GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Coaching in the NFL is not an easy job.
Want proof? 20 of the 32 teams have fired their main man in the last 3 years.
But in his first year in Titletown, Matt LaFleur is providing instant success.
When LaFleur opened training camp back in July, he said his biggest challenge as a first year head coach would be adapting to the unexpected. It appears he's done a pretty good job, as evidenced by the 4-1 start.
So, what has been his biggest challenge so far?
“That's a great question because there is something almost on a daily basis that comes up,” LaFleur said. “For myself specifically I think we have to hit that reset button and look at it like 0-0. That's the mentality that we have.”
LaFleur's 4-1 start is impressive enough in a vacuum, especially with the opponents that Packers have played. But the NFL is not a vacuum. And if you take stock of the league-wide climate, the other 4 rookie head coaches have just 2 wins combined. And 1 of those came when two rookie coaches squared off last week. For LaFleur it is about culture and about his players.
“It boils down to getting the right guys in the building,” LaFleur said. “Gutekunst and his guys have done a great job.When I was in high school, or college, on in the NFL I think the teams that were the closest and the most connected had the most success.”
While LaFleur deflects praise to the players, Aaron Rodgers is directing some right back because of one key trait from the new coach.
“Encouraging guys to be themselves,” Rodgers said. “When you create an environment that allows freedom of expression. And You have Za'Darius Smith who just brings it everywhere he goes. You guys know it, Z and Preston love each other like real brothers. They hang out and love doing interviews together. It's just a different feel.”
Not even LaFleur's mentor, Sean McVay, achieved a 4-1 start to his career. The last skipper to start 4-1 or better was Dan Quinn with the Falcons back in 2015.