Packers still not running Matt LaFleur's 'true' offense 10 weeks into 2023 season
Schooled in the Kyle Shanahan offensive system, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur hasn't leaned into his coaching roots so far in 2023.
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Matt LaFleur didn't want to hear it.
All offseason, the Green Bay Packers' head coach dismissed the notion that his team would finally run his offense following the franchise-altering decision to trade future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and transition to Jordan Love.
"I always laugh at that," LaFleur said in July. "To be honest with you, I don't know what that means. It's always our offense, and it's not about one person in this building. It's about all of us, all our players, all our coaches, and how we want to attack. I would say it's a very fluid process. Sure, we got our core beliefs and our foundational values, but it's how we do what's best for our football team."
LaFleur argued, essentially, that every one of his offenses considered the strengths, weaknesses, and preferences of his personnel. Taking input from the starting quarterback, whether Rodgers or Love, would always factor into the system's design. As such, no "true" version of the offense exists, only the one that the team builds together in a given season.
That message seemed lost on Mark Murphy, the Packers' president and CEO.
"I think offensively, you're going to see probably a little bit more of Matt's true offense," Murphy said at the Packers' annual shareholders meeting later that month. "Obviously, when you have a great quarterback like Aaron and somebody who's been in the league as long as he has, we gave him the flexibility to change plays and get in and out of things that really helped, but I would anticipate a strong running game and play-action off of that."
A "strong running game and play-action off of that" loosely defines the offensive system popularized by Kyle Shanahan, the San Francisco 49ers' head coach for whom LaFleur worked as an assistant for many years and multiple teams. The Shanahan influence has extended throughout the NFL, including the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans. Those offenses rely heavily on play-action, particularly as a means to attack the middle of the field.
At the onset of the regular season, it remained unclear exactly how far LaFleur would lean into his Shanahan coaching roots. But after 10 weeks, it appears the Packers still haven't run his "true" offense.