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Inbox: It's all part of finding the right fit

Always include the why


Les from Las Vegas, NV

Guess they found the guy and didn't mess around.

I warned you.

Braden from Aurora, CO

Mike, let's not pretend you didn't purposely drop Nashville and analysis of when the new coach would be hired on Monday, the same day our new coach from Nashville was rumored to be hired. Congrats on being in town for this one.

Now you're giving me too much credit. The Nashville line was strictly draft-related, honest. But it was a treat reading all the vacation comments. I'm here. It truly is a new era.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

Theoretically of course, if all major news outlets are reporting something but is not, what is the precursor to announcement?

The actual signing of the contract. He wasn't physically here to sign it until Tuesday night.

Paul from Bay View, WI

So was it essential for the Packers to hire someone this quickly so they could study the upcoming draft, get their staff organized and chosen, and get acquainted with the area, or was it just because they wanted to get their guy before someone else did?

I suspect all of the above, but I'll add familiarizing himself with the in-house personnel is a much higher priority than studying the upcoming draft.

Dave from Maple Grove, MN

Now that we have our new coach, does free agency take precedence over preparing for the draft or is equal attention devoted to each?

That's why a personnel department has pro scouts and college scouts. They have their areas to focus on.

David from Janesville, WI

Well, I guess your "Packers Unscripted" break didn't turn out to be much of a break at all. Looking forward to the first one after the coaching announcement is made.

We will be back at it soon enough.

Dustin from Stevens Point, WI

I've been seeing a lot of social media talk about Matt LaFleur and Tennessee's lackluster offensive season to claim that he is a horrible choice for head coach. Clearly there is more beneath the surface of his last year. What can you tell fans, besides RELAX, to calm those concerns?

I'll let a pair of Jacks rule the table for a moment.

Jack from Superior, WI

Before everyone starts fretting about LaFleur's 25th-ranked total offense and 29th-ranked passing offense, I just want to remind them that when Mike McCarthy was hired he was the 49ers' OC and ranked dead last in total offense.

And he got the Packers an overtime away from the Super Bowl in two years.

Jack from New York, NY

He's an offensive guy with success as a QB coach (RG III, offensive rookie of the year, Matt Ryan, MVP) and no head coaching experience in the league, which worked out well with Holmgren and McCarthy. Got to think in terms as this was the right hire for the Pack despite what all the media was saying on who would be hired.

Anyone who thought they had a bead on the Packers' choice was kidding themselves. I said all along there'd be no reason to be surprised, because the Packers were talking to a ton of candidates with varied backgrounds, and they never tipped their hand.

Jason from Baraboo, WI

If LaFleur did such a great job with the Rams in 2017, why did he head to Tennessee after just one year? Seems like it was a lateral move to a less talented team.

He did it to become a play-caller. McVay was calling all the plays in LA.

Mike from Madison, WI

What do you think about the new coach? It seems like the front office prioritized bringing in a coach with a QB focus. I'm excited for next year already!

What I like is the variety of different quarterbacks he's worked with and helped make successful. That's an indication the system adjusts to fit the players. I think he'll be able to speak Rodgers' language but have multiple ideas/ways to get the job done. Changing Tennessee to a power running team down the stretch this past year to make the best use of healthy personnel, and getting a team with QB issues within one game of the playoffs, also speaks to his adaptability.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

So if you're the new, young head coach, how would you go about getting respect from your veteran players and two-time MVP player?

Whether you're talking the big-picture plan or the weekly game plan, you tell them what it will take to succeed, and why you believe it will work. Explain what you're demanding of them, but always include the why.

Marty from Rexford, MT

Mike, we don't just "seem to be OK" with you being yourself, we need it, thrive on it, and appreciate you and Wes more than you know.

Appreciate the kind words, but don't turn on me now after this next admission.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Do I have to watch "Dodgeball" now just so I understand all the memes?

You and me both. Sad to say, I know.

Nick from Sturtevant, WI

With a new coach comes a new offense. How does this change the second-year leap for guys like MVS, EQ, J'Mon and other young offensive players on this offense? Will learning a new playbook have its consequences, or is the second-year leap more about the game slowing down?

