Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and wide receiver Davante Adams (17) hope there are several moments worth celebrating in 2019.
Matt LaFleur is trying to buck the odds.
LaFleur, who was named the 15 th head coach in Green Bay Packers’ history this offseason, is trying to become the first coach in team history to lead the Packers to the playoffs in his rookie season. Considering Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy – coaches who all won Super Bowls – failed in that task, you understand what a tall order it is.
Green Bay is just 13-18-1 in the last two seasons, the worst mark in the NFC North. But there are reasons to believe the Packers can turn things around in 2019, starting Thursday when they travel to Chicago to open the NFL’s 100th season.
Here are five of them:
1. The Honeymooners
By the end of the McCarthy-Aaron Rodgers marriage that lasted nearly 13 seasons, a divorce was essential.
Rodgers, the two-time MVP quarterback, had tuned out his head coach. Rodgers ignored several of McCarthy’s play calls and did his own thing at the line of scrimmage.
The result was Rodgers turning in a 2018 season that was his poorest since becoming a starter a decade earlier.
One reason LaFleur was hired was to help get Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense back on track. No one will know until later this season if the stubborn Rodgers will fully buy into LaFleur’s system. To date, though, most signs have been positive.
This week, LaFleur said Rodgers will have the freedom at the line of scrimmage to audible – something that was uncertain all offseason. That undoubtedly will make the quarterback a happy camper – for now.
“We’ve given him all the freedom,” LaFleur said. “So if he sees something, he’s got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play. We’re not going to take that from him.”
2. Za’Darius Smith
The Packers believe they’ve made dramatic improvements to their defense this offseason, adding outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, plus safety Adrian Amos in free agency. Green Bay then added outside linebacker Rashan Gary and safety Darnell Savage in the first round of the NFL Draft.
If you’re looking for a difference maker in 2019, though, it’s likely to be Za’Darius Smith.
Za’Darius Smith, 27, didn’t play football until his senior year at …read more
Source:: Daily Times