11. Maybe a big-time priority ought to be dumping the trash Special Teams Coordinator & hiring a competent guy? LaFleur knew the ST was garbage in week 3 yet did NOTHING to fix it over the next 16 weeks. 4 months of coach-speak, no results, and that unit cost the team a playoff game. smh

  12. He wants to study other teams? Well, I guess he can pick any of them, since all of them ranked better than his team.

  13. The Packers have been among the worst Special Teams for the past 10+ years. Before signing with the Saints, Darren Rizzi wanted to be the ST coach for Green Bay. Packer’s management made him an offer but at a very low salary so he went to New Orleans where he has consistently led their Teams to rank among the best. Kassidy Hill needs to ask GM Brian Gutekunst. The answer is Packer executives do not place a high value on Teams… so expect more of the same embarrassing outcomes.

  14. A good start would be dumping the coordinator. Defense allows no TD’s and we still lose!?

  15. He had a chance to fix this during the regular season and he punted it. His loyalty has resulted in their season being over and that is something that should be seriously looked at.

  16. Maybe get better backups. There are plenty of fringe players that get roster spots because they play special teams. Get rid of all of them and bring new ones in. Then if someone makes a bonehead play during the season cut them the next day. That’ll get the message across.

  17. The Packer special teams in 2020 were horrible.. So LaFleur fires the Special Teams Coach. Great Move! LaFleur then promotes the assistant to that horrible Special Teams coach to be his new Special Teams Coach. Wtf? Anybody with half a brain could have seen this coming. Putting starters on special teams will not help with issues like 10 men on the field in the playoffs. Fire the guy for Pete’s sake!!! Loyalty means losing!!! Pay the money for an outsider who knows what they are doing and let him hire his own assistant or look forward to another huge let down in 2022.

  18. I not so quietly expected a missed Crosby kick to end the Packers season.

    I did not expect an all out special teams implosion.

    .. I mean, it was SO bad, its almost impressive.

  19. Being ranked #32 shows a lack of talent on the unit — and poor coaching. Need to address both parts.

  20. How is the ST coach still employed? Don’t promote within. Find an asst on a team that are always in the top 10 and pay the man. Quit being cheap.

  21. AJ Dillon broke his rib on a special teams play against the 49ers, and it was a major reason the Packers’ offense stalled out and they lost the game.

    Putting even more starters in harm’s way isn’t the answer. Getting a competent coach, and not promoting from within subpar units, is the answer.

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