The NFL has had perhaps the strangest offseason this year. The coronavirus pandemic kept teams away from their facilities, glued to computer screens, and making video conference calls to each other. The Green Bay Packers, however, seem to have had a successful offseason so far.
Matt LaFleur imagined his second offseason program as head coach for the Packers would involve ‘constructive meetings, competitive practices, and team-building exercises to break the ice in the locker room’.
However, the program looked very different from this picture LaFleur painted. “It really gave us a chance, for these players, to learn the system at their own pace,” LaFleur said. “We had great communication throughout. I really do think our guys got a lot out of this virtual offseason.”
LaFleur, further, feels that every player, from the most experienced ones to the rookies, was able to ‘absorb the playbook at a palatable speed’. The NFL mandated classroom meetings and video workouts last no longer than two hours a day and yet the Packers’ coaching staff was about to follow up team meetings with individual position ones and quizzes to reinforce concepts.
The players’ and coaches’ enthusiasm impressed Matt and he even reported 100% participation. Additionally, he was immensely proud of how the locker room came together in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Many Green Bay players spoke out about the social issues and received wide support from their fellow teammates and the public as well.
With the virtual offseason ending soon, there is still uncertainty regarding a lot of things. The NFL is scheduled to return in September, but the rising number of COVID-19 cases is a genuine concern. There are many things to be looked after to ensure the health and safety of the players, staff, and audience.
“There are some challenges we’re going to have to work through and work around. Who knows if [NFL’s COVID-19] guidelines will be the same guidelines when we eventually do start camp? Again, it’s just about being fluid and being flexible,” Matt said in a virtual press conference.
LaFleur is very satisfied with what the team achieved during the offseason. And, the players are now “kind of on their own” till camp begins.