Throughout Aaron Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay, the majority has been spent working under previous head coach Mike McCarthy. Unlike LaFleur, McCarthy ran his own version of the 49ers’ West Coast Offense. With McCarthy, Rodgers won 2-MVP trophies. He won a Super Bowl, and was Super Bowl MVP. Rodgers seemed unstoppable.
Throughout the 2011-2012 Campaign, which almost looked like the peak of the McCarthy tenure in Green Bay, Rodgers was lights out, leading his team to a 15-1 season. There was a time where Rodgers’ offense which consisted of Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones. That was an elite group of weapons which Rodgers used to rip apart defenses. Looking back, Rodgers was blessed with a solid talent around him. Not to say that he isn’t today, but one can argue the talent of the Super Bowl XLV offense isn’t in Green Bay today….or is it?
The beauty of this season is the fact that Matt LaFleur has made his imprint on the Green Bay Packers. This isn’t the Mike McCarthy mixed offense of old, rather the Matt LaFleurian offense of the future. That is the future of the Green Bay Packers.
Matt LaFleur on Sunday showcased what his offense is and will be for the foreseeable future. The LaFleurian way. It won’t be what it was last season. A mix of McCarthy era tactics mixed in with the likes of LaFleur. That way of offense is no longer.
We saw jet sweeps from Allen Lazard, Tyler Ervin, and Davante Adams. We saw multiple pre-snap shifts, throwing off the defense and helping Rodgers locate and dissect the defense. The NFL is an ever-changing and evolving game. Mike McCarthy wouldn’t have used Taysom Hill the way the Saints do, so Matt LaFleur is using the strengths of Aaron Rodgers in different ways in order to evolve the offense.
First things first, the Packers’ 43-34 victory in Minnesota was nothing short of impressive on the offensive side of the ball. Rodgers, who is now 36 years old, played like he was 26 again. He looked sharp, accurate, and was able to lead the Packers’ offense in a way he may have not last season. He looked more like himself today than in years past. He was “on the money”.
What LaFleur did today was utilize most of his offensive talent in ways that Mike McCarthy never did. This isn’t to downplay what Mike McCarthy did in Green Bay, it’s to mention the fact that LaFleur has spread out his talent. He doesn’t rely on one person (Aaron Rodgers) to lead the offense. Whether it’s AJ Dillon in the backfield with Tyler Ervin in the slot, or Aaron Jones in the backfield with Josiah Deguara, LaFleur is fully utilizing his weapons.
The fact that LaFleur does have Aaron Rodgers to work with, quite frankly, is an added bonus as to what he truly wants to accomplish. For LaFleur to be successful, he doesn’t necessarily need an MVP-Caliber quarterback at the helm. He does need, though, a cohesive offense that flows swiftly including ever developing creativity from himself.
Many people lost their minds over the fact that Packers’ GM Brian Gutkeunst didn’t draft a wide receiver. This included the opinion of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, of course, was surprised, like the rest of us. Then came AJ Dillon, a running back. Then Josiah Deguara. This was a draft in which nobody except the Packers front office could have predicted or expected. Low and behold, it was Gutkunst gearing up for what we now see as the LaFleurian offense.
The Packers still did depend on Davante Adams quite a bit. Adams, who had a career day with 14 receptions (tying a Packers single game reception record held by the one and only Don Hutson) and 156 yards receiving, was an obvious target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Adams, who is an experienced veteran receiver, was matched up with a rookie cornerback in Cameron Dantzler or Holton Hill. In either matchup, Adams succeeded time and again. It was only natural and expected for Adams to have the day that he did, but maybe not to the extent that he did.
Matt LaFleur has a lot of work to do to keep his offense on the same groove they were today, but if today was an indication of anything it was the fact that LaFleur knows what he has with his offense and where he wants to go.