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Matt LaFleur Is the Ultimate Referendum on Mark Murphy


It’s hard to have a strong knee-jerk opinion one way or the other on Matt LaFleur, whom the Packers are hiring as head coach. On one hand, he was involved with Matt Ryan’s MVP season and the 2017 Rams which means affiliation with Sean McVay; on the other, his offense in Tennessee this past season was aggressively mediocre (and the Rams didn’t have much of a drop-off without him). What I do have a strong opinion about, though, is that the success or failure of his tenure should stick to Packers president Mark Murphy.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy had more successful tenures in Green Bay than they are generally given credit for by Packers fans, but a) Murphy was not the one who hired them, and b) the organization has atrophied in recent years as drafts were brutal, free agency signings missed, players who were not re-signed (Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Julius Peppers) excelled elsewhere, and the relationship between McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers reached the point of irreconcilable differences.

When Murphy relieved Thompson of his duties and installed Brian Gutekunst as GM, he also enacted an odd structure where Gutekunst and McCarthy both reported to him. By all accounts, Murphy had final say over the coaching hire, and it is doubtful that the reporting structure will be any different under LaFleur than with McCarthy last season.

Therefore, this hire should stick to Murphy. There are eight head coaching openings this offseason and just by the math and the way the NFL works, 1-2 of those new coaches are going to enact an immediate turnaround. Even with a lack of obvious slam dunk candidates in this coach cycle, there will be a unicorn that hastens other organizations’ impatience with fast results like Sean McVay and Matt Nagy have done the last two seasons. Maybe LaFleur is That Guy.

But if he isn’t, and the Packers continue to languish, you’d have a hard time convincing me that Murphy should be around to make the next coaching hire.