Matt LeFleur is expected to be named the new head coach of the Green Bay Packers, according to multiple reports.
LeFleur, 39, spent this season as the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans, and before that he was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams (2017) and quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16).
He spent 2014 as the QB coach at Notre Dame, but from 2010-13 he was the QB coach of the Washington Redskins, where he was in charge of current Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins during Cousins' first two years as a pro.
In a 2015 interview with the Washington Post, Cousins raved about how much attention and detail LaFleur put into developing him as a rookie.
“It was everything from spending a lot of time watching cut-ups, to going out and drilling, whether it was very basic drills or team drills,” Cousins said. “I always felt like Matt LaFleur, who is the QB coach down in Atlanta, did a great job of spending time with me, working hard to make sure I was prepared as I could possibly be. Sometimes, I would wonder, other places’ quarterbacks, who are rookies, especially third and fourth-string can get forgotten about a little bit. I felt like when I came in as a rookie, I was given a lot of attention and time and energy, and really was developed quickly because of the focus they put on me and Robert.”
He comes from a coaching tree that scores points
The Rams led the NFL in scoring with LaFleur as offensive coordinator, and so did the Falcons when he was in Atlanta, albeit Rams head coach Sean McVay and former Falcons offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, now the head coach in San Francisco, get most of the credit for those explosive offensive schemes.
In fact, the 2018 season was LaFleur's first crack at calling plays in the NFL. The Titans finished 25th in total offense, 29th in passing, seventh in rushing and 27th in points.
A similar hire to Mike McCarthy in 2006
As the Green Bay Press Gazette points out, LaFleur's hire is similar to when the Packers hired Mike McCarthy as head coach in 2006. In 2005, McCarthy was an offensive coordinator that led the 49ers to the 30th-ranked offense.
It worked out well for McCarthy with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, so perhaps the same will happen for LaFleur. Working with Rodgers is a clear upgrade over Marcus Mariota, who is oft-injured and easily one of the most inconsistent starting quarterbacks in the NFL since the Titans drafted him No. 2 overall in 2015.
The biggest difference between McCarthy and LaFleur is that McCarthy had four years of play-calling experience compared to LaFleur's one before getting a head coaching job.
No defensive changes expected under LaFleur
Multiple reports suggest LaFleur will retain defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on his staff in Green Bay. That's important because it means the Packers' up-and-coming defense, filled with young talent, won't have to learn a new playbook going into 2019.