Hidden away in the luxurious surroundings of The Grove Hotel, Watford, Green Bay Packers Head Coach, Matt LaFleur, spoke to the media about his team’s preparations for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.
Whilst preparation for any NFL team is key, LaFleur noted that the game preparation this week very much had the feel of a Thursday Night game. However, his team were able to install all three phases of the game before flying from Green Bay. Because of this, his guys got, “a little bit of a sneak peak”. As such, the preparation today was a light walk through rather than the more intense practice that teams typically favour on Friday. LaFleur also stressed the need for intentional, focused practice despite any effects from the flight.
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The Packers will likely favour the run on Sunday, at least early. LaFleur stated that, “Our backs are two of our best players, so we’ve got to get those guys involved,”. He was keen to praise the Giants’ defence. Especially when they were on third down and in the red zone. Calling them “one of the best in ball”, but added that he felt the running game could alleviate some of the stress they put on you.
When asked about starting in a better rhythm, something the failed to do last week, LaFleur said that he always sought to play fast and stay ahead. But unfortunately it hasn’t always gone that way for them this year. He later went on to say that, “Any time you face a defence coached by Wink (Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale) it’s a great challenge”. “He does a great job of keeping you off balance. You’re really not sure what you’re going to get because it’s so game plan driven.” While admitting that you never knew where Martindale would bring pressure from, LaFleur said that he liked the teams game plan and they just needed to go out there and execute.
Interestingly, LaFleur pointed out that when teams face superstar Aaron Rodgers they don’t always follow their tendencies. The Packers also have to be aware of where they’ve been hurt in the past. And know the background of whoever they’re going against. Ultimately, the team will just have to “be ready to adjust”, depending what they see on the field.
LaFleur praises the fans
LaFleur came across as highly charismatic. He laughed when one reporter suggested that sometimes Packers fans don’t know what to do, responding, “You said that! I didn’t. I love our fans. Our fans are the best in the world’”. He did admit the home crowd were sometimes loud and need to be quietened on key drives. He went on to explain that they’d practiced the game with a silent snap count. Just as teams do any time they play a game at a neutral site. Finally, he said that it was a good chance to represent their brand. And was hopeful that there’d be a lot of Packers fans and they’ll be nice and loud when they were on defence but quiet when the team had the ball.
Whilst LaFleur did say that injuries are league wide when I asked him it’s interesting to note that the Packers do have a healthier team, especially in the secondary. In fact the Giants may play Landon Collins, who signed just this week after getting cut by the Washington Commanders.