Okay, okay, let’s talk about it. The Green Bay Packers are somehow in contention after Thanksgiving. Securing victories in three of the last four games, the Packers have come back from a 2-5 start to the season, igniting momentum at just the right moment. Now they are 5-6, one game out of being .500 on the season. In a weak NFC, the Packers very much still have a chance at the post season. So, how did they get here? Coach Matt LaFleur is how.
Let’s be honest, Coach LaFleur probably should have won at least one of the Coach of the Year awards during his time so far in Green Bay. I mean, he started his career in Green Bay 39-10 going to two NFC Championship games. He took a 7-9 team in 2018 and turned them into a 13-3 win team in 2019. That was before Aaron Rodgers’ resurgence in 2020. However, Aaron Rodgers is probably the reason why he didn’t win that award. Well, Rodgers is gone now. No more excuses. These are the reasons he is deserving this year.
Packers Are In Contention
So why should Matt LaFleur be Coach of the Year as of November 26, 2023? Well, with the youngest team in the NFL, they are somehow in a spot where they could make a run into the playoffs. The Packers are currently the 8th seed in the NFC, just a game and a half out of the 7th which would give them a playoff berth.
The Packers at the beginning of this year looked inconsistent and could not play complimentary football. But as the season has progressed, the team has begun to progress positively. The Packers have started to look more balanced, which has contributed their success in the past four weeks.
Sticking With His Convictions
Everyone and their dog has been calling for the firing of Joe Barry – including me. Barry’s defense has looked atrocious and can be frustrating to watch. I still think it has a ton of flaws and needs to be reassessed, but Matt LaFleur has stuck to his convictions and to his man, who just so happens to be Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry.
Barry has got the Packers defense playing at a high level. It is gross to watch but the defense has held offenses to an average score of 20 points per game. Matter of fact, the only team to score over 25 points against this Packers defense was the Detroit Lions earlier this season. Besides that, the defense has played very well.
The Packers pass defense has only been allowing around 205 passing yards per game, which is 10th best in the NFL and has been improving despite numerous injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The rush defense is still really bad but has been playing better as of late. Because Matt LaFleur has stuck to his convictions, the defense has been playing inspired ball lately.
LaFleur has also had to contend with a ton of injuries this season. For example, the Packers had 23 players on the injury report heading into the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions, six of which were on injured reserve. Even with all of these injuries, the Packers have been in almost every game. This Packers squad has been well coached and that can be seen based on the play of the backups who had to step into starter roles throughout this season.
If for nothing else, Coach LaFleur should be the leading candidate for Coach of the Year because of the development of Jordan Love thus far. This season needed to be all about evaluation of this young roster and of Jordan Love. All though there have been shaky moments early on, Love has showed amazing growth. If Love continues to develop, then all credit should be given to Coach LaFleur.
Also, look to see the Packers continue to win especially if Love continues to develop this season. If the Packers can win five out of the next six games, then they should have a pretty good chance of making the playoffs. With games against the Chiefs, Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, Vikings, and Bears, the Packers could very well find themselves in the playoffs. This is especially true based on how Love has played and how this defense has played.
The Packers can find themselves in the playoffs. And if so, then LaFleur should be a front runner for NFL Coach of the Year.
I think he might already be a front runner for that award. But what do I know? I’m a little biased.
Go Pack Go!——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.