New Packers coach Matt LaFleur has never been a head coach at any level, so he won’t have a wealth of experience to draw from when he gets in game situations this year. He’s hoping he has numbers on his side.
Via Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, LaFleur has been thinking about the role of analytics in his future decision-making process, and is implementing plans to use numbers as a tool. He didn’t hire a specific game-management coach as others have, but he retained Mike McCarthy’s analytics staff, and plans to have General Manager Brian Gutekunst come up with specific situations during OTA practices to test his decision-making. He did similar things as the offensive coordinator of the Titans, but the pressure is obviously different now.
“Being the play caller I want to think on my feet,” LaFleur said. “Tell me you’re going to throw one in — and we’ll throw one in randomly, because that’s what this game is about, it’s about sudden change, it’s about being able to react to any adversity.
‘[In Tennessee] it was really beneficial, because there were a couple times where I was like, ‘Ooof.’ I’m trying to think real fast, I haven’t thought about this, what am I going to do? Then you do whatever you can in that moment, then go back and reflect, OK, was it good or could I have done something different?”
He’s going to meet regularly with his staff during the offseason, to create those scenarios to test players (and himself) in practice, as he learns the whens and the hows of being in charge.
“Numbers are great but they don’t tell the whole story,” LaFleur said. “That’s why I think you need to go along with the story. You can’t just blanket-statement stuff. . . . Going back to [an end-of-half] example, who’s the quarterback? How’s our defense playing? There are so many variables you have to take into account. Sometimes you have to trust your gut.”
That might sound like an old-school coach’s take, but LaFleur seems prepared to embrace the help, as he enters a new realm of responsibility.