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Inbox: He's back to finish what he started

It’s going to be fun watching it all come together this offseason 


Curt from Oronoco, MN

Who wouldn't love to live in a town called Ooltewah? But I digress. Isn't it advantageous for a young coach to have been working in several different systems (like Matt LaFleur), versus coming up completely in a single organization?

There's something to be said for all the experience LaFleur gained with different coaches and systems. To me, what really makes LaFleur stand out is his success working with both Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and Sean McVay in Los Angeles. They came, they saw and they implemented their scheme. Now, LaFleur will get a chance to do the same. Good morning!

Nick from Dallas, TX

Everyone is talking about LaFleur and Rodgers working together, but he did great getting Derrick Henry going last year. How much do you think he'll focus on the run game with Aaron Jones?

It's not just how Henry was used, but also how the third-year running back improved throughout the year. Fans, writers and pundits can throw statistics out there until they're blue in the face, but the real measure of a coach is whether their players made improvement. Henry and Corey Davis both made strides in LaFleur's offense and are bright spots for the Titans moving forward. We'll see how LaFleur plans to utilize Jones, but those Shanahan and McVay offenses seem to get the most out of their featured backs.

Jerome from Monticello, MN

Thanks for all the insights into the Packers that you provide. Do you think that the players are excited about the new coach or is it just another day at the office for them?

The players aren't here right now, but the responses on social media have been positive. I can tell you the atmosphere inside the building has been upbeat.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

As the search commenced last year, some expressed worries about Gutekunst not being able to choose the next head coach. I'm impressed with how the search was structured, not just because it truly involved the Packers GM, but because the committee was willing to draw on every meaningful evaluation (including the leadership council) it could obtain. This was the first HC change I'd really carefully followed; was this search unique in the league, or do other teams do similar things?

This was new for me, too. The closest I had come to a coaching search during my time at the Press-Gazette was the hiring of Ron Zook as special teams coordinator in 2015. You never know how these things are going to turn out, but I was impressed with how proactive Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst were in seeking opinions and getting a pulse for what the locker room needs.

DM from Tomah, WI

Read Insiders daily, but first-time question. I have not heard who the new coach LaFleur will report to, the GM or president? Thanks, and keep up the very good and informational reports.

Mark Murphy confirmed during the news conference Wednesday they're going to keep the current structure in place of having the head coach, GM and executive vice president/director of football operations all report to the President/CEO.

Rob from Webster, NY

Read Spoff's article about LaFleur’s philosophy. Was heartened to see that he's willing to adapt it to whatever the strongest personnel group on the unit is (thank you). So, knowing what you do about the current personnel – while realizing that it could change dramatically before the regular season – how would you expect the offense to differ schematically from what we've seen the past few years?

Personally, I've always felt three receivers, a tight end and running back is a good base package, but you have to be multi-dimensional to succeed. I think Spoff's article showcased how resourceful LaFleur can be when injuries and adversity have hit. He isn't afraid to mix things up and stay one step ahead. It's hard to say what his vision for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense will be, but it's going to be fun watching it all come together this offseason.

Steve from Janesville, WI

I'm so happy Mike Pettine is coming back. Despite our record, I do not think we are that are that far back. I agree a coach has a limited shelf life. McCarthy was great. It's a new time now.

I felt this was a slam-dunk for LaFleur. With all the moving parts this offseason, why not allow Pettine to continue to build his defense? The potential is there for Green Bay to field a top 10 unit if enough playmakers can stay healthy. If you build it, the production will come. Pettine put those wheels in motion this past season. He's back to finish what he started.

Andy from Verona, WI

Who decides which players are on the 53-man roster and on the 46-man game-day roster?

In Green Bay, the GM sets the 53-man roster and the head coach picks his game-day 46.

Don from Troy, MI

What concerns me about the new coach is how young he looks and sounds. Then again, not many other NFL coaches look and sound as though they could be one of my children. Rhetorically speaking, does it mean I'm officially an old man?

I'm not calling you old, but it also wouldn't surprise me if you've occasionally told the neighbors to get off your lawn. LaFleur is only three years younger than Mike McCarthy was when Ted Thompson hired him in 2006. Age is just a number. Can you coach? That's what I wanna know.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

We now see that several of the coaching hires, including the consensus top two most desirable positions, followed a philosophy which put far more emphasis on finding the next wave of fresh new ideas and concepts as opposed to experienced leaders. The Packers brass had their finger on the pulse of the league and were able to essentially have the "pick of the litter" among these new pups and I love it. Regardless of record, what would constitute a successful first year for LaFleur?

It starts in the win-loss column. That's obvious, but the primary thing I'm looking for in 2019 is signs of progress on offense, defense and special teams. The goal is always to capture a championship, but developing a winning culture is the first checkbox for every new head coach.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

With higher-than-normal roster turnover a possibility this offseason, will post each signing/release similar to in-season updates, or are contract signings more confidential with a 90-man off-season roster? I prefer as a reliable source for these types of updates.

We post updates whenever roster moves are made official. That's the guarantee. Straight from the source, no chaser.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Hey Wes, did anyone warn our new HC of the zillion II assistant coaches all over the world?

As the son of a football coach, I'm sure LaFleur is well aware of all the Monday morning quarterbacks lurking across the country.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

As I was watching the introductory press conference, I said to myself, "You know, it's possible this is the coach my 2-year-old son grows up's possible his first Packers memory will have something to do with this guy." It was a cool feeling. The first memory I can recall is hearing that amazing late '80s CBS intro music and running into my room to get my Randy Wright football card. For whatever reason, I needed that card to watch the game. What's your first Packer memory?

