For just the 15th time in team history, the Green Bay Packers introduced a new head coach on Wednesday – former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.
As the son of a college football coach, you could say LaFleur has been training his whole life for his first chance to be a head coach.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be an NFL head coach,” said LaFleur at his introductory press conference. “But to be the head coach of the Green Bay Packers is surreal. I’m humbled. To follow in the footsteps of Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy is truly an honor.”
The 39-year-old, among the youngest coaches in the NFL, is a Michigan native. Coach LaFleur was a division two quarterback who started his coaching career in the college ranks before learning under the likes of hot-shot young head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay as an offensive assistant.
“I know this – I’m going to lead,” said Coach LaFleur. “I’m going to be my own person. The way I lead is going to be different than Kyle [Shanahan]. It’s going to be different than Sean [McVay]. I think the only way to lead is you need to be true to yourself. These players are extremely smart. And you better be real, you better be honest and that’s exactly how I’m going to be with these guys.”
Coach LaFleur is expected to call plays for the Packers, even though he’s only called plays in the NFL for one year in Tennessee. In 2018, the Titans finished 25th in total offense. Packers Team President/CEO Mark Murphy points to the fact that LaFleur left the comforts of Los Angeles in 2017 (with the Rams) to challenge himself in Tennessee as a reason they believe he will do just fine in Green Bay.
“Quite honestly, if he stayed in LA with the kind of year [the Rams] had this year, he’d be the hot candidate,” said Murphy. “He’d be flying around the country talking to everybody. But I think with the experience he’s had in Tennesee, there’s no doubt it’s made him a better coach. We think he’s absolutely ready to be a head coach.”