GREEN BAY — If Aaron Rodgers truly wants to be coached — as the Green Bay Packers veteran quarterback has said in the past — he’ll have ample opportunity to receive that coaching in the team’s new offense.
New head coach Matt LaFleur said last week that he intends to be involved in each and every quarterbacks meeting, and that room will be crowded with LaFleur, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy and Rodgers, along with backup quarterbacks DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle and whoever else the team adds this offseason.
“I think it’s great. We’ve got three quarterback guys that are going to be hitting him from all angles,” LaFleur said when asked how he, Hackett and Getsy will approach coaching the two-time NFL MVP. “I’m going to do part. I know that I need to be in that room, especially as much as I possibly can because I am going to be the (offensive) play caller.
“I think that relationship between the play caller and the quarterback is absolutely critical. So I will be in there as much as I can. I don't foresee ever missing a quarterback meeting.”
LaFleur said he plans on having Hackett and Getsy in those meetings as well, as Rodgers transitions from ex-head coach Mike McCarthy’s offense, which he spent 13 years in, including the last 11 as the Packers’ starting quarterback.
Last season, McCarthy indicated quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti spent most of his time with Kizer and Boyle while McCarthy, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and offensive passing-game coordinator Jim Hostler worked primarily with Rodgers.
Like McCarthy, whom the Packers hired as their head coach in 2006 after he’d spent more than a decade coaching quarterbacks with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers and the New Orleans Saints, LaFleur came up through the ranks coaching quarterbacks with the Washington Redskins (2010-’13), Notre Dame (2014) and the Atlanta Falcons (2015-’16) before getting his first offensive coordinator job with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.
Rodgers‘ coaches will be an interesting mix of new ideas and familiarity. Rodgers didn’t know LaFleur before he got the head-coaching job, but they’ll need to work closely with LaFleur as the play-caller. Hackett may have some ideas Rodgers is familiar with, since Hackett’s father, Paul, was McCarthy’s greatest coaching influence. In Getsy, though, Rodgers has a position coach who shared the quarterbacks room in 2014 and 2015 as an offensive assistant before coaching the Packers’ wide receivers in 2016 and 2017.
Asked if he believes Rodgers wants to be coached, Getsy replied, “Absolutely. I have no question about that. I think he’s as big of a competitor as I’ve ever been around. He has that desire to win more than anybody I’ve been around. I think whatever you want to call ‘coaching,’ I think it’s delivering the message, being consistent and holding people accountable to that message, and he wants that as much as anybody.
“As much as anything, taking coaching is as much (about), ‘What’s the right type of coaching?’ Whether it’s the right style, whether it’s the right way to deliver a message, I think it’s about communicating a message and making sure that your both on the same page and then giving that guy the opportunity to go have success. That’s what our job is as an assistant coach.”
LaFleur said he didn’t go into his search for a quarterbacks coach wanting to find someone Rodgers already knew. He also said he spoke to Rodgers and others before hiring Getsy to get an idea of what kind of fit he’d been during his first stint in Green Bay. Getsy left after the 2017 season and spent last year as Mississippi State’s offensive coordinator.
“It didn’t have to be a guy that necessarily worked with Aaron. Certainly we were going to find the best quarterback coach that’s out there,” LaFleur said. “One thing that I really did like about Luke was the fact that he played quarterback in college (at Akron).
“Certainly I reached out not only to Aaron, but a couple other guys with him being in the building before, just to find out what they thought of him as a man and as a coach and everybody gave him a thumbs up. So, he came in here and I thought he did a great job with the interview.”
While obviously learning a new offense after so many years in McCarthy’s system will be a challenge, Hackett predicted that it won’t be as overwhelming as one might expect.
“I think a lot of the same concepts cross over. Just the emphasis of some of the things that we want to do that are going to be different,” Hackett said. “When you take a guy like Aaron Rodgers, he’s a very good football player. He’s one of those guys we can do pretty much a lot of everything, so I think a lot of it is going to carry over. I think some of the language will be different, but it will be a lot of the same premises for him.
“You don’t want to necessarily treat it as a start over because he’s done so many great things. The whole thing is about working together and kind of bonding together and understand this isn’t about me, it isn’t about Matt, it’s not about Aaron, it’s about the Green Bay Packers. It’s about what’s best for the entire organization and the offense. I think it’s just about making that relationship with him and just showing (him), hey, we’re trying to put him in a great position to be the most successful than he has been. Which, that’s the essence of what we’re all trying to do.”