The Green Bay Packers are still on the hunt for a new wide receivers coach with fans clamoring for a former player — Donald Driver? Jordy Nelson? — to step into the role, but it might make more sense for them to find someone who already knows what Matt LaFleur expects from his room of wideouts.
Katie Sowers might just fit the bill.
Sowers, who became the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl as the San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant, could be a compelling candidate to lead and develop the Packers’ wide receivers. She has some familiarity with LaFleur, having served as a wide receivers intern and, later, a scouting intern while he was quarterbacks coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.
She left to join up with the Niners as a seasonal offensive assistant ahead of the 2017 season after Kyle Shanahan — who was the offensive coordinator of that ’16 Falcons squad — took over as San Francisco’s head coach and worked her way up to a full-time staff role within a year.
“She’s been tremendous,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said via The Associated Press. “Katie was here before I was. What she does with the receivers, all the skill position guys, how she interacts with them, it’s special. She’s feisty, man. Katie is awesome out there. She’ll get after the guys. It’s fun to be around.”
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Move Would Make Sense for Sowers
Taking a job as a positions coach would be the logical next career move for Sowers, and it doesn’t seem likely that opportunity will arise in the near future with Wes Welker only just finishing up his first season as San Francisco’s receivers coach. Shanahan described Welker as “the best of both worlds” and one of his “favorite players of all time” when he hired him last offseason, which doesn’t sound like the type of partnership that will end soon.
As such, Sowers might find a better offer somewhere like Green Bay, where the next receiving group figures to need some serious development in 2020. The Packers receivers were all over the board during their lackluster 2019 season with none aside from star Davante Adams proving capable of delivering on a consistent basis. Allen Lazard flashed moments of stellar play, but disappointing seasons from Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison kept things in a difficult state.
It would be surprising if the Packers don’t add at least one more receiving talent during the offseason, whether it be a high-priced free agent or one of the many talented wideouts in this year’s draft class. Either way, someone will need to step in and do what former coach Alvis Whitted was unable to do in his lone season: develop better weapons for Aaron Rodgers.
LaFleur has tried to hire away staffers from the Niners in the past, including his brother, Mike LaFleur, who just reportedly signed an extension to stay with Shanahan’s staff. It would make sense if he decided to try again with someone who knows the standards he expects from his receivers.
“She’s one of the coolest coaches I’ve been around,” Niners wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said via Yahoo! Sports. ”She’s kind of laid back, chill. You need that sometimes. Especially in a business where there’s a lot of chaos, a lot of stress. You need a calming voice to tell you everything is going to be all right.”