I've always felt it's more about the game slowing down and the body being trained and prepared for the NFL grind. System change has an impact, but virtually every rookie goes through that adjustment, so generally the process is smoother going through it again with all the other "welcome to the NFL" stuff out of the way.

Dean from Vienna, VA

Gents, can you give us a picture of the Bears team we will see next year, and what challenges they face with the cap and FA? Will their D remain whole, or their O?

Chicago is in position to keep its team very much intact. The only pending free agents whose names jump out are right tackle Bobby Massie, DBs Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan, and punter Pat O'Donnell. They don't appear to have as much cap space as the Packers, but they probably aren't looking to replace a lot of players. That's why I keep saying they now go as Trubisky goes.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

Not only will Chicago "be the NFC North team with all the expectations in 2019," more importantly they will be the team playing the first-place schedule.

For the record, aside from home-away locations, the two "different" games on the NFC North schedules are as follows: Bears will play Saints and Rams, Vikings will play Falcons and Seahawks, Packers will play Panthers and 49ers, and Lions will play Buccaneers and Cardinals.

LaFleur will be entering his 11th year coaching in the NFL and his 18th overall in coaching

Thomas from DeKalb, IL

Does the fact LeRoy Butler created the Leap help his NFL HOF bid at all?

I don't think so, but in my book it counts for at least a little something. It's an end-zone celebration that has lasted a quarter century and is still going strong.

Christopher from Eau Claire, WI

As we prepare to welcome a new coaching staff into Green Bay, I am curious to know how much a desire to have a say in player personnel was a consideration during the interview process. A coach who has some head coaching experience, say Josh McDaniels, may have wanted more decision-making power in the draft and possible free-agency deals than a first-time head coach. Would this be something that the powers that be would take into account as they look to the future, or would it not factor into it?

I'm sure Murphy and Gutekunst made the job descriptions and expectations clear in the interview process. It's all part of finding the right fit for the team and organization.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

It's an exciting time. I found myself unable to focus at work last Friday, knowing somewhere Gute and Murphy were jet-setting across the country binge-interviewing with the fate of the team in their hands. Regardless of the outcome, these last few days were as monumental as any. It's not century No. 2 until Aug. 11, so I'm hoping Year 100 still has one more influential, milestone moment in store. Thoughts?

Clearly, we won't know if this is one more milestone moment of the first century until sometime into the second. I can't wait to find out.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

If you dance with the one that brung ya, then why didn't Smith let Orton win Super Bowl XLI? Instead he let Grossman lose it. Orton brought them there, Grossman lost it for them.

You're confusing the Bears' seasons in 2005 and 2006. In '05, Orton started 15 of 16 regular-season games, but they turned to Grossman in the playoffs and lost. In '06, Grossman started all 16 regular-season games and both playoff games heading into the Super Bowl.

Jeremy from Evansville, IN

Clemson taking Notre Dame and Alabama to school doesn't help my quest to end the Power 5 Invitational and replace it with five champs and three at-large bids.

It shouldn't. I've been hollering for an eight-team playoff for about 20 years, since they first created the BCS. Back then, there were six power conferences, and they chose two at-larges to add to the mix for the top four BCS bowl matchups (quarterfinals, anyone?). Now you could do the Power 5 champs, top Group of 5 team, plus two at-large bids. It's not hard, and it would remove the biggest layer of subjectivity in the process because every major conference champ gets in, period. More important, the opportunity for any team in college football to win it all would be more legitimate.

John from Mount Vernon, IA

This weekend was a great example of why the NFL playoff format is perfect. Three of the four wild-card teams winning shows there are no easy games in the playoffs and just how valuable the reward of a bye is for the top teams in each conference.

Thank you.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I kind of get why people anticipate who we should draft in the first round, but really, tell me what position (other than QB or RB) we should pass on if that person were the highest-ranked player available at pick 12? We need good players and rookie contracts don't hurt either. A successful high draft choice will help the team, no matter where he plays.

Another place I'm firmly setting up camp.

