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Who Is Matt LaFleur: An In-depth Look at New Packers Head Coach

 

Matt LaFleur

Image Credit: Reddit user u/TheFamousMrRed

 

According to reports, the Packers appeared to have found their new head coach, as 39-year old Matt LaFleur has been offered the job:

Offensive coordinator for the Titans in 2018, LaFleur has a history at the quarterback position, playing for Saginaw Valley State from 2000 through 2002. In fact, he lead the team to three consecutive playoff appearances and excelled as a senior, throwing 20 touchdowns while rushing for five more.

Although the Titans had just the 27th ranked offense behind LaFleur, but starting quarterback Marcius Mariota missed three games and often played with nagging shoulder and elbow problems, hindering his accuracy. LaFleur made the most of the situation, grooming young wide receivers.

The hiring of LaFleur isn’t without risk, but his type of hiring is become the norm in the NFL. Sean McVay and Matt Nagy were promoted to head coaching positions with relatively little experience as offensive coordinator and now the hiring of LaFleur continues the trend. LaFleur began his coaching career as an offensive assistant with Saginaw Valley State in 2003 and following two seasons as offensive assistant at Central Michigan, became the quarterbacks and receivers coach for Northern Michigan in 2006 and offensive coordinator for Ashland in 2007.

LaFleur landed his first NFL coaching job in 2008, when he became offensive quality control coach for the Houston Texans. After two seasons in Houston, LaFleur was hired by the Washington Redskins as their quarterbacks coach. He held the position through the 2013 season before returning to the collegiate level for a season at Notre Dame in 2014. Following a two-year stint as quarterbacks coach with the Atlanta Falcons, LaFleur was hired as offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2017.

Despite not yet turning 40-years old, LaFleur has a tremendous amount of experience working with quarterbacks. Among the list of those he’s coached include Donovan McNabb, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III. It must be noted that LaFleur was quarterbacks coach for the Falcons the year Ryan won league MVP. His work with quarterbacks will undoubtedly be attractive for Aaron Rodgers, who has formed bonds with assistants in the past who were former quarterbacks.

During his journey through the coaching ranks involving many teams both collegiality and professionally, LaFleur has had the guidance of top coaches in the country. LaFleur was connected to Gary Kubiak in Houston, Kyle Shanahan in Houston, Washington and Atlanta. LaFleur served under Dan Quinn in Atlanta and connected to Sean McVay while with the Redskins. The connection with McVay was instrumental in landing him the job with the Rams. Long time NFL player Mike Vrabel and current Titans coach handed over the play calling duties to LaFleur this past season.

It’s worth noting that Matt’s brother Mike also has NFL coaching experience, currently wide receivers and passing game coordinator for the 49ers. Considering the brothers worked together on the staff of the Atlanta Falcons, it is possible the Matt would entertain the thought of reuniting with Mike on the same staff. However, indicates have it that Mike is leaning on remaining with the 49ers.

The job LaFleur has done with quarterbacks has been impressive. Going back just two seasons, Jared Goff had an MVP caliber season after being somewhat of a bust his rookie season. Matt Ryan put up 38 touchdown passes for the Falcons the prior season during his MVP campaign. LaFleur was the position coach in Washington when Robert Griffith III took home MVP honors and LaFleur also helped developed Kirk Cousins into one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league. While Aaron Rodgers is a lock to be a Hall-of-Famer following his playing days, he will benefit from the teaching of LaFleur and could be in for a MVP type season in 2019.

Also interesting to note is that he plans to mostly keep the defensive coaching staff intact:

Tags:
Ed Rooney

Just a guy with too much free time trying to help out.

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42 Comments

  1. spstainers January 8, 2019

    Let’s Goooo Matty! Let’s LaFuck the Bears shit up.

  2. PF4L January 8, 2019

    Lol…..Rapoport thinks Pettine is LaFleur’s call?

    Good stuff.

  3. Howard January 8, 2019

    I don’t know if this is a good hire or not. Time will tell. There are some good points about LaFleur and bad.

    One thing I would be concerned about is the reason Mariota had shoulder and elbow problems. The Titans threw the ball the second fewest times of any team last year. The only team with fewer pass attempts was the Seahawks, with 10 fewer pass attempts. There is nothing wrong with running the ball, but the Titans had the 4th worst (29th) sacks per pass attempt rating at .107 sacks per pass attempt. LaFluer was in charge of that offense and the play calls.

