INDIANAPOLIS – Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur held a pair of media sessions on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Here are five things we learned:
1. LaFleur has been in regular contact with Aaron Rodgers, but continues to give him space as well.
As the Packers await Rodgers' decision on his future, LaFleur said he's "consistently communicating" with his quarterback while being respectful of his time and space.
"I know it's a lot to take on. He's got a lot to think about," LaFleur said. "I don't want to be overbearing and tell him every day how much we love him and how much we want him back."
He did indicate that Rodgers played a significant role in the re-hiring of Tom Clements as the team's QB coach. The credit and praise Rodgers gives Clements for his role in the four-time MVP's development prompted LaFleur to sit down for lunch with Clements prior to the Super Bowl, and things fell into place pretty quickly.
While it's obvious Clements' presence might help persuade Rodgers to return, LaFleur also is interested to see what the longtime coach can do with Jordan Love.
"I think we interviewed each other to some level, but just the conversations we had, it's pretty easy for me to see why he is such a great quarterbacks coach and developer and such a great communicator," LaFleur said. "He's got such a great even-keel demeanor.
"I know he's been coaching this game a lot longer than I have. So, I just think his ability to develop quarterbacks no matter who's in the room is going to be very beneficial."
2. There aren't enough good things to say about Rich Bisaccia.
LaFleur referred to everything from experience to presence to leadership in discussing his new special teams coordinator, and he considers the Packers fortunate to get such a proven coach to right the team's troublesome third phase.
"He has such a proven track record. In my opinion, he should be a head coach in this league," LaFleur said of Bisaccia, who has coached special teams in the NFL for two decades and led the Raiders to the playoffs as an interim head coach last season.
"It's not a secret as to why guys love being around him, love playing for him. I can tell he's going to demand a lot from our guys."
That word "demand" also popped up in LaFleur's description of his new outside linebackers coach, Jason Rebrovich, who received strong recommendations from former colleagues Nathaniel Hackett and Jason Vrable.
Back to special teams, conversations already have taken place with General Manager Brian Gutekunst regarding the personnel side of things, and LaFleur referenced an attitude that Bisaccia's units are known for that he will instill with the Packers.
"We're really fortunate to have a guy of that caliber," LaFleur said. "If you'd ask the coaches around the league, he's regarded as one of the best in the business. So anytime you can get a guy like that, that's a big-time win for us."
3. The internal promotions LaFleur made within the coaching staff will allow his coaches to grow.
With Adam Stenavich moving up to offensive coordinator and his former assistant with the offensive line, Luke Butkus, taking over that position group now, LaFleur sees plusses both in terms of continuity on offense (at a time of significant staff turnover at other spots) and ability to grow.
Stenavich had been LaFleur's run game coordinator and is now becoming just as versed in the Packers' passing game as preparations for next season begin.
"He's been working his tail off, going through all the videos that we have in terms of how we explain and teach each route, and then the concepts that follow and incorporate those routes," LaFleur said.
He referred to Butkus as "a loyal guy that just rolls his sleeves up and goes to work every day." Butkus' responsibilities with the offensive scheme will increase with his new role as well.
LaFleur also indicated he's hired three quality control coaches to round out his staff.
4. There's no need to rank the running backs in this offense.
As the offensive play-caller, LaFleur appreciates how well-rounded both Jones and Dillon are as ball carriers, pass catchers and pass protectors. The only disappointment in a big second season of progress for Dillon was getting injured in the playoff loss to San Francisco, which impacted the offense on a difficult night.
"I think you felt the effects of when we lost AJ in that playoff game," LaFleur said. "We were missing a little something there.
"I think AJ is just kind of scratching the surface of what he can become."
5. All signs look good for Elgton Jenkins to return to the field in '22.
The ultra-versatile, Pro Bowl offensive lineman has been rehabbing a torn ACL sustained in late November. No timeline was offered for his recovery, but the early reports are positive.
"Elgton's doing a great job. He's attacking it just the way you'd expect him to," LaFleur said. "He's been in Green Bay for the majority of the offseason. I'm excited about just the progress that he's made, and we expect him to be back to full strength at some point during the season."