Matt LaFleur Addresses Packers’ Interest in Hiring 49ers Assistant

LaFleur Didn't Try Hiring Brother

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers walks onto the field prior to the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.

The Green Bay Packers are still looking for a new wide receivers coach for the 2020 season, but Matt LaFleur wants to be clear his brother wasn’t in the running for the job.

Rumors began circulating about the possibility of a LaFleur family reunion in Green Bay shortly after the Packers wrapped up their postseason and began making staffing changes, including the firing of wide receivers coach Alvis Whitted. LaFleur had already tried once to hire his brother away from the San Francisco 49ers when he took over as head coach last January, leading many to speculate he might attempt to do the same in 2020.

“This was a year ago,” LaFleur clarified Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine when a reporter asked him about offseason talks of hiring his brother to the Packers’ staff next season. “No, we did not talk about it (this year). That had no bearing … I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now.”

According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan agreed to give Mike LaFleur the chance to join his brother’s staff in Green Bay this year, but the three of them discussed it and decided it was better for him to stay in San Francisco, leading him to sign a contract extension to stay on as the Niners’ passing game coordinator.

LaFleur also confirmed the Packers intend to hire a new wide receivers coach soon and are “working through that process right now,” but they are also not necessarily looking to find a veteran coach with a wealth of experience like what they found in new defensive backs coach Jerry Gray.

“I think it’s more about fit,” LaFleur said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have a lot of experience, and it’s about trying to find the right fit not only for our staff but for our players and for them to go out and perform at their best.”

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Packers’ Next WR Coach Will Have Important Function

Every position on a team’s coaching staff brings some value, but the Packers’ next hire could be very important in terms of developing a position that underachieved during the 2019 season.

Green Bay finished near the middle of the pack with the 19th-most receiving yards per game (251.8) and per play (11.3), but the bulk of their production in the passing game came from positions other than wideouts. While Davante Adams led the way with 83 catches, 997 yards and five touchdowns, the next-closest wide receiver to him was Allen Lazard with 35 receptions for just 477 yards — good for fifth on the team behind both running back and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham.

Whoever the Packers hire to lead the group next will need to demand more from the receivers on a regular basis and do a better job of selecting the right personnel for particular schemes. The next wide receivers coach will also likely be tasked with developing at least one early-round draft pick into an immediate weapon for the offense, as the Packers are poised to invest in a deep receiving class at the 2020 NFL Draft.

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