    Many of us thought Rogers was sacked and hit to often this year and past years. Some of those sacks and hits are Rogers fault, but many are not his fault. The Packers were 22nd in the league at a sack rate of .0828 sacks per pass attempt.

    LaFluer and the team is going to need to protect Rodgers from so many hits and sacks, but that is a whole other subject.

    1. Dude Looks like a VIQUEEN January 9, 2019

      I am not that confident this is going to work out the way we hope it will.

      Rob Demovsky
      ESPN Staff Writer
      “Matt LaFleur said he intends to call the offensive plays as the head coach. He has one year of experience as an NFL play caller last season with the Titans.”

      So when Aaron Rodgers starts to audible 80% of the time and the the Packers hit a 2 or 3 game losing streak, get ready for the chemistry to completely fall apart. Matt LaFleur has to completely rein in Rodgers to define when audibles are acceptable, or it will end the same way it did with McCarthy.

  4. Robster January 8, 2019

    I follow one team, not the entire NFL, so I don’t pretend to have direct familiarity with LeFleur’s body of work, but those with such knowledge almost uniformly have glowing words for the guy. Trent Dilfer makes several points that excite me. He says he’s like “Mike McCarthy before McCarthy stopped grinding.” He foresees that LeFleur “WILL COACH AARON HARD.” “He’s great at creating free releases for WR’s/TE’s.” He’ll provide “explosive opportunities on action pass by marrying run game WR splits, shifts, motion and back field action.” And, “Oline will be more physical.” If Dilfer is right, all the offensive players will benefit: both Aarons, all the first-year WRs, the blockers, and even guys who’ve regressed, like Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb (if kept), might get new leases on life. Who knows, maybe Kumerow won’t be wasted, unlike Cook, Janis, Taysom Hill, and some others – or let go, like Sitton, Lang, and Tretter. Even with the Raiders, Jared Cook still managed 896 yards, 13.2 catch average, 46 first downs, and six TDs. This Pack has more offensive talent than they were able to display under McCarthy’s stifling and predictable schemes.

    1. PF4L January 8, 2019

      Hi Rob, it’s damn good to see you on here again. We didn’t know what happened to you and the imagination wonders.

      Regardless, glad to see you back and well.

      Stick around and i’ll promise not to give you any shit about Janis’s career…after the Packers. :)

    2. Kato January 8, 2019

      Agreed with PF4L. Good to see you on here.

    3. Cheese January 8, 2019

      No friggin’ way, the Robster makes an appearance and starts talking about Jeffrey Janis. I think it’s time to party like it’s 2017.

    4. MJ January 8, 2019

      Great to see you around, Rob. Let’s keep the football discussions on. All the best to you.

    5. MMSUCKS January 8, 2019

      Amen ROBSTER . . .

      1. Mitch Anthony January 8, 2019

        Welcome back Rob. Great to see a post from you. Since the new mod is offering to accept article submissions, please seriously think that over. I, like many others who visit this site, often found your articles to be my favorites.

        1. Jason January 8, 2019

          The cool thing about this site(and why I am not worthy) is Google News sends traffic as soon as a post is published. It’s a great way to get your view heard by thousands of Packers fans.

        2. MJ January 9, 2019

          I guess Rob would be interested in doing that, but he would also be interested in some sort of compensation for his time.

          1. PF4L January 9, 2019

            ^^Rob’s agent^^ :)

  5. PF4L January 8, 2019

    Looks like they are keeping most of the defensive staff. So in turn, it also looks like Murphy hired another YES MAN. I guess i could say that Gute and Murphy hired him, but i’m smarter than that.

    How do i know that LaFleur is a yes man? Because i have proof. Which i’ll get into later when time allows and after i read the comments in here.

    I’m emotionally done with this team until Murphy is gone. It wasn’t enough that he watched Ted set this team back and did nothing, now Ted is setting it back himself and i don’t know if he even has a boss to question him. Which seems to be the common denominator on this team. Does anyone answer to anyone?

    What’s next…are they keeping Zook because he’s a nice guy?

    1. Kato January 8, 2019

      Idk about you, but I am bothered by comments being made he was hired because he “didnt present a threat to the current power structure” in Green Bay like McDaniels or Gase did given their past experience in personnel

      1. PF4L January 8, 2019

        Well Kato, i havent heard that one. But i said early on that i didn’t think that they could get a quality guy to come in and work under Murphy and his new structure. The rest of the NFL isn’t stupid, the Packers aren’t exactly on the come up.

        With that said….I have no clue whether LaFleur is a good hire or not. I hope he is for Packer fans sake. I think anyone with a new fresh attitude and idea’s is a huge step up from McCarthy concerning Rodgers and the offense. I truly believe that.

        What i meant by LaFleur being a yes man, is that he wanted this job bad enough to be dictated or “suggested” who he should keep on the current staff. The same way Gute took the job, on conditions.

        Is it unheard of to keep some old coaching staff? It happens, but not often. What is unheard of is this….keeping them before you even talk or interview them to see if it’s a fit. That is a Yes Man. Yes, i’ll keep him (them) on.

        I really do wish this team well for the fans sake. But they better get some talent quick on this team and stop missing, and wasting money. I just don’t see this as a complete Championship team in the foreseeable future.

        If i’m wrong, then i’m wrong, but it’s what i see.

        1. Kato January 8, 2019

          Agreed. I am not necessarily turned off by the fact he “wants” Pettine kept. However, like you said it is unusual to keep multiple members without interviewing them/having a previous working relationship with them. Which he apparently did with the TEs coach. It is a little bit of a red flag to me that there isn’t an apparently plan for him to at least bring in his own offensive coaching staff. Although that could be cleared up tomorrow.

          1. Deepsky January 9, 2019

            I don’t have a problem with keeping Pettine. The team went from 28th in league in third down stops to 13th.

          2. PF4L January 9, 2019

            But the defense also went from giving up 24 PPG last season vs 25 PPG this season, full disclosure.

            I don’t mind keeping Pettine either, but let it be LaFleur’s decision.

            Where in Mark Murphy’s resume does he have any successful experience concerning NFL football operations?

            Where in Mark Murphy’s resume does he have any experience concerning NFL football operations ….at all?

            He was in charge of one guy, and he refused to even do that until he was told too.

            “Ted will let me know when he wants to retire” – Murphy

            Fuck you Mark, you’re weak, and now your trying to show everyone you are in charge (at the detriment of this team)..

            Murphy isn’t that hard to read.

            Blessed be the day that clown leaves Green Bay.

        2. Stiggy January 9, 2019

          The colts have a similar structure this year, granted circumstances were a bit different. I see your point but feel pettine and the defensive side are a good “crutch” for a brand new hc with minimal experience being the boss.

  6. Kato January 8, 2019

    This is going to end really good or really really bad. I dont think there will be an in between. This is a hell of a risk with the safer options that were available. I guess you can give it to them, they took a chance like this organization hasnt in a long time.

  7. Dude Looks like a ViQueen January 8, 2019

    It is not just knowing offense and being able to keep Aaron Rodgers in line and not letting him go into pouty fits where he throws the ball into ground on third downs to kill the drive.

    Can LaFleur motivate the team, including the defense and have the team ready each week for the tough games. I dislike these specialized hires. How well rounded is LaFleur?

  8. Sal January 8, 2019

    Glad Pettine is getting another year. We’ll see how good he really is with a healthy defense, hopefully. As for LaFleur, I’m just glad it’s not McDaniels. His history with QBs is definitely encouraging. Great post!

  9. Deepsky January 8, 2019

    I think this was as good as hire as any, similar to hiring Mike McCarthy in 2005 where the Packers wanted a young up and comer who had what at that time was a modern offense. I thought they might go the McVay/Shanahan route, but I didn’t know who would have been the best hire from this tree.

    LaFleur uses the West Coast Offense naming conventions, so Rodgers will pick up things pretty quickly. Josh McDaniels would have used different naming conventions.

    The Packers can’t let Campen get away. That guy is a good coach. He’s probably due for a promotion.

    LaFluer seems inexperienced, but is actually 7 years older than Sean McVay.

    My only concern is that McVay’s and Shanahan’s offenses believe in moving the chains and just getting first downs and I’m not sure Rodgers will like that. That being said when Rodgers was saying that the Packers needed to get Adams open, he was probably referring to having an offense like LaFleurs.

  10. Kato January 8, 2019

    What I don’t understand is why all the sudden leadership is taking a leap of faith and taking chances. There were very good players in recent drafts (Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack come to mind) that had some serious risks but very high ceilings. There have been similar FAs as well that were high risk high reward. Players are players though, and it is easier move on from a mistake without affecting your team as much. But now you take a fairly big risk with a coach when your QB is 35 years old? I am not seeing the logic here

    1. stiggy January 9, 2019

      weak coaching market. Heavy competition for a cliche “great offensive mind”. The logic (whether it pans out or not) is pretty straight forward… they are looking for the next shannahan/mcvay/nagy. This is the closest thing to that…but the pack dont have a half decade of top 10 picks… nor Aaron Donald/Khalil Mack to help with the transition. The irony of these “great offensive mind” teams is they have really good defenses too…. which goes to show why Payton is all of a sudden an “amazing coach”… which of course coincides with his defense becoming one of the leagues best.

      Dare I say in the world of “great offensive minds” (gag me) that the old adage of “defense wins championships” still holds true?

      Im fine with the Mcvay hire because stats aside…the defense took a step forward last year and they will have continuity on that side of the ball. THis team will sink or swim with our draft/free agency anyway.

      1. Kato January 9, 2019

        Yes. Everything you said is correct. The young offensive guy is the new trend. The titans obviously found that out the hard way. They now have to find a new offensive coordinator after he was there for just a year. My point is these hires have a fair amount of risk to them, and I am not sure the risk is the best thing for the packers. It’s odd how quickly this happened. It is almost as if they felt they would lose him if they didnt hire him right after the interview despite no other reported interest.

        1. Stiggy January 9, 2019

          I absolutely agree there is risk with the unknown young coordinator. But then again there is risk with any hire. Even belichick may not be able to replicate his new England success in green bay. Hopefully they hired him because they feel he will re engage and challenge Rodgers more than anyone else. At this point Rodgers doesn’t have to care.. he could laugh his way to the bank and still make the hof. Also love the move to retain pettine regardless of whose call it was. Very rare to find a coach of his experience and pedigree with no head coach aspirations

  11. Ferris January 8, 2019

    Thank goodness they did not hire Lane Kiffin…err Josh McDaniels. I hope Gute is right. Rams got McVay right and Bears got Nagy right. I had never really known either before they were hired. No retread, not an old man, ran offenses that scored points, probably has a smart phone rather than McCarthy’s flip phone covered in mayonnaise.

  12. Deepsky January 9, 2019

    I think there’s a couple of ways this can fail. Not saying that it will, but here’s where I see LaFleur and Rodgers not hitting it off and Rodgers shutting down like he did with McCarthy.

    1) LaFleur ran the ball the much more than the Packers, who ran the ball the least in the NFL last year. If the Packers ran the ball the least because Rodgers was changing the play to a pass, then we’ve got problems.

    2) LaFleur likes play action. He runs the ball a lot to open up the pass. There has been a lot of articles on the web about how Rodgers and the Packers have one of the worst play action offenses in the league. If Rodgers doesn’t buy into the play action, then we’ve got problems.

  13. Larry January 9, 2019

    I’ve been reading a lot about this guy and I really have no clue if it’s a good hire. I do know anything is better than McCarthy. From what I gather, his offensive philosophies are night and day compared to the fat man’s. Many of the talking heads act like being an NFL head coach is difficult but truth is, it ain’t rocket science.

    I have seen a lot of angst among my Packer brethren over the Tenn. record of our new HC. Being a gambling degenerate (I nailed Clemson beating the Tide), I’m a huge college guy and Mariota was an over hyped QB coming out of college. So for me, our new HC gets a pass on his Titan gig.

    I would have preferred GB dig into the college coaching pool cause their are some highly innovative guys. Kingsbury will be a good coach in Arizona. At least Lafleur believes in a run game and helping WRs using bunch formations and rub routes. He’s a motion guy which makes him QB friendly. We might even see slants and screens, gasp, back in the Packer offense. Most of all, the dude seems hungry.

    We all know the HC thing is much to do about nothing if Gute does not make the right moves in this critical off season. There will be cap space and money to spend but the smart sailor on shore leave does not empty his wallet on a skank. BG has to come away with 2 legitimate safeties and an edge rusher. Depth for the OL would be a refreshing change. I understand some were impressed with his first year, I was not among them. GM’s get paid a ton of money so it ain’t charity work.

    Last but most important, their is one more vacant position to be filled. Someone please get Rogers a shrink. The dude suddenly has a lot of bats in his belfry. Now I can understand McCarthy broke him and he took refuge in state farm commercials, but play time is over and quite frankly his Jay Cutler persona sucks. Getting his mind right is job #1. A Dr Phil intervention may be necessary. If that does not help, well there’s always that Antonio Brown life line available at the moment.

    1. Kato January 9, 2019

      I wonder if we will see an emphasis on the offensive line in FA and the draft. I would not mind if they went to a more run based offense and short passing game emphasizing clock control and keeping the defense off the field. I would have to do research to confirm, but it seems like when the defense struggled last year, it was when the offense wasnt converting third downs going 3 and out and putting the defense out on the field with little rest. Also, as you pointed out, it may not be a bad idea to take some pressure off of Rodgers and rely on him a little less, because something is off with him and I dont know if a fresh scheme will fix that

      1. Stiggy January 9, 2019

        Agreed. Couldnt help but think what Rodgers would look like with that monster Quentin Nelson on his line. Who would have thought a guard would have such an over night impact on a team? Granted Nelson is the second coming of Larry allen… but man the pack need a guy to set the tone like that.

  14. PF4L January 9, 2019

    “We all know the HC thing is much to do about nothing if Gute does not make the right moves in this critical off season.”

    I’m not really on board with the rest of your post, but that line is strong. Truer words were never spoken. Except when i posted it :)

  15. SP January 9, 2019

    RG3 got MVP honors, huh? Must have missed that one.

    1. PF4L January 10, 2019

      That was actually the MVIP award….Most Valuable Injured Pretender.

  16. Dude Looks like a ViQueen January 9, 2019

    I am not that confident this is going to work out the way we hope it will.

    Rob Demovsky
    ESPN Staff Writer
    “Matt LaFleur said he intends to call the offensive plays as the head coach. He has one year of experience as an NFL play caller last season with the Titans.”

    So when Aaron Rodgers starts to audible 80% of the time and the the Packers hit a 2 or 3 game losing streak, get ready for the chemistry to completely fall apart. Matt LaFleur has to completely rein in Rodgers to define when audibles are acceptable, or it will end the same way it did with McCarthy.

  17. TyKo Steamboat January 9, 2019

    Browns & Jets passed on Fat Mike for Freddie Kitchens & Adam Gase… wow

    1. Cheese January 9, 2019

      Lol, I saw that. All I could think of was all of the talking heads saying how McCarthy would find a new HC position right away because he’s “highly successful” and is the best available coaching candidate. Obviously John Dorsey didn’t want him. I also saw an article saying the only job McCarthy wanted was with the Jets, but that was after the Browns promoted their offensive coordinator. Maybe the Peter Principle has finally worked things out so McCarthy can go back to his doing dream job, offensive coordinator. That is if his pride doesn’t get in the way first.

      1. PF4L January 10, 2019

        Yea, i was clearly wrong on my predictio/n McGravy would be the Browns next head coach. I didn’t take into account that teams with young QB’s may not want a play caller that gets left behind in being innovative.

        In related news, i think we now can expect a new offensive playbook, not the lip service that we heard last year.

        Last thought, i think we all can remember the McCarthy fans on here posting that McCarthy would have his choice of jobs, writing his own ticket, blah,blah. The same folks who would often ask us….Who are we going to get that’s any better. The losing mentality crowd.

        1. PF4L January 10, 2019

          My apologies to cheese….I read Tyko’s post and then wrote mine without reading his. Great minds……

          Since i’m here…..are there anymore ways the Packers can piss away millions of dollars? The Packers give McCarthy a 1 year extension, and keep it a secret. It’s pretty clear they weren’t sure about McCarthys future here or they would have given him a multi year.