By Tori Wittenbrock
Associate Sports Editor
GREEN BAY – After losing 34-20 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7) on Dec. 17, the Green Bay Packers (6-8) dropped their chances of making it into the postseason.
Though there was speculation about the future of the defensive coaching staff, head coach Matt LaFleur said that the team’s biggest problem in all phases was communication.
“What’s disappointing is when you go out there and it’s basic concepts — it doesn’t matter what phase — like day-one install, and we have self-inflicted communication errors and guys, quite frankly, not in the right spot,” said LaFleur.
“Credit to Tampa. They took advantage of it.”
As the true leader of the pack, LaFleur said that the problem starts at the top and is working its way down to the players — something they intend to clean up by their next game against the Carolina Panthers (2-12) on Sunday, Dec. 24.
“It always starts with us. It starts with us and then goes to all of our assistant coaches, so obviously the coaching wasn’t up to the standard, and then our performance on the field showed that as well,” said LaFleur.
However, LaFleur said that he believes this problem can be easily fixed because his team has shown that it is something they have been able to master before.
“I’ve seen us execute this stuff before, so it’s unfortunate that it happened at this point in the year in such an important game, but I’ve seen this executed early in the year or in previous games,” said LaFleur.
“There are a couple of calls I would like to have back in the red zone, but that’s football. Hopefully we can learn from that and not make that same mistake twice,” said LaFleur.
However, LaFleur said that at the end of the day each player still has to take accountability and make sure they are getting their job done because even minor mistakes can be costly in this league.
“It happens by people not talking and setting the front a certain way or making sure that the safety rotation is the right way so your backers aren’t bossed over one way and you’re rolling that way, and there were just way too many examples of that,” said LaFleur.
“When you’re having basic communication problems and you’re supposed to be in a certain coverage or a certain rotation, and we’re not getting that communication, that’s what’s so disappointing to me.”
LaFleur said that the coaching staff is working vehemently to ensure that they are fixing the problem before they hit the road to take on Carolina.
“I’ve got to be more present with those guys and make sure that we are all on the same page,” said LaFleur. “If you don’t have all eleven on the same page… it obviously starts with our staff and making sure that all of our coaches are in lockstep, but if you don’t have all eleven on the same page, it just takes one guy.”