The Green Bay Packers began their off-season activities this week after falling just short last week to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.
A season, that left many filled with joy, excitement, and surprise, ended in such an abrupt way, that many fans, me included, felt sad, angry, and disappointed.
There’s no doubt, that 2023 was an odd year – many ups, downs, twists, and turns.
Expectations were set low, and, let’s be honest, until Thanksgiving, this team looked dead in the water, until they clearly began to swim again.
Fast forward to this week, and the now sad, angry, and disappointment is met with higher expectations, and on Wednesday, head coach Matt Lafleur made sure to make a statement.
Goodbye, defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
Goodbye strength and conditioning coach, Chris Gizzi, and hello kicking competition already with the signing of a new kicker less than a week after rookie Anders Carlson missed a key try in the team’s three-point defeat.
Many have said LaFleur has always been unable to make the big decisions, that he’s been unable to make bold moves after letdown after letdown, but these are issues that have plagued his teams, and instead of preaching for “continuity,” instead of standing pat, he decided to do something about it and put his foot down to let his young team he means business going forward.
It may seem like an easy choice, but Barry was still under contract with the organization. Players seemed to want to play for “JB”, but LaFleur saw the outcome on the field, he knew it was under-performing, and he decided to make a move knowing this team could be something special in the years to come.
The message is simple – You don’t perform, you don’t belong here. It’s a strong message to the league’s youngest team.
The rebuild is behind us.
The excitement in cheesehead nation is back in the air, and Gutey, LaFleur, and Jordan Love are ready to begin a brand-new era together.