The Green Bay Packers are in full-on offseason mode following their 20-16 loss on “Sunday Night Football” against the Detroit Lions in Week 18, and head coach Matt LaFleur has already begun his evaluations. He stressed the importance of consistency, both on his coaching staff and roster, at his end-of-year press conference on Monday, but LaFleur also said he has reached out to a familiar face about rejoining the staff in Green Bay: recently fired Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
The 43-year-old went 4-11 in his first run as an NFL head coach, and he was let go following Denver’s 51-14 blowout loss on Christmas Day at the Los Angeles Rams. Hackett served as LaFleur’s offensive coordinator in the head coach’s first three seasons in Green Bay in which the Packers compiled a 39-10 record. That’s the record for the most wins by an NFL head coach in their first three seasons in league history. It was also the first time a team won 13 or more games in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.
“You can never have enough great coaches, and certainly you guys know how I feel about Nathaniel [Hackett] and the job that he did here,” LaFleur said Monday. “I did talk him after he got let go in Denver, and I know that he needs some family time as well.”
One of the elements both LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers credited Hackett for during his time in Green Bay over the years was his red zone game planning, but LaFleur has been the actual offensive play-caller the entire time he has been the Packers head coach. The Packers ranked 24th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage (51.9 percent) and last in goal-to-go touchdown percentage (50 percent) in 2022 after ranking third in the red zone (68.5 percent) and in goal-to-go offense (83.1 percent) from 2020-2021, Hackett’s last two years on staff when Rodgers won consecutive NFL MVPs.
Following Hackett’s departure, LaFleur promoted offensive line coach Adam Stenavich to the offensive coordinator role, so if Hackett decides to return to the Packers it could be with a different title. LaFleur also acknowledged Monday that the play-calling responsibilities could potentially be in someone else’s hands next season if that’s what it takes to win. Green Bay averaged 25.6 points per game in LaFleur’s first three seasons, eighth-most in the NFL from 2019-2021, but they ranked 17th in the NFL this season, averaging 21.1 points per game.
“As far as play-calling is concerned, that has crossed my mind,” LaFleur said when asked if he thought about becoming more of a CEO kind of coach, observing the whole operation from a different perspective. “I want to do whatever is best for us to have success. If we feel like that is the best way to win games, then I would 100 percent hand that over.”
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