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Reports: Packers hiring Matt LaFleur as head coach

Titans OC to become Packers' 15th head coach
Posted: 5:19 PM, Jan 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 18:56:55-05
Reports: Packers hiring Matt LaFleur as head coach

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Matt LaFleur will be the next Packers head coach, according to multiple reports.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Packers have offered LaFleur the job and have told its other candidates "that they're out and the team has made its choice."

LaFleur spent last season with Tennessee as its offensive coordinator, his first calling plays in the NFL. Before that, he was Sean McVay's offensive coordinator in 2017, and even before that, he worked under Mike Shanahan with the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan during his MVP season.

ESPN's Rob Demovsky reported hiring LaFleur "is expected to help keep Mike Pettine and the defensive staff intact."

This season was the 39-year-old’s first as a play-caller in the NFL, as injuries ravaged the Titans offense. QB Marcus Mariota dealt with a nagging injury in his throwing arm, and the Titans finished No. 29 in passing but No. 7 in rushing with running back Derrick Henry.

“I think a lot of Titans fans were surprised this week when they heard that Matt LaFleur would be a candidate for the Packers’ head coaching job, simply because he’s only been a play caller in the National Football League for one season, and this fall, the Titans’ offense wasn’t particularly prolific,” said NewsChannel 5 Sports Anchor Steve Layman. “In fact, quarterback Marcus Mariota’s passing numbers went down by about 700 yards from the previous season. Now there are a lot of reasons for that. The Titans were plagued by injuries all season long, including injuries to Marcus Mariota that cost him the final game of the season, so we maybe didn’t see the full repertoire or the full offense from Matt LaFleur this year, but still, if you’re looking for a proven coordinator in this league, I’m not even sure you can call Matt LaFleur that just yet.”

But Layman said LaFleur’s offense “catching its stride” at the season’s end was a big part of Tennessee finishing 4-1 and just missing the playoffs.

Before his time in Tennessee, LaFleur was Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator in LA in 2017, when the Rams were No. 8 on the ground and No. 10 through the air. And even before that, LaFleur worked with Matt Ryan when the Falcons went on to the Super Bowl, Ryan’s MVP season.

“I think he’s an innovative offensive mind, and I think the goal would be that he can open things up for Aaron Rodgers and company. That was certainly the goal here, when Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson brought him in this last year to try to open up the Titans’ offense for Marcus Mariota… If Green Bay wants Matt LaFleur, that’s what you’re looking for: You’re looking for a guy who’s been tutored by some of the best offensive minds in football and coached some of the best quarterbacks in football. You hope he can bring that to the Packers.”

Layman said after a season of injuries ravaged the Titans, the biggest consideration the Packers would have to weigh is LaFleur's lack of play-calling experience versus his innovative offensive mind.

"(LaFleur) ushered (Mariota) through really a frustrating season when he was plagued by injuries right from Week No. 1 and got him to play pretty well in the second half of the season," Layman said. "And furthermore, you look back to those experiences in Los Angeles, building up that Rams offense and particularly in Atlanta with a guy like Matt Ryan, who he tutored into arguably his best season of his NFL career and helping the Falcons get to the Super Bowl. I don’t think personality would be a big issue for LaFleur. He’s a likable guy, he gets along with a lot of people. It’s just a question of will his offense work and does he have enough experience at this point, both as a coordinator and a potential head coaching candidate to be the guy you would ultimately settle on.”

Reports suggest the Packers moved on LaFleur quickly, not even conducting second-round interviews with its candidates. The full list included former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, Former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, LaFleur, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin.

Check back on this story as it is developing.