NFL Football

While paying respect to past, LaFleur focused on future

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Going into his first practice as Packers head coach, Matt LaFleur is trying to downplay the past.

At least a little bit.

"I wanted to make it about these guys," LaFleur said following Tuesday's minicamp practice.

"When you come to the Green Bay Packers, obviously, you respect the tradition, the history, but, for us and this football team, it's about making history.

"We'll always pay credit and respect to what's been done here in the past, but it's moving forward. And the expectation level is always going to be great in this organization, as it should be, and that's really the vibe and what I want our guys to focus on."

After eight consecutive playoff berths, the Packers have fallen short of the postseason the past two seasons. After winning two MVP awards and challenging for a third in 2016 while propelling the team to the NFC championship game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has struggled by his stellar standards.

LaFleur has been busy putting his fingerprint on the team. It's been small but noticeable things, such as painting the hallways and meeting rooms a bright white.

"There was a lot of paint involved," LaFleur joked.

And it's been big things, such as conducting a pre-draft minicamp and teaching a new offensive system.

Tuesday's practice was the first time the team hit the practice field since December.

Only a fraction of the playbook has been installed, but Rodgers likes all the big plays he's seen on video.

"I think what every coach will do in this situation - and it happens whether you're putting in new plays with the same system or when it's wholesale changes - the clips that we're seeing of this offense are big plays," Rodgers said.

"They're showing us these plays and Julio (Jones is) running 80 for a touchdown or hitting Santana Moss or DeSean Jackson for big plays. Those are exciting. You look at those and go, `Man, this offense is incredible.' It's obviously cherry-picked to look as good as possible. The plays look great on the film. It's going to be incorporating them with the guys that we have and finding who those guys are who run those plays best and putting our best players in position to make an impact in the game."

Rodgers was in a playful mood, fielding questions about "Game of Thrones" and the Milwaukee Bucks - the NBA team for which he is a minority owner. After two difficult seasons for the Packers, LaFleur wants to make things fun again.

"I think when you really sit down and think about it, whether you're coaching in this league or whether you're playing in this league, you've got to feel pretty fortunate that you're in the position that you're in," LaFleur said.

"So why not go to work every day and have fun with it? It does not need to be an uptight environment. We can certainly come in, get our work done, and have a ball doing it. Because at the end of the day, it's about guys playing football, you know? It's still playing. So, we want to have a blast each and every day."

Rodgers compared learning LaFleur's offense to learning a new language. So, it seems, is LaFleur's approach to the team's rich history.

"I think the great thing about Matt is it's been very clear messaging," Rodgers said. "He's been great in front of the room. It's a forward focus. It's about building today for a better tomorrow. He's done a great job of talking about how the most important thing is us moving forward together and having a deference and appreciation for the past.

"But, you know, it's not like we haven't won a Super Bowl in a while, so that's the goal, and it's about doing things with this team right now. I mean, it's Green Bay. The history and tradition of excellence so nobody has a problem with the past or bashing the past or offending anybody from the past. But we want to do something special moving forward."


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Updated April 23, 2019

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Teams Score Time
St. Francis Brooklyn 64 F
North Carolina State 95
Syracuse 14 03:36 2nd
Duke 3
Louisville   7:30pm
NC State  
Falcons   Sun 1:00pm
Hurricanes 4 F/OT
Wild 3
Teams Score Time
Columbia 42 F
Virginia 60
Oakland 50 F
Maryland 80
Ohio 54 F
Villanova 78
St. Francis Brooklyn 64 F
North Carolina State 95
Lehigh 53 F
Virginia Tech 79
Alcorn State 56 F
Memphis 102
Belmont 100 F
Boston College 85
Quinnipiac 52 F
Miami (FL) 80
Nicholls 51 11:02 2nd
LSU 58
Washington 17 07:45 1st
Tennessee 27
Seattle   7:00pm
San Diego   10:00pm
Teams Score Time
Alabama 38 F
Mississippi State 7
Alabama State 12 F
Florida State 49
Florida 23 F
Missouri 6
Indiana 27 F
Penn State 34
Kansas 13 F
Oklahoma State 31
Michigan State 10 F
Michigan 44
Wisconsin 37 F
Nebraska 21
Navy 10 07:12 4th
Notre Dame 52
Georgia 14 00:00 Half
Auburn 0
Memphis 28 00:00 Half
Houston 20
Ohio State 35 00:00 Half
Rutgers 7
Texas 7 00:00 Half
Iowa State 10
Virginia Tech 38 09:59 3rd
Georgia Tech 0
Wake Forest 3 00:00 Half
Clemson 31
Minnesota 3 00:54 2nd
Iowa 20
Syracuse 14 03:36 2nd
Duke 3
Cincinnati   7:00pm
South Florida  
LSU   7:00pm
Ole Miss  
Louisville   7:30pm
NC State  
Oklahoma   7:30pm
UCLA   8:00pm
New Mexico   10:15pm
Boise State  
Arizona   10:30pm
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Nets   6:00pm
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Hornets   7:30pm
Rockets   8:00pm
Pelicans   8:00pm
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Raptors   8:30pm
Hawks   10:30pm
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Bills   Sun 1:00pm
Cowboys   Sun 1:00pm
Broncos   Sun 1:00pm
Texans   Sun 1:00pm
Jaguars   Sun 1:00pm
Saints   Sun 1:00pm
Jets   Sun 1:00pm
Cardinals   Sun 4:05pm
Bengals   Sun 4:25pm
Patriots   Sun 4:25pm
Bears   Sun 8:20pm
Chiefs   Mon 8:15pm
Teams Score Time
Hurricanes 4 F/OT
Wild 3
Flames 0 08:11 2nd
Coyotes 2
Stars 2 09:24 2nd
Oilers 3
Golden Knights 1 10:52 2nd
Kings 3
Jets 3 06:06 2nd
Lightning 1
Devils   7:00pm
Islanders   7:00pm
Rangers   7:00pm
Senators   7:00pm
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1 11 Denny Hamlin 3
2 18 Kyle Busch 1
3 12 Ryan Blaney 10
4 42 Kyle Larson 5
5 4 Kevin Harvick 7
6 19 Martin Truex Jr 4
7 20 Erik Jones 9
8 14 Clint Bowyer 13
9 22 Joey Logano 2
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1 22 Austin Cindric 3
2 20 Christopher Bell 7
3 7 Justin Allgaier 16
4 98 Chase Briscoe 5
5 2 Tyler Reddick 1
6 9 Noah Gragson 10
7 23 John Hunter Nemechek 6
8 18 Harrison Burton 9
9 11 Justin Haley 8
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 5
2 88 Matt Crafton 9
3 51 Christian Eckes 2
4 45 Ross Chastain 3
5 24 Brett Moffitt 4
6 13 Johnny Sauter 6
7 98 Grant Enfinger 7
8 4 Todd Gilliland 11
9 2 Sheldon Creed 12