- In this Nov. 10, 2019, file photo, Green Bay
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur watches warm ups
before an NFL football game against the Carolina
Panthers, in Green Bay, Wis. When Green Bay
coach LaFleur started preparing to face San
Francisco's stellar defense, he sent out a text
message trying to get some inside information.
LaFleur said he messaged 49ers coordinator
Robert Saleh, his former roommate when the two
were graduate assistants at Central Michigan.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. —
When Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur started preparing to
face San Francisco's stellar defense, he sent out a
text message trying to get some inside information.
"Hey, would you
give me a call? I have a couple of questions about
your defense," LaFleur said he messaged 49ers
coordinator Robert Saleh, his former roommate when the
two were graduate assistants at Central Michigan.
didn't give up any secrets, although there should be
few heading into Sunday night's game between the
Packers (8-2) and 49ers (9-1) considering all the ties
between the two coaching staffs.
LaFleur considers Saleh
one of his best friends, worked under San Francisco
coach Kyle Shanahan in Houston, Washington and
Cleveland, and has a brother, Mike, on the Niners
Shanahan spent a year
as offensive coordinator when Packers defensive
coordinator Mike Pettine was head coach in Cleveland,
but said none of that will matter on Sunday.
"You don't really
think about that much," he said. "It's more
fun that when you're going to hang out in the
offseason or see each other down in Indy; it's a
little more fun that night when you won the game so
you can mess with the other a little bit more."
LaFleur got his first
NFL job as a quality control assistant in Houston when
Shanahan was offensive coordinator after a
recommendation from Saleh. He then worked as
quarterbacks coach under Shanahan in Washington and
Atlanta and has taken many of the lessons he learned
during those stints into his first year as a head
- In this May 30, 2018, file photo, San
Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert
Saleh speaks to reporters after a practice at
the team's NFL football training facility, in
Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay Packers coach Matt
Lafleur considers Saleh one of his best friends.
When Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur started
preparing to face San Francisco's stellar
defense, he sent out a text message trying to
get some inside information.
"There's so many
things that I learned from him," he said.
"But I think just his detailed approach that he
takes every day. He's a guy that has a great vision
for what he wants to get done, how to use players, how
to adapt and put people in the right position. A lot
of my football philosophy has been shaped by him, so
it's hard to sit here and just say one thing that I've
learned from him because there's been so much."
GOOD JIMMY, BAD JIMMY
quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo showed off both sides of
his game last week against Arizona. He threw two
interceptions, giving him 10 on the season. But he
also threw for a career-high 424 yards and four
touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the final
minute. The ups and downs have been part of
Garoppolo's game all season, but he hasn't let the bad
plays affect him. Garoppolo is 32 for 35 for 378
yards, two TDs, no interceptions and a 130.7 passer
rating on the drives following his picks.
"That's just part
of being a quarterback," he said. "In
football, bad things are going to happen at some
point. No one's ever going to play a perfect game, so
it's just how you react to those things."
BEWARE OF BOSA
Aaron Rodgers has already seen enough of the Bosa
family after the Chargers' Joey Bosa had 1 1/2 sacks
against Green Bay earlier this month. Now he has to
deal with the younger Bosa brother when he faces San
Francisco's stellar rookie Nick, who has seven sacks
"That's a really
good football family right there," Rodgers said.
"They're both super talented guys. Obviously,
Nick is just getting going. But he's a force off the
RUN TO DAYLIGHT
The Niners relied
heavily on the running game early this season,
averaging 181.1 yards per game through the first seven
contests for the second best mark in the league. That
aspect of the offense has gone missing the past three
weeks as San Francisco has been held to 74 yards per
game and ranks third worst in that span, averaging
2.88 yards per carry. That has coincided with an
injury to tight end George Kittle, who is one of the
better blockers in the NFL.
"We're going to
have to get better," right tackle Mike McGlinchey
said. "We will be better and it's going to start
this week against Green Bay."
The game against the
Packers begins a grueling three-game stretch for the
Niners. San Francisco follows this with two more
against teams currently in first place with trips to
Baltimore (8-2) and New Orleans (8-2). If the Ravens
and Saints don't lose before facing San Francisco, the
49ers will be the first team in the Super Bowl era to
play three consecutive games this late in the season
against teams with a winning percentage of at least
.800, according to ESPN.
STAR VS. STAR
Some quarterbacks like
to challenge 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman in a
show of confidence. Rodgers has taken a wiser approach
during his career. In the last six meetings between
the two stars, Rodgers has thrown only 14 passes
Sherman's direction, according to SportRadar,
completing seven for 85 yards and one interception.
"He has that
ability to lull you to sleep sometimes and still jumps
on the ball, has fantastic ball skills," Rodgers
said. "He's a great player. I have nothing but
respect for his career and what he's