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Packers' Matt LaFleur excited to work with Rodgers

Matt LaFleur was introduced as the Green Bay Packers' newest head coach during a lengthy press conference on Wednesday, flanked by team CEO Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst.

"We wanted someone who could win," Gutekunst declared, "and that's what we found in Matt."

"We are ready to get back to winning," Murphy said before introducing LaFleur.

LaFleur was the last of 10 candidates interviewed by the Packers, and according to Murphy, the former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator was well worth that wait.

Murphy said none of the first nine candidates, including Packers interim coach Joe Philbin, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, former Dolphins coach Adam Gase and former Lions coach Jim Caldwell, made much of an impression, until LaFleur.

"Quite honestly, no one stood out. There were a lot of strong candidates but there wasn't one that just jumped out at us," the Packers CEO told reporters. "Matt [LaFleur] was our last candidate. ... He just was very genuine and natural. It felt more like a conversation rather than an interview."

Murphy gushed that LaFleur was "the most prepared candidate" and knew the roster and coaching staff, and that his first impression was so good that Packers brass quickly agreed he was the top candidate for the job.

Following Sunday's interview, the Packers quickly signed LaFleur to a four-year deal with a fifth-year option, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week.

"I want to develop a championship culture that's filled with high character people that are dedicated to becoming the best versions of themselves," LaFleur said in his opening statement. "My philosophy is to lead, teach and inspire, not only our football team but everyone in this building. We are going to be process-driven in the pursuit of bringing a Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay."

During the interview process, Green Bay's front office consulted a player leader council, including star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, concerning its head coaching search. Murphy explained Wednesday that players had called for "someone who would hold players accountable."

Before LaFleur was eventually hired, the Packers coach said he briefly spoke with Rodgers, a conversation that gave him "an idea that maybe I was in the running for it."

"I cannot wait to get to work with him. I think he's equally as excited," LaFleur said. "There's a lot of work to be done in front of us. Just looking forward to that opportunity."

LaFleur added: "I think there's an incredible amount of talent here. Obviously when you have a quarterback of the caliber of Aaron Rodgers, we're going to have high expectations.

"Developing and communicating, being in constant communication with [Rodgers]. That's how you develop relationships. You've got to get to know each other. Obviously, he needs to know I care about the players I work with. It's not just Aaron. It's gonna be all the guys. I want to get to know every player on our roster."

Getting the most out of Green Bay's roster will obviously be critical to LaFleur's success in Titletown. With a healthy Rodgers in 2018, the Packers stumbled to 6-9-1 and was middle of the road in many offensive categories.

In LaFleur's first season as a play-caller in Tennessee, the Titans had a topsy-turvy offensive season as well, one that saw them at times succeed on the ground and struggle severely in pass protection. Tennessee missed the postseason by losing its Week 17 game at home with backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert under center.

Murphy defended LaFleur's finish with Tennessee.

"When your quarterback [Marcus Mariota] doesn't have feeling in his hands and can't throw 15 yards, that affects your offense," Murphy said. "With the injuries, they had and what they did in the running game with Derrick Henry was pretty imrpessive to us, and like Matt said, it was what do you need to do win?"

Regarding his coaching staff, LaFleur told reporters that he has yet to speak with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. LaFleur added that he intends to call plays on offense and he will report directly to Murphy, not Gutekunst.

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