A couple of good articles this week highlighting MLF tweaking his scheme week to week to fit his opponent AND the players he currently has available. An amazing and refreshing change from McCarthy who would continue to roll out the same offense and the same schemes regardless of opponent or personnel available. A remarkable change to have a forward thinking HC.
LaFleur had to decide whether to stick with his wide zone attack or go with one that was better equipped for success against the speedy Cowboys defense. To his credit, he called inside zone runs repeatedly in the early going and made the Cowboys pay for their aggressiveness.
“It was doing kind of what we thought would work,” right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. “They’re a good front. They move a lot. They try to create issues in the run game with movement. We knew if we were able to put a hat on a hat and cut guys out of their gaps, with their movement, we could have a pretty nice day.”
Bulaga and Bakhtiari both said that the LaFleur run scheme differs some from McCarthy’s and that it has taken both the linemen and Jones some time to adjust. Jones seemed to be affected the most and wasn’t finding the big cutback lanes he had exploited in his first two seasons.
But on Sunday, everything seemed to fall into place.
“We were all on the same page,” Jones said. “Coach came up with the game plan and we focused in on it. Coming off the Philly loss, we didn’t want to take another loss. We know what kind of team we are, and we wanted to come out here and make a statement.”
Nearly nine months to the date since he was introduced as the Packers head coach, LaFleur and his offensive staff are continuing to evolve and work through the personnel on the roster. There are the small derivatives, like recognizing what tight end Jimmy Graham can do well and then putting that into action against Philadelphia. Or activating Tra Carson off the practice squad just before traveling to Dallas as opposed to exposing rookie Dexter Williams to a new situation
There are larger ones, like electing to dig into the playbook and go with more inside zone runs against an athletic Cowboys defense.
It’s one thing to talk about being willing to tailor your system to the talent; it’s another to take professional pride out of the equation and actually do it.
“I think that’s what coaching is all about,” LaFleur said Monday after his team moved to 4-1. “You find out what your guys do well, or maybe where a team is vulnerable that you’re playing against and you attack that. I just think that’s part of coaching, that’s part of game-planning. But ultimately you’ve got to know your players. You’ve got to know what they do well and try to put them in position to have success.”