Half a decade ago in Washington D.C. Dean Lowry Jersey White , Matt LaFleur forged a bond with a baby-faced mid-20’s tight ends coach with spiky blonde hair. This friendship would come to help define LaFleur in the eyes of the Green Bay Packers front office, catapulting him into the big chair at 1265 Lombardi. Oh, and his friend? He’s preparing to take on the Cowboys in Los Angeles this weekend after taking the NFL by storm in his first two seasons as the Rams head coach. Sean McVay’s vertiginous success gives LaFleur heat. Mike and Kyle Shanahan solidify the 39-year-old Michigan native’s pedigree. Gary Kubiak provides some gravitas. All of these men shaped the new Packers head coach, leading to the central question in his hiring: is LaFleur a prot茅g茅 of the men under whom he’s coached, or simply a product of them? Clearly Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst believe he’s the former. Now, he gets the chance to prove it. LaFleur’s deep roots in coaching under some of the most respected coaches in the NFL presented quite a tantalizing option for the Packers as a Mike McCarthy replacement. Even before his stop in our nation’s capital where he met Sean McVay, LaFleur began building the branches of his coaching tree resume. That seedling starts in Houston under Gary Kubiak, a disciple of Mike Shanahan, who is himself part of the prestigious Bill Walsh tree. If this all sounds confusing already, buckle up. Kubiak became a punchline in Houston, but had been a Super Bowl-winning coordinator in Denver under Mike Shanahan and eventually earned another ring as head coach in Denver with Peyton Manning. His zone-run offense propelled Arian Foster to stardom and laid the groundwork for another friendship essential to LaFleur’s rise: Mike’s son Kyle Shanahan. The Shanahans brought LaFleur to Washington in 2010, where he met McVay and assisted in the construction of the famous Robert Griffin III rookie season and early mentoring of Kirk Cousins. Kyle then brings LaFleur to Atlanta, where they set the world ablaze with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in 2016.McVay’s surprising hire in 2017 brings LaFleur to LA as offensive coordinator, which ultimately earns him a job with Mike Vrabel, part of the Bill Belichick tree (though we aren’t sure if that tree is bearing much fruit). For a 39-year-old coach, that resume speaks volumes. Shanahan and McVay are widely considered the two brightest offensive minds in the NFL and each think highly of LaFleur, having hired him. Technically the Shanahans have hired him multiple times if you count father and son. But being in the kitchen when the food is made doesn’t mean one is a great chef. LaFleur has never been a head coach at any level of football and his one season in Tennessee produced middling results. In one crucial way, LaFleur is the Packers version of the Trading Places experiment http://www.packerslockerroom.com/authentic-jake-ryan-jersey , only (hopefully) without the racism. He was in a difficult situation last year with the Titans, dealing with an injured quarterback, a shaky offensive line, and a dearth of quality pass catchers. With the Packers, he’ll have the football equivalent to the limo, butler, and the brownstone in the tony neighborhood with the offensive talent as his disposal. McVay reportedly pushed for LaFleur with the Packers and based on the reaction of former players like Dan Orlovsky, Aaron Rodgers will be pleased with him as a coach. With all the intrigue swirling around Josh McDaniels, Murphy and Gutekunst snapped up LaFleur, a coach who hasn’t done things like lead a team before or call plays in high-leverage moments. McDaniels has called played in a Super Bowl. LaFleur hasn’t. But Kyle and Mike Shanahan have. Gary Kubiak has. And while Sean McVay hasn’t, he spearheaded the greatest single-season offensive turn-around in NFL history with Jared Goff. If LaFleur is truly a protege of these men, imagine what he could do with Aaron Rodgers.Such success is hardly a guarantee. For every McVay, there are half a dozen Marty Mornhinwegs. How many teams thought they were hiring Bill Belichick Jr. and wound up with Charlie Weis or Romeo Crennel instead? It’s like the stock market: past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results and the NFL proves every year just how bad it is at picking futures. But with his resume, if a team can’t justify taking a gamble on a young, ideologically progressive coach with legitimate bona fides in prestige systems, who is worth that risk? When the Packers hired Mike McCarthy, part of his appeal was his roots in the West Coast system. He was a Mike Holmgren discipline, descended from the Walsh tree Womens Oren Burks Jersey , though a different branch than Shanahan et al. Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst come from the Ron Wolf tree (which is really the Al Davis tree). Green Bay values pedigree and continuity. Former NFL QB Trent Dilfer called LaFleur “Mike McCarthy before McCarthy stopped grinding.” The Packers would be lucky to recreate the success of the early McCarthy years. Although they may be from different branches of the coaching tree, Green Bay is banking on LaFleur not falling too far. Green Bay reportedly feels that Daniels is no longer a three-down player. Given that evaluation, moving on from him was inevitable." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesAcme Packing Company homepageHorizontal - WhiteAcme Packing Companya Green Bay Packers communityFollow Acme Packing Company online:Follow Acme Packing Company on TwitterFollow Acme Packing Company on FacebookFollow Acme Packing Company on InstagramLog in or sign upLog InSign UpSite searchSearchSearchAcme Packing Company main menuFanpostsFanshotsSectionsPackersOddsAboutMastheadCommunity GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 321 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections The APC PodcastPackers Film RoomFantasy Football AdviceCDTShare this storyShare this on FacebookShare this on TwitterShareAll sharing optionsShareAll sharing options for:Packers’ view of Mike Daniels’ limited role helps explain the decision to release himTwitterFacebookRedditPocketFlipboardEmailPhoto by Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWhen word first came down that the Green Bay Packers were cutting Mike Daniels on Wednesday, the most common reaction among fans of the team was shock. That shock then gave way to anger for many fans, as Daniels was a fan favorite for much of his seven-year career.Then, as the day went along, more and more details came out that gave more context to the release. The first and easiest to obtain was Daniels’ contract number. The $10.7 million cap hit he was scheduled to have this season was a large figure, and freeing up about $8 million in space clearly played a significant part. Looking back at the Packers’ additions in free agency and through the draft shows the team’s commitment to taller, longer, more versatile players up front.But one subtle comment from beat writer Tom Silverstein went a bit under the radar. Check out the last sentence of this tweet:If the Packers truly think Daniels is only a third-down pass-rusher at this point, then the release makes complete sense, especially in light of their offseason additions. On obvious passing situations, the Packers have a ton of options for interior rushers. Kenny Clark can do the job tremendously well, and Dean Lowry has shown plenty of chops in those situations as well, while Montravius Adams and rookie Kingsley Keke represent additional potential options. Then there are the outside linebackers, as the team has been quick to note that Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary will definitely put their hands on the ground in those situations. There’s also a good chance that the team sees some of those players — Clark and Smith in particular — as being better options than Daniels right now anyway, making him a second or third option in those situations.Now, that analysis is certainly up for debate. Daniels has been an effective run defender throughout his career Brett Favre Jersey , anchoring well on base downs and eating up blockers. However, he did seem to slip a bit in that area in 2018, Mike Pettine’s first year as defensive coordinator, even before his injury struck. That and his 30th birthday passing in May would surely be reasons for the Packers’ reported evaluation of his value as a player for the coming season.Given his projected role as a situational interior rusher, Daniels was unlikely to play more than 50% of the team’s snaps in those situations, based solely on the other options that Pettine has at his disposal. If the team then does not see him as being a suitable option on base downs any more, then a $10.7 million cap hit is absolutely unacceptable and moving him would be the obvious choice.That cap hit was the 9th-highest among all defensive tackles in 2019, according to Spotrac, and by this writer’s count it would have fallen behind only five other 3-4 defensive ends. In today’s NFL, you simply cannot pay a situational player like a star, which is what Daniels’ contract was set to do.Now that money will be freed up for an extension for a true star in his prime, as the 23-year-old Kenny Clark will be due a new contract after 2020. Locking him up — whether that happens during 2019 or next offseason — will be a pricey proposition, and the Packers surely have an eye on that extension when considering the salary cap ramifications of this move. Keep in mind that any unused cap space rolls over year-to-year, so even if the Packers don’t sign Clark in the next few months, the extra $8 million opened up now will still be available.A move like this all comes down to value. The Packers determined that they were better off eating $11.1 million in cap space to move on from Nick Perry, because the future cap space that release freed up was more than worth it to let him walk. They evidently feel that opening up $8 million now is worth it to let go of a player who is no longer a three-down difference maker.When Daniels inevitably catches on with another team, his 2019 season will show whether Brian Gutekunst and company were wrong in their assessment of his remaining capabilities.
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