Packers only NFL playoff team without a first-team All-Pro selection
GREEN BAY - If the Green Bay Packers weren’t feeling a bit slighted despite their 13-3 season, they might feel that way now.
The Packers were the only playoff team to not have a player earn Associated Press first-team All-Pro honors. Left tackle David Bakhtiari was selected to the second team, the only Packers player to make the cut.
It was the third second-team All-Pro honor for Bakhiari, who was a first-team All-Pro in 2018. Baltimore’s Ronnie Staley was first-team All-Pro left tackle this season.
“I thought he had an outstanding season,” coach Matt LaFleur said of Bakhtiari.
So did the Packers, considering their final victory total is out of balance with their individual accolades. Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith finished fifth in balloting. Running back Aaron Jones, linebacker Blake Martinez and defensive back Tramon Williams also received votes.
It begs the question: Should the Packers' presumed lack of star players bolster LaFleur’s candidacy as potential NFL coach of the year?
“I don’t know about that,” LaFleur said. “But no, I think that’s just a credit to the collective unit, everybody playing together, doing their 1/11th. I’m glad they didn’t ask me because I would have certainly voted for a couple of our guys. But, it is what it is.”
Packers hold final practice of bye week
LaFleur took his team outdoors Friday for the final practice of the bye week, a session that ran a little over an hour. Tight end Jimmy Graham returned to action but offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga (concussion), Billy Turner (ankle), Corey Linsley (back) and Bakhtiari (illness) all remained out. So did fullback Danny Vitale (knee), tight end Marcedes Lewis (illness) and outside linebacker Preston Smith (undisclosed).
With Vitale out, rookie linebacker Ty Summers filled in at fullback to make sure all of the work on offense could get done.
The team will have the weekend off, and LaFleur said they will practice when they return.
“They’re doing the rehab and the things necessary to come back and hopefully we’ll be; everybody will be healthy and ready to go on Monday,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur more mobile at practice
After showing a hands-on approach at practice this spring, LaFleur has needed to be hands-off during this season as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon.
That’s started to change recently, and LaFleur’s progress was never more apparent than Friday. LaFleur was more mobile when the Packers had their final bye-week practice, moving around the practice field seemingly at will.
“I think it’s important,” LaFleur said. “That’s what I love to do, and, hopefully, I don’t know, maybe it brings some energy. But no, I always want to be in the mix, I always want to be in the fray, and that’s why you get into coaching, is you love kind of doing that and coaching the guys up and giving them looks and, you know, just talking ball.”
LaFleur, who tore his Achilles playing basketball this summer, said his own recovery has been pushed to the back of his mind as he navigates his first season as an NFL head coach. But he had no problem poking some fun at himself.
“It’s pretty easy to keep the focus on the main thing,” LaFleur said. “There’s going to be plenty of time in the offseason to try and get my calf back. It’s pretty embarrassing right now. You will not be seeing me in shorts any time soon.”
McCarthy interviews with Giants
Former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy interviewed in New York for the open position with the Giants on Friday. It was a day after he interviewed for the open position in Cleveland. Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was asked if he had talked to his old boss about the Browns job under owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Pettine was the Browns' head coach from 2014-15 and went 7-9 and 3-13 before being fired.
“We’ve communicated but it was not about that,” Pettine said with a smile.
McCarthy hired Pettine as the Packers' defensive coordinator at the start of 2018.