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Packers to name Matt LaFleur as head coach

Matt LaFleur (right) wil soon be locking arms with Aaron Rodgers as the Titans’ offensive coordinator is set to be named the new coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Matt LaFleur (right) wil soon be locking arms with Aaron Rodgers as the Titans’ offensive coordinator is set to be named the new coach of the Green Bay Packers. (2018 file/Mark Zaleski/associated press)

The Green Bay Packers are turning to fast-rising offensive whiz Matt LaFleur to aid Aaron Rodgers and end a two-year absence from the postseason.

LaFleur, who was the offensive coordinator for the Titans, accepted Green Bay’s offer Monday to become the head coach of the Packers, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Packers nor the Titans had announced the decision.

LaFleur, 39, takes over after Mike McCarthy was fired during the season following a stunning home loss to Arizona. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin went 2-2 to close out the season as the Packers failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year. The 6-9-1 record was the second straight under .500 for the franchise.

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LaFleur spent this past season as the Titans’ offensive coordinator, his first time calling plays in the NFL. He was offensive coordinator with the Rams in 2017, leading a group that paced the NFL in scoring and was 10th in total offense. Rams coach Sean McVay called the plays on offense.

LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach in Atlanta for two seasons, including when Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was the NFL MVP in 2016.

LaFleur also has coached with Washington and Houston, and was the quarterbacks coach for Notre Dame in 2014.

He will be charged with returning the Packers to the playoffs on a regular basis. McCarthy’s tenure of 12-plus seasons was by and large successful, highlighted by the 2010 Super Bowl season and nine playoff appearances.

Caldwell, Jets chat

The Jets interviewed former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell for their head coaching vacancy. It marks the fifth known interview New York has conducted since firing coach Todd Bowles.

The Jets met with Dallas defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard on Sunday. Richard also interviewed with Miami and Tampa Bay for their vacancies.

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The 63-year-old Caldwell was most recently Detroit’s head coach, going 36-28 with the Lions from 2014-17. He also was 26-22 in three years with the Colts from 2009-11, including a Super Bowl appearance in the 2009 season.

Elsewhere, Freddie Kitchens, who in eight weeks rose from unknown assistant to hot coaching commodity, became the seventh candidate to interview for the Browns’ job, and John Elway met with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio about the Broncos’ head coaching vacancy Monday, a day after Chicago’s loss in the NFC wild-card playoffs.

The Browns think so much of Kitchens that they've denied other teams permission to interview him. He’s under contract, and if the club decides to hire another coach, it’s clear they want Kitchens around.

Eagles blocked FG

Cody Parkey got an excuse he probably won’t use.

Parkey’s missed 43-yard field goal in the final seconds that gave the Philadelphia Eagles a 16-15 upset win over the Chicago Bears in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game was officially ruled a block by the NFL.

Video showed Philadelphia’s Treyvon Hester tipped the ball, which bounced off the upright and hit the crossbar.

Parkey was booed by Bears fans as he ran off the field. He accepted responsibility for the loss afterward.

‘‘There’s really no answer to it,’’ Parkey said. ‘‘I thought I hit a good ball. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I feel terrible, 100 percent take that loss on me. It is what it is. Sun is going to shine tomorrow. Life is going to go on. Unfortunately, it’s going to sting for a while.’’

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The Eagles took a 1-point lead when Nick Foles threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 56 seconds remaining. Mitchell Trubisky drove the Bears into position to win it.