Poppinga On LaFleur: This Is What Rodgers Needs

Matt LaFleur will absolutely help Aaron Rodgers, Brady Poppinga says, but there are some potential drawbacks

Reiter Than You
January 10, 2019 - 8:36 am

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Brady Poppinga spent most of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and won a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers, so he would know as well as anyone whether the Matt LaFleur hire is a good one.

He believes it is.

“Every hire right now is a to-be-determined hire because you just never know,” Poppinga said on Reiter Than You. “Right now all you can go off is does it make philosophical (sense) and principally does it make sense? It absolutely does.”

The Packers have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, during which their offense has regressed and Aaron Rodgers’ play has suffered. LaFleur, 39, has the ability to fix that.

“What Aaron needs now in his last stage of his career, which all these quarterbacks do that get to this point in their career where they know more than all the coaches – let’s just call it as it is,” Poppinga said. “They’ve seen all the defenses. They just need somebody now that, when they’re sitting in on these offensive meetings forming a plan, that the the other guy across the table – the head coach, the offensive coordinator – can give them something that’s exciting, something they’ve never thought about. It keeps them fun and stimulated and keeps them looking forward to playing and playing for them. 

“I believe that’s what’s going to happen with Matt LaFleur,” Poppinga continued. “He has an energy. He’s going to have a different perspective. These younger coaches have the same look. They’re more part of the team – instead of this old-school Bill Parcells or even Bill Belichick. (These young coaches) look more part of the team than an actual dictator. I do believe that’s what Aaron needs. So philosophically, principally, I like the hire. I believe it will work. But again, you just never know.”

While LaFleur’s youth could be an asset, it could also be a liability. After all, he’s just four years older than Rodgers.

“If something goes wrong, if there’s an adverse situation, it’s real easy for a guy that you feel like you’re on the same level as to just stop listening to him, and his message no longer reverberates with you instead of having a guy who’s a real hard-nose and kind of your father figure,” Poppinga explained. “There’s two different elements there. So we’ll see how he’s able to balance that message, how he’s able to keep the respect amongst the players but at the same time not have a superiority complex to where he’s trying to always remind everybody,’Hey, I’m your coach. I’m the alpha here,’ which I don’t believe he will. And that’s what they need.”