Matt LaFleur Addresses Packers' Kicking Struggles Ahead of 49ers Game

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur discussed kicker Anders Carlson's struggles ahead of facing the San Francisco 49ers.
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers place kicker Anders Carlson (17) kicks
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers place kicker Anders Carlson (17) kicks / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are currently gearing up for another playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. These squads have plenty of history with one another in the postseason, and that familiarity could make this contest closer than expected.

As a result, Matt LaFleur can't afford any of his players to make even the smallest of mistakes. Unfortunately, that's been a struggle plaguing kicker Anders Carlson, whose inconsistent leg could be a liability on Saturday.

Ahead of this all-important matchup, however, LaFleur has expressed confidence in the rookie.

Green Bay's HC said the team is "committed" to riding things out with Carlson at kicker. LaFleur noted misses are just "part of the growth process" for a young leg, and the fact he's rebounded following those errors is what really matters to him.

Now, a pessimistic view of LaFleur's comments is that he really has no other choice at this point. Signing a veteran who's cold off of the street could backfire in tremendous fashion for the Packers, who are fighting for their playoff lives.

Though Carlson is far from automatic, he's simply the team's best option right now, for better or worse.

Of course, more proactive planning by Green Bay could've given this squad a backup plan in case Carlson's troubles continued into the postseason. His extra point miss on Sunday against the Cowboys certainly showed his rookie-year jitters aren't going away in the playoffs.

To Carlson's credit, he did hit his next six PATs in Dallas, but there's little margin for error with the 49ers on tap next. A miss might be the difference between advancing to another NFC Championship and being sent home.

With the team backed into a corner at this position, it's smart for LaFleur to back his shaky rookie and try to build his confidence before another high-pressure contest. We'll see if his support actually pays off on Saturday.

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