Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was back at OTAs on Tuesday despite having surgery to repair his torn Achilles on Sunday. The 39-year-old coach suffered the injury playing basketball at Lambeau Field last week. Today, LaFleur was limited to traveling around on a golf cart, but he remained enthusiastic and involved in all aspects of practice.
“The surgery went well as far as I was told,” LaFleur told reporters. “I’m just in recovery mode now. I’m supposed to stay off it for about four weeks. Hopefully I’ll be back at least in a walking boot by training camp. I’m not going to let it creep in and create negative thoughts in my mind.”
Prior to the injury, LaFleur was physically involved in practice. The former college quarterback threw passes during last week’s sessions and later dropped into pass coverage with the secondary during other drills. Now, that is obviously no longer possible.
“I definitely have had to adjust my routine, but that’s why you have great assistant coaches,” LaFleur explained. “We’re all on the same page, we communicate all the time. It throws a little wrench, a little curve ball at us right now but I don’t think that long term you will see any effects.”
“I’d like to be hands-on with the drills, but I have to adjust to it, make the best of it and make sure that our communication is spot on as far as the expectations we want to get done each and every day,” LaFleur added. “I just try to keep the big picture in mind and keep my mind on whatever task is in front of us. It helps me forget what’s going on.”
On the field, LaFleur is pleased with the way things are going, but he admits it’s very early in the process of installing his offensive system.
“There’s a lot of good things and there’s still a ton of room for improvement,” the coach explained. “The way we operate in and out of the huddle could be a little cleaner and crisper. We don’t have the full offense in quite yet as far as the no huddle and what not.”
While the offense is in its first season in LaFleur’s system, the defense is in its second year under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. As a result, it appears to be a bit ahead of the offense at OTAs.
“As far as the defense, I love the communication that’s going on, especially with the amount of the new people in the system,” LaFleur said. “It starts with Pett [Pettine] communicating what we need to get done. I feel that everybody is on the same page and they’re presenting some challenging looks for the offense.”
Mandatory mini-camp is next week and that will be the final team activity before training camp opens on July 25. While LaFleur may practice more of the no-huddle offense, he will “more or less” continue to install his system.
For now, the Packers coach is getting around on a golf cart. But he is confident if he will be ready to go once the Pack opens the regular season against the Bears in Chicago.
“I don’t anticipate coaching from the press box,” LaFleur said. “As long as I handle my business and follow doctor’s orders, I don’t anticipate it being a problem Week 1.”
Meanwhile, the team’s preparation for the season continues and the coach is keeping his sense of humor around him as he concentrates on the task at hand.
“This could have happened out on the field. I’m sure it would have happened anyway,” LaFleur said with a smile. “Hopefully, this will be a lesson to them [the players] not to play basketball.”