GREEN BAY — All the talk may be centered on how Matt LaFleur will connect with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the Green Bay Packers new head coach apparently made a very strong first impression on No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams.
Adams, speaking to Green Bay NBC affiliate WGBA-TV after the NFC’s practice Wednesday at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., had nothing but good things to say about LaFleur, whom he said he met during a recent visit to Lambeau Field in advance of Sunday’s Pro Bowl game.
Most of the players have yet to meet LaFleur since his hiring came after the players cleaned out their lockers and went their separate ways after the season-ending loss to the Detroit Lions.
“I met him when I went up for my physical just a few days (ago). Got to meet him, and he’s a great guy,” Adams told NBC26’s Kelly Price. “I like what he’s trying to do with the offense. It’s pretty innovative, so it’ll be a good way to mix things up a little bit.”
Adams said that when the news broke of LaFleur’s hiring on Jan. 7, he learned from a friend and immediately started doing research on his new coach. A second-round pick in 2014, Adams has only played for Mike McCarthy, who was fired on Dec. 2 with four games left in the season, and interim head coach Joe Philbin, who had been McCarthy’s offensive coordinator.
“One of my buddies told me (the Packers had hired LaFleur), and I got on and I looked (him up), because I didn’t really know much about him,” Adams said. “I knew he was with the Titans (previously), so I looked him up and did a little bit of my own homework, I guess you could say. And then I met up with him, and he was great. Great first impression.”
Speaking in an interview with ESPN Wisconsin last week, LaFleur said he’d spoken to Rodgers “multiple” times but that he’d only spoken to a handful of other players at that point — including All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and veteran defensive lineman Mike Daniels. But, LaFleur emphasized, connecting with players was a priority once his full coaching staff is set. LaFleur still has a few openings to fill on the staff.
“(I’m) just trying to nail down our staff, as well as trying to reach out to everybody in this organization, including the players,” LaFleur said. “Ultimately, they’re the most important ones.”
Asked what else struck him about LaFleur, the 26-year-old Adams pointed to the 39-year-old LaFleur’s youth. McCarthy is 55 and had been in his 13th season as head coach.
“He’s a real young guy. It’s a big change-up from Mike’s style, obviously, just off age alone,” Adams said. “(He seems) really relatable, which is going to be really good. To be able to lead men, you’ve got to be able to entertain them and capture their attention and gain their respect. He’s a guy that I see we can definitely move in that direction with.”
Meanwhile, Adams expressed excitement that former wide receivers coach Luke Getsy, who was with the team from 2014 through 2017, is set to return as quarterbacks coach. Getsy, who spent two years as an offensive quality control assistant before being elevated to wide receivers coach in 2016, left after last season to become the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State.
Even though Getsy will be Rodgers’ position coach now, Adams said he’s still happy about the news.
“As long as he’s back. I love that guy,” Adams said. “So as long as he’s back, it doesn’t really matter what room he’s in. Because I’ll steal some of that coaching and be around him a little bit. So I’m happy for him.”
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9-11 on “Wilde & Tausch” on your local ESPN station.
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