There are not many analysts (or fans, for that matter) that are giving the Green Bay Packers much of a chance in 2023. In some respects, this is understandable. After all, the team was 8-9 last year with a future Hall of Famer under center (though he did not play well). Additionally, Aaron Rodgers is now gone, traded to the New York Jets to make way for an unproven former first round draft pick in Jordan Love. There is no getting around it: there are A LOT of question marks surrounding this team.
There are, however, some reasons to be optimistic. David Bakhtiari is healthy and returning at left tackle, where he will line up next to Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins. In other words, the Packers could not ask for better linemen to protect their young starter’s blindside. Aaron Jones, who ranks third in franchise history in rushing yards, took a massive pay cut in order to stay. Rashan Gary is rehabbing well and may not miss much time, if any, in 2023 due to his torn ACL.
Yes, these are all reasons to be optimistic about the 2023 Green Bay Packers, but PFF argues for a different one that some fans may not agree with.
PFF States the Green Bay Packers’ 1 Reason for Optimism Is Head Coach Matt LaFleur
After the disappointing 8-9 finish last season, it seems that many fans have forgotten that Matt LaFleur was the first coach in NFL history to win 13 games in each of his first three seasons as a head coach. Additionally, there is some belief among Packers media members and content creators that LaFleur’s offensive strategy was hamstrung by a disgruntled Aaron Rodgers, who refused to run some of the more complex plays. Now that Rodgers is gone and Love, who is more willing to stick to the playbook, is in, the offense can really start to take off.
When arguing for LaFleur as the one reason fans should be optimistic about the Packers, PFF wrote:
“Last year was the first season in which LaFleur had finished with a sub-.500 record as the Packers’ head coach. The previous three seasons were all 13-win campaigns. Aaron Rodgers is gone, but LaFleur remains. While it will be a very young offense in Green Bay, LaFleur at the helm is your reason to be optimistic.”
Matt LaFleur’s offense has not been seen in its full glory due to Rodgers’ personal preferences. However, it is supposedly heavily focused on running backs and attacking the middle of the field with tight ends in the passing game. We already know the Packers’ running game is stellar. Green Bay was 4-1 in games in which Jones received at least 15 rushing attempts last year, and were 3-0 in games in which AJ Dillon had 15 rushing attempts. The LaFleur offense works. It just wasn’t been used to its full potential.
Packers fans are in for a pleasant surprise.