The Los Angeles Rams are hiring another “Lafleur” as their offensive coordinator. This time it’s Mike Lafleur, the team announced on Friday. The 36-year-old LaFleur served as offensive coordinator for the New York Jets before the team announced a “mutual” parting earlier this winter.
athletic Since the start of the Rams’ offseason in mid-January, Lafleur reports that he was a front-runner for head coach Sean McVay, a position vacated by Liam Cohen’s move to the same position in Kentucky.
Rams fans know Matt Raffler well. He was McVay’s first offensive coordinator as head coach and is currently the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. But what should you know about Mike LaFleur?
athletic‘s Jets writer Zack Rosenblatt joined the discussion about LaFleur.
Jordan Rodrigue: Zach! Happy “off-season” to you.
By hiring LaFleur, it seems like McVay is, in a way, going back to his “roots” after a truly frustrating Rams season in 2022. in the pass game. But what he’s really interested in with his LaFleur insights and background is the “Shanahan” system associated with Run’s game and the basic path of that particular system with some of his concepts. How can we improve the balance of
What about that, if anything, did you see it from Ruffler when he was with the Jets?
Zach Rosenblatt: Jordan, unfortunately we don’t have an offseason to cover the Jets, but at least we were able to avoid head coach searches this offseason.
It’s honestly a bit difficult to say exactly what Ruffler brings out of his Jets days. I wrote about this in a recent breakdown of what went wrong, but essentially Zach Wilson had a hard time figuring out the offense as a rookie, so in the offseason Lafleur asked what went wrong for him. I studied Taka and simplified the playbook to make it easier for Wilson to work with. By the time he returned in Week 4 from his knee injury, LaFleur told him in the passing game that if he didn’t lead in the first and he didn’t lead in the second, just run.
So even while the Jets were winning, the passing game wasn’t a threat, relying on a rushing attack that was much easier when Breeshall was still in the fold. So did the rushing offense when a hole went down and the Jets’ offensive line cratered.
Zach Wilson, Mike Ruffler and the aftermath of a failed Jets offense
For LaFleur, I think working with someone like Matthew Stafford allows LaFleur to get back to the roots of what works in offense. I think one of the challenges he faced with the Jets in the passing game was running longer deployment routes (out and in routes, or dig routes) that strained his line on offense and held up longer. increase. The quarterback was trying to get out of the pocket as best he could. Having a quarterback who understands the offense better allows Lafleur to tap into the creativity that everyone was so excited about the Jets hiring him in the first place.
As for the running game… I haven’t looked into the Rams staff in detail, but I’m assuming they’re looking for an upgrade this offseason, right?
Rodrigue: I really hope they build on what Cam Akers accomplished in December and January (he returned from a team-mandated hiatus and averaged 85.3 per game for six total touchdowns). yards, including three consecutive games with 100+ yards at the end of the season), but they need to structurally support the Akers in that effort.
That means keeping assistant head coach Thomas Brown (who took over as running back at the time) and working to maintain the health consistency in the offensive line that the Rams essentially didn’t have in 2022. – Appreciating the Rams’ previous “running backs by committee” approach, leaning more into the wide/outside zone concept with Akers and complementary/pass-catchingback Killen Williams, and also on Shanahan’s foundation I understand that some variety needs to be added. clearly needs a better complement behind the Akers workload. You can also see them adding a downhill back, but in fact, they’re overhauling the entire room, like he thought when he failed to trade Akers back in November. not.
Reading your excellent article on what went wrong with LaFleur and the Jets kept me thinking. That makes the McVay/Lafleur/Stafford triangle very interesting in the offseason. Stafford is actually healthy and able to throw, so he can work on changing things.
So, aside from the less-than-ideal ending, what can you tell us about the coach and person the Rams are getting with LaFleur?
Rosenblatt: Just a caveat, if you ask LaFleur about the commission’s return, he’ll say he supports it. Shanahan he’s a natural for someone from the tree. However, like when Hall took over the Jets, he’s a big proponent of “riding the hot hand.”
Anyway, speaking of who Lafleur was as a coach and as a person, I think some of his tendencies in the passing game frustrated wide receivers, but I don’t think players necessarily hated him. When I asked Hall about him after the season, he said: I feel like he puts us in a position to be successful most of the time. … I think he is a really nice person and I love being with him every day. He’s one of those weird guys, but he’s also really cool. “
Another former Jets receiver described him as quiet but approachable. I think LaFleur likely learned a lot about what it takes to act as a leader and how to manage his personality from his time with the Jets. So much responsibility.
Ahead of the 2022 season, we asked multiple people across the league (scouts, coaches, etc.) to tell us that while the Jets’ offense struggled in 2021, they were very impressed with his clever and creative play design. I was. He is a much respected football spirit even though he is still learning what it takes to be a leader. And if he ends up becoming a head coach like his big brother, that would be the next step for him.
Rodrigue: McVay often opines that he wants foundation in a run game, but always falls in love with the sweet, sweet adrenaline rush of a pass game. If I’m reading his offseason self-assessment correctly, I believe it is, but at Lafleur, he’s looking for someone he knows well who can balance him out. It was, even if it meant a push-pull of functional conflicts between runs and passes.
Meanwhile, changes have been made to the Rams’ roster, with some starters and some depth roles to be upgraded. , cap victims, or tradeable players)?
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Rosenblatt: We don’t know exactly what the Rams need per roster, but there are a few players who would be willing to consider following him to Los Angeles in the right circumstances:
• QB Mike White: Had LaFleur had his way, he would have been the Jets’ starter all season. He’s a good fit for that system and backup he’ll be an upgrade as a QB.
• RB Ty Johnson: A solid pass catchback used more often by Ruffler than Jets fans.
• WR Corey Davis: A solid receiver and consistent run blocker, likely a cap victim.
• WR Braxton Berrios: Another possible cap victim. He’s his LaFleur’s go-to gadget player, as well as a handy repeater.
• G Nate Herbig: Solid role as a starter, especially as a run blocker.
Rodrigue: White and Harbig are very intriguing for the Rams. Especially since he revealed that he’s considering overhauling his backup quarterback and needs to upgrade some roles along his offensive line.
Meanwhile, the Rams’ previous pattern cannot be ignored…they like to go after receivers who can do more than catch the ball, and Berrios and Davis fit that mold.
Interesting times to come. From me and a Rams fan: Thank you!
(Mike White, left, and Mike Ruffler top photo: Mark Connesny / USA Today)