The Packers started mandatory minicamp yesterday with all players under contract in attendance. The lone exception is wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has yet to sign his restricted tender. While some teams around the league have players missing or holding out, the Packers minicamp being at near 100% attendance is notable. The culture that the Packers have cultivated since Matt LaFleur became head coach, coupled with effective roster management has led the Packers to having a positive, player led, team first culture that makes it easy to have buy in.
Shortly after LaFleur was named head coach, he began the process of transforming the Packers. To be clear, the Packers were not in need of a full teardown of culture, but changes were needed. Under the previous regime of Mike McCarthy, it was clear that players were there to play football. LaFleur brought in a radically different idea, that the team could be player led. While the Packers leadership council was created prior to his arrival, he leaned on it heavily to be the voice of the locker room. He valued and listened to their guidance of the team and encouraged players to be vocal leaders on and off the field
The change was immediate and noticeable. Players could be themselves on and off the field. The music for practices was curated by players. Guys were having fun again. All these good vibes would only continue if they won games. And win games they did. After three seasons, the Packers have won 13 games each year. While no season has culminated in a Super Bowl birth, it’s an impressive feat.
In turning the page to 2022, the Packers are moving towards a number of changes. Their former all world wide receiver Davante Adams is in Las Vegas. Defensive tone setter Za’Darius Smith is in Minnesota. David Bakhtiari is still not practicing. All of these could be pointed to as a sign of regression for the Packers. Their secret weapon is their player led culture. There is little doubt that there will be players stepping to fill those voids. In some cases, it may be two (or even three) players working together to fill the void of a single departure. They will demand that of themselves and each other.
This player led culture that has been cultivated over the past three seasons will pay dividends in this time of evolution. Players readily buying into their roles, whatever it may be. It is a near certainty that this new Packer way will push Green Bay forward as they determine what kind of team they will be in 2022.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.