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Matt LaFleur has gentle postgame reminder for Packers fans
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PACKERS | NOTES

Matt LaFleur has gentle postgame reminder for Packers fans

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Packers rookie running back Kylin Hill dives to finish off a 12-yard scoring run in the first quarter. 

GREEN BAY — Matt LaFleur doesn’t use his Twitter account very often. His last posting was after a Milwaukee Bucks playoff win … on June 19.

But the Green Bay Packers head coach may resort to filming a public-service announcement for fans so they understand when they should and should not make noise at Lambeau Field.

Much like quarterback Aaron Rodgers and left tackle David Bakhtiari have tried to gently admonish fans to keep quiet when the offense is on the field, LaFleur could be seen on the sideline during Saturday’s 23-14 loss to the New York Jets — a game in which he left the offensive play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy — trying to quiet the announced crowd of 73,628 while his team had the ball.

From chanting “Go Pack Go!” on a critical third down play to doing “The Wave” during a crucial red-zone possession, it’s apparently going to take the fans a little time to get back on their game after being on the outside looking into the stadium because of COVID-19 most of last season.

“We're going to have some talks with some people in our building about how we can help educate our fans in certain situations,” LaFleur said. “I love our fans, first and foremost. I think we have the best fans in the National Football League. The support they show, when we're at home, when we're on the road, is second to none. So I always want to start out with that before I become critical of them.

“But certainly, when you're on offense and it's a third-down situation, I'd rather not hear the ‘Go Pack Go!’ chant. And when we're on offense, I'd rather not see ‘The Wave.’ I'd rather see that when we're on defense. We love our fans, but we definitely will try to get some more instruction.”

Running down a dream

In their preseason-opening loss to the Houston Texans a week earlier, the Packers running backs had 19 carries for just 53 yards. On their opening possession against the Jets, they had five carries for 40 yards—including rookie seventh-round pick Kylin Hill’s 12-yard touchdown run — and finished the game with 127 yards on 27 carries.

Both No. 2 running back AJ Dillon, who started while Pro Bowl back Aaron Jones had the night off and Hill finished with 40 total yards from scrimmage apiece—Dillon on four carries and two receptions, Hill on seven carries and two catches.

That improved production was more of a statement on how much better the offensive line was against the Jets than it had been against the Texans, as the backs had very little room to run last week.

“We were able to go out there and run the football, I thought, especially in the first half, pretty effectively,” LaFleur said. “I just thought overall it was much improved.”

Not so special

For the second straight week, the Packers’ special teams were an issue. They allowed a 73-yard kickoff return, and punter JK Scott had a 21-yard shank that detracted from two very good punts. Last week, the punt coverage unit allowed a 43-yard return.

"We have to do a better job on our coverage units," LaFleur said. "Our coaches know that. I thought there were some good moments, but again, it comes down to consistency."

Rodgers sits — again

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes — both former NFL MVPs — have played in preseason games for their respective teams. But Rodgers sat out against the Jets and won’t play at Buffalo next week, marking the third straight summer (including last year, when all preseason games were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic) he won’t have taken a preseason game snap.

“I’m just glad Matty’s got me on the sideline,” Rodgers replied with a laugh during on the Packers’ TV broadcast when asked about Brady and Mahomes playing.

Rodgers wasn’t the only one to sit out Saturday, as 31 others were also scratched from the lineup. Of those, 10 were injury related, although several of those injured players wouldn’t have played even if healthy: Bakhtiari (knee, on the PUP list); No. 2 quarterback Jordan Love (shoulder); outside linebacker Rashan Gary (groin); wide receivers Devin Funchess (hamstring), Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring), Juwann Winfree (shoulder) and Chris Blair (ankle); tackle Dennis Kelly (knee); safety Vernon Scott (hamstring); and defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster (elbow).

The 22 players who sat purely for safety reasons were Rodgers and Jones; outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith; wide receivers Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling; tight ends Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney; offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner; cornerbacks Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan; inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell; safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos; and defensive linemen Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry.

“Certainly, we rested more players than we would have liked to. There were a lot of guys we wanted to get out there, (but) we’re never going to put a guy in a situation that could potentially make it worse for them,” LaFleur said. “I just think you have to weigh the risk versus the reward of getting them out there. There’s a lot of guys in that locker room that we have a lot of confidence in, and we know really well in all three phases, and just don’t feel like it’s worth that risk.”

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