Brian from Baltimore, MD

Spoff suggested that the 1-5 Colts may have had their defining moment during their opening poor stretch when Reich boldly told his players he believed in them. At Week 8, the Eagles (4-4), Ravens (4-4), Bears (4-3), Packers (3-3-1) and Cowboys (3-4) were essentially wallowing. Some had coaches, like Harbaugh and Garrett, hearing some distant howlers. What "defining moments" perhaps propelled these teams to finish in the playoffs that may have been missed by the Packers?

An uplifting, momentum-generating victory over a top team down the stretch. They all had one, Green Bay didn't. The Eagles and Bears both beat the Rams. The Ravens beat the Chargers. The Cowboys beat the Saints. The Packers had multiple opportunities in November (Rams, Patriots, Seahawks) and one more in December (Bears) but never cashed in.

Brad from Eau Claire, WI

More an observation on your response to Sam from Janesville. Mike McCarthy had many strengths and should be honored for his contributions to this organization. But I believe that first downs and sustained drives allow you to control game tempo and keep your defense (and the other team's offense) on the sideline. It's OK to move the sticks. I hope a new system modifies the priorities just a bit.

That's pretty much what I was getting at.

Dan from Madison, WI

In regards to a new system helping the offensive line, LaFleur is on record also saying teams have to create big plays. Is the rest of his system going to help the O-line or will they look the same as under McCarthy?

I think wanting to create big plays and relying on them are two different things.

Jerome from Midland, MI

Insiders, do you think the Packers took the same approach researching/selecting draft picks as they did selecting their new head coach? Packers look at the future potential of the person and long-term success rather than the big-name buzz.

The Packers don't have to make a splash to sell tickets or energize their fan base. This whole process, dating back a little over a month ago, struck me as the Packers actively seeking their next long-term future and looking to start it now, rather than waiting for something to come along.

Dekker from Chicago, IL

Parkey's kick was tipped after further review. Could this be the first triple doink in NFL lore?

It was a tic-tac-toe of sorts.

Max from Troy, MO

When can we expect an announcement about our new HC's choices for assistants? Are there any frontrunners, besides the widely repeated assumption we'll bring back Pettine?

Let's see what LaFleur says about all that in his introductory news conference later today. I would think he'll want to work quickly to compile his staff with all the activity in the coaching market cranking up right now.

Jason from Austin, TX

This Chargers team is going to have to learn how to close out games against the team that's known for never having the door completely shut on them. That's the game of the week in my opinion.

Especially with what they're forecasting for this weekend in Foxboro.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Without a dog in the hunt I have had some difficulty determining which team I would like to win the SB. I am now firmly in the Chargers' camp. First, it would mean knocking off the Patriots and that is always a good thing. Second, I think Rivers deserves a ring. Finally, they have no fan base to speak of. They are just playing for their teammates and coaches at this point. I think that is pretty cool.

Hadn't thought of it like that.

Tanner from Tulsa, OK

You should make sure Austin from Galesville watches the highlights of the Chargers-Ravens game if he missed it, in regards to special teams risk vs. reward. It's easier to have a pessimistic opinion with the lack of production from ST that we've had recently.

The offense and defense have enough challenges in front of them without having to overcome more of a team's own making. That's really what winning the battle on special teams comes down to. The big plays in that phase to change the landscape are a byproduct of being consistently better than the other guys.

Joshua from Black Earth, WI

I have some friends that are Bears fans that are really upset over Sunday's game. I told them if they don't want to feel this way again maybe they should root for their team to be a non-contender again. Only one team wins the Lombardi every year. Postseason losses come with the territory of successful teams.

Down-to-the-wire playoff losses are always the toughest to take, but they indicate your team was right there. That should be worth something.

Steve from Madison, WI

LaFleur Lane has a nice ring to it.

Maybe he should win a game first?

Cecilia from King George, VA

Jan. 9…Happy birthday to Bart Starr, Blake Martinez, and my youngest daughter.

Make it a great one.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

Mike, now that the season is over, think you have time for a haircut?

Already done. I guess that was my vacation.