Matt LaFleur Addresses Viral Anders Carlson Comments

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur clarifies the reporting about his lack of confidence in his kicker Anders Carlson.
Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal

The Green Bay Packers rookie kicker Anders Carlson certainly didn't have the season the organization or he had envisioned.

Carlson's brutal 41-yard field goal miss that could have given the Packers a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers was the icing on the cake as he had already missed six field goals and five extra points on the season.

However, one in-game report about Carlson and head coach Matt LaFleur made the headlines even more than the devastating miss.

Packers HC LaFleur Clarifies His Anders Carlson Comments

Midway through the game, Fox Sports’ Tom Rinaldi reported that LaFleur doesn’t exude much confidence in his kicker, claiming that LaFleur prays "when [Carlson] goes out there."

This reporting, combined with Carlson's miss, caused an understandable uproar on social media. It's not a comment we are accustomed to seeing coaches make about their players.

In his end-of-season press conference, LaFleur addressed the incident, highlighting his disappointment in the report. Not denying the fact that he said it, LaFleur pointed out that he said it "in jest" and it was taken out of context.

LaFleur provided the context by saying that it was said in a production meeting to underline the fact Carlson's accuracy was out of his control. Calling it a "learning experience", LaFleur mentioned that he already talked to the rookie about the incident.

Carlson's future with the Packers is uncertain. It's hard to see him return next year after his performance and this reporting. It would behoove Green Bay to find a more reliable and consistent kicker.

Regardless of that, however, LaFleur needs to do better handling the media. Protecting your players should always be the top priority and knowing that things can be taken out of context by the press means LaFleur can't afford to make similar mistakes going forward.

In other Packers news: