NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It is commonplace for profitable groups to have assistant coaches plucked from their staffs. Nevertheless it was a gentle shock for the Tennessee Titans — who did not make the playoffs and struggled offensively for a lot of 2018 — to have offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur plucked from theirs by the Inexperienced Bay Packers.
However the imminent hiring of LaFleur as the Packers’ new coach might be a refreshing change for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who reportedly clashed with former coach Mike McCarthy at instances. Inexperienced Bay selected LaFleur partially as a result of of his success working with quarterbacks such as Jared Goff (Rams, 2017) and Matt Ryan (Falcons, 2016 MVP season). LaFleur additionally was Washington’s quarterbacks coach when Robert Griffin III was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.
LaFleur likes the play-motion passing recreation, which ought to be very best for Rodgers, who’s one of the perfect quarterbacks at throwing on the transfer. LaFleur’s background traces to Mike Shanahan in Washington and Gary Kubiak in Houston — coaches recognized for shifting the pocket and attacking down the sphere.
LaFleur carried these traits into his first alternative to name performs as the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2018, orchestrating large positive factors on play-motion passes for quarterback Marcus Mariota. Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling averaged 15.three yards per reception for Inexperienced Bay in 2018 and might be referred to as upon to stretch the sphere on vertical routes when LaFleur dials up these play-motion passes.
LaFleur is simply 39, with one full season of calling NFL performs below his belt, however he’ll problem Rodgers to increase his recreation again to an MVP stage.
Mariota and LaFleur appeared to be a match made in heaven, however a nerve damage suffered by the younger QB within the season opener together with Tennessee’s incapacity to set up the run hampered the Titans’ offense early on. Below LaFleur, the Titans averaged 312.four yards per recreation, rating 25th within the NFL. Including LaFleur was supposed to spark an enchancment in factors scored, however Tennessee completed 27th, with 19.four factors per recreation.
Nonetheless, not all of Tennessee’s points can be blamed on LaFleur, who made the perfect of what was left after shedding prime tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith to season-ending accidents. Late within the season, LaFleur discovered methods to characteristic working again Derrick Henry, who rushed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns within the ultimate 5 video games.
Balancing the carries between working backs Dion Lewis and Henry was no straightforward activity, and that have ought to assist LaFleur handle Inexperienced Bay’s backfield, which featured Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in 2018. If LaFleur’s time in Tennessee is any indication, the Packers’ backs might be busy on display passes, catching the ball on selection routes out of the backfield and even lining up at large receiver. LaFleur additionally likes placing two working backs on the sphere on the similar time.
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“He [LaFleur] goes to put each man on the offense in the perfect state of affairs attainable. For me, that is thrilling as a result of he is utilizing our greatest belongings,” Mariota mentioned of LaFleur throughout coaching camp.
Titans large receiver Corey Davis, in his second season, took a step ahead below LaFleur. He completed with 65 receptions for 891 yards and 4 touchdowns, which doubled his rookie statistics.
LaFleur had a knack for shifting Davis across the formation to create favorable matchups, getting him targets lining up exterior the numbers and within the slot. Davis’ targets elevated from 65 in 11 video games within the 2017 season to 112 in 16 video games in 2018. That quantity would have been even increased if not for the late-season emergence of Henry and the working recreation.
LaFleur additionally loves large receiver screens, giving gamers like Davante Adams a possibility to create after the catch.
Placing gamers in place to excel should not be a difficulty for LaFleur in Inexperienced Bay, as the brand new coach’s scheme looks like an ideal match for Rodgers.