If there is one major concern with Matt LaFleur, it’s his ability to hire coordinators.
Through two offensive coordinators, two defensive coordinators, and three special teams coordinators, the Green Bay Packers head coach has had more misses than hits.
Promoting offensive line coach Adam Stenavich to offensive coordinator made sense at the time, considering the circumstances. With Nathaniel Hackett taking over as the Denver Broncos head coach, he wanted to take Stenavich with him. Already losing Hackett to Denver and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy to Chicago, LaFleur gave Stenavich the promotion to keep him on staff.
But while Stenavich was highly respected in the building, the offensive line and run game — his areas of expertise — both got worse following the promotion. While Green Bay’s offense is gaining momentum, they still have a ways to go. LaFleur is a savvy play-caller. But the truth is that he needs some outside influence to spot things he can’t and to find new ways to innovate the offense.
LaFleur won’t make changes at coordinator midseason, or maybe at all. But he could bring in an outsider in a senior offensive assistant position role or whatever title the PR people can come up with. Thankfully, an intriguing option just became available. If LaFleur wants to innovate his offense, he should consider bringing in Ken Dorsey, the former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator.
The Buffalo Bills went from the top of the AFC to a middling mess over the past few weeks. They needed a scapegoat after an embarrassing Monday Night Football loss to Sean Payton‘s Broncos, so they fired Dorsey. The Packers are something of an embarrassing loss to Sean Payton’s Broncos survivor themselves.
Josh Allen played poorly (one TD, two INTs, a 57.7 completion percentage, and 177 yards), and 12 men on the field on defense led to Denver’s game-winning field goal. But the front office blamed Dorsey.
Dorsey was a fine replacement for celebrated offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who the New York Giants hired as their head coach.
Some necessary context is that a dominant first quarter of the season skewed these numbers, and the Bills have struggled recently, losing three of their last four games. They lost to the New England Patriots and Denver, who aren’t exactly wowing the league.
I admittedly don’t follow the Bills as my primary team. But from my outside point of view, the team had issues disguised by Josh Allen’s high ceiling, similar to the late Mike McCarthy-era Packers did with Aaron Rodgers. The team hasn’t invested in enough top-shelf pass-catchers. They also had too many running plays out of shotgun that are going nowhere and slow starts. All that led to the eye test and the numbers saying different things.
Yet Dorsey isn’t the one turning the ball over or making mistakes with defensive personnel. Even if some of his negatives are things this Packers team is already guilty of, he still is a successful, gifted offensive mind who could shake things up for LaFleur’s offense.
I’m not suggesting kicking Stenavich to the curb and offering the OC job to Dorsey. However, I certainly think it would be a value add to bring him in and find some sort of role on the offensive staff. LaFleur needs to start venturing outside his comfort zone and find ways to elevate his offense and take over some of his responsibilities. Bringing Dorsey in is one of the few ways to get a respected coach into the room without firing someone or waiting until the offseason to make changes.
That said, I still find it unlikely. Patience is one of LaFleur’s virtues, even though it may sometimes feel like a hindrance. The Packers can be frustrating in sticking to what they know rather than shaking things up. LaFleur already had opportunities to bring in outside voices this offseason, and we’ve seen him stick with Joe Barry on the other side of the ball despite it looking like the wrong move.
And the offense is finally trending in the right direction after a month of pure sadness. Jordan Love looked the best he has all season in the past two weeks. The young receivers are starting to click and stop making rookie mistakes, and the offensive line has held up better. LaFleur might see this as a sign to stay the course.
I would still bring Dorsey in for a visit and see if there couldn’t be a use for his expertise. Some team likely will. But they don’t ask for my input, one of the owners. Still, a respected offensive mind is available, and a team looking to grow should consider his services.