That's a neat way to look at things. There's a whole lot more Packers history to be written and LaFleur is going to be a big part of that. My earliest Packers memory is Sterling Sharpe's third touchdown catch in the playoff win over the Lions in January 1994.

Frederik from Hundested, Denmark

As a longtime Green Bay fan from Denmark, who hasn't been to the states and is itching to experience the Pack live, what are the odds that they will be playing in London within the next, say, five years?

Man, as someone who's never been to the United Kingdom and is itching to experience London, I sure hope so.

Dave from Kaukauna, WI

On Friday, Spoff answered the question, "Who are the nine players on the leadership council?" with "I don't know." Wes, do you know?

You think Spoff would have written "I don't know" if he didn't consult me first? The only one I can say confidently is Mason Crosby. This was his first year serving on the player council.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, no doubt HOFers. Manning, possibly? Philip Rivers has no SB and limited playoff success but his overall numbers put him in the top 10 QBs. Do you think Rivers would be in the HOF with his current numbers if he goes no further? I think this is the best weekend for an NFL fan every year, just wish Packer fans had some skin in the game. We're spoiled, two years is long enough. Thanks Wes.

I don't know how the actual Pro Football Hall of Fame voters feel about it, but Rivers is a Hall of Famer in my book. He's one of the best quarterbacks of the passing generation. Rivers is an eight-time Pro Bowler and only three regular-season starts shy of surpassing Eli Manning (210) for second all-time behind Brett Favre in consecutive starts.

David from Manitowoc, WI

Are there any updates on Aaron Rodgers?

Besides him sitting out the Pro Bowl, no.

Mark from Bellevue, WI

There are a number of Packers atop the NFL career leader lists. Which of these feats do you feel is the most impressive? 1) Brett Favre with the most all-time turnovers (336 interceptions and 166 fumbles) for 502 total. Second place is Warren Moon 394. 2) James Lofton average yards per touch 17.9 yards...second place Henry Allard 16.6 (notable: current active leader is Antonio Brown at 13.0/touch) or 3) Aaron Rodgers' interception percentage of 1.5 with Brady and Kaepernick tied for second at 1.8.

Brett Favre's consecutive starts streak and turnovers will stand the test of time, especially with how the game is played today. Few quarterbacks possess that type of durability and few coaches possess that type of patience.

Michael from Dover, PA

I think the most shocking thing revealed in Friday's II is the fact Wes has a teenage daughter. He looks as if he's barely old enough to shave for pity's sake! (But you both do a terrific job in keeping us informed and entertained). Thanks!

That one surprised me, too.

Joshua from Wilmington, DE

Hopefully we see Vic Fangio's defense twice next year, too.

I don't know Vic Fangio. I've never met Vic Fangio. I've never asked Vic Fangio a question in a press conference. But I almost felt like I knew him after listening to Dom Capers talk about him over the years. I don't think you can help but feel happy for Fangio getting an opportunity at 60 years young. The fact he's finally out of the NFC is an added bonus.

Bryce from Billings, MT

What do you think the timeline looks like for the new HC to set his coaching staff?

Those conversations are ongoing. Mike McCarthy liked to have coaches in place within two or three weeks of the season ending.

Josh from Denver, CO

If you had to pick, which game should I tailgate next year? Arrowhead, U.S. Bank, or Soldier Field?

Call me crazy, but I've always liked Arrowhead. It's a spacious parking lot and good stadium to watch a game. Having driven to Soldier Field for five years, I call tell you I'm not a big fan of their lot. It's too congested for my taste.

Mark from Omro, WI

I have recently read that the players on the Super Bowl-winning team will receive about $200,000 each in playoff bonuses. How does this affect the salary cap? If you pay it, you cap it. What if they don't have the room? Thanks, enjoy this weekend's games.

If you pay it, you cap it…except in the postseason.

Elliot from Oxnard, CA

B-B-B-baby, you ain't seen N-N-N-nothin' yet. Had to listen to the song three times to get over the flashbacks from the '70s. Thanks. When watching today's offensive coordinators, with all the misdirection, crossing actions, reverses, and quick screens, are you reminded of drawing plays in the dirt as a sixth grader?

I was the master of the flea-flicker at Bay View Middle School…and the check-down.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

Have you ever been to Sun Prairie?

My car broke down going down to Sun Prairie to help out with state basketball in 2014. It just so happened to be the same day Sam Shields re-signed with the Packers. My father, God bless him, drove all the way down from Green Bay to bail me out, so I could get to the Kohl Center on time.

Jacob from Ironwood, MI

Mike's response to the double-feature event was pretty hilarious. Wes, your thoughts on the best way to pull it off? This should be an offseason event for II! Show the movies on the big screen in the stadium? Don't worry I'll bring the movies, just make sure the big screen at Lambeau can play VHS for "Fletch."

I laugh thinking about Spoff explaining "Fletch" to me and me trying to explain all of Peter LaFleur's jokes directed towards White Goodman.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI


This is why we can't have nice things, DUANE!

Deborah from Shawano, WI

Like that you've added the podcasts to points for Packers Perks. Some great information there that I'd never really listened to in the past!

And now an example of the real reason we developed Packers Perks. Thanks for checking it out, Deborah.

Ralph from Mönchengladbach, Germany

Plenty. Indubitably. I always like your one-word answers, because they often make me smile. How many of them will be in the next Inbox, I wonder?

It was going to be one until "Mönchengladbach" came into my life.

Jim from Los Lunas, NM

Not a question, it's just that I don't see why there's such a fuss about the HC youth movement. At my age, ANY movement is a good thing.

I can think of no better way to end Inbox. Have a great weekend, folks. Enjoy the ballgames.