Five things to know about Matt LaFleur

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As the Green Bay Pack­ers fi­nal­ize a deal to hire Ten­nes­see Ti­tans of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt LaFleur to be the team’s next head coach, here are five things to know about the Pack­ers’ new coach:

1. Ex­pe­ri­ence coach­ing QBs

LaFleur is only 39 years old, but he has vast ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with and coach­ing the quar­ter­back po­si­tion. Among those he’s coached: Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Robert Grif­fin III, Donovon McNabb, Mar­cus Mar­i­ota, DeShone Kizer and Matt Schaub. LaFleur was the quar­ter­backs coach in At­lanta dur­ing Ryan’s MVP sea­son in 2016. He also helped de­velop Grif­fin III and Cousins in Wash­ing ton and Kizer while at Notre Dame. For­mer NFL quar­ter­backs Trent Dil­fer and Dan Orlovsky be­lieve LaFleur will coach up and chal­lenge Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers.

2. QB ex­pe­ri­ence

LaFleur started his col­lege ca­reer as a re­ceiver but tran­si­tioned to quar­ter­back, start­ing three years at the po­si­tion for Sag­i­naw Val­ley State. The Car­di­nals went to the Divi­son II play­offs all three sea­sons. As a se­nior, LaFleur threw 20 touch­down passes and only five in­ter­cep­tions while also rush­ing for five more scores. He later briefly played for the Omaha Beef and Billings Out­laws of the Na­tional In­door Foot­ball League be­fore get­ting into coach­ing in 2003. Un­doubt­edly, LaFleur’s ex­pe­ri­ence as a quar­ter­back will ap­peal to Aaron Rodgers, who forged mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships with for­mer as­sis­tant coaches Tom Cle­ments and Alex Van Pelt, two for­mer quar­ter­backs.

3. Ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with top coaches

LaFleur has been groomed for a head-coach­ing job by sev­eral top coaches around the coun­try, in­clud­ing Brian Kelly, Kyle Shana­han and Sean McVay. Kelly brought LaFleur to Notre Dame af­ter com­pet­ing against him while LaFleur was the quar­ter­back at Sag­i­naw Val­ley State and Kelly the coach at Grand Val­ley State. LaFleur later con­nected with Shana­han in Hous­ton, and he fol­lowed him to both Wash­ing ton and At­lanta, serv­ing as the quar­ter­backs coach at each stop. LaFleur’s run in Wash­ing ton also brought him into con­tact with McVay, who even­tu­ally brought him to Los An­ge­les as his of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in 2017. Mike Vra­bel, the Ti­tans’ first-year coach, signed off on LaFleur as his pri­mary play-caller in 2018. He’s never been a head coach, but LaFleur will have a good idea what a good one looks like.

4. Mak­ing magic with Ryan, Goff

One doesn’t have to go back far to find ev­i­dence of LaFleur’s abil­ity to work won­ders at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion. I n 2017, he and Sean McVay helped turn sec­ond-year quar­ter­back Jared Goff from a first-year bust into one of the league’s most pro­duc­tive passers. The year be­fore, he and Kyle Shana­han got the most out of Matt Ryan, re­sult­ing in 38 touch­down passes and a league MVP award. Even in Wash­ing ton, LaFleur was the po­si­tion coach as Robert Grif­fin III and Kirk Cousins de­vel­oped into NFL starters. Grif­fin won Rookie of the Year in 2012. He wasn’t able to make the same kind of magic with Mar­cus Mar­i­ota, who was in­jured at times in 2018, but the Pack­ers must be­lieve a chance to work with Aaron Rodgers will bring out the best in both.

5. Brother in coach­ing

Matt isn’t the only LaFleur in the NFL coach­ing ranks. His brother, Mike, is the wide re­ceivers and pass­ing game co­or­di­na­tor for the San Fran­cisco 49ers, who are coached by Matt’s old friend Kyle Shana­han. He’s in his sec­ond sea­son in San Fran­cisco. It’s pos­si­ble Matt could at­tempt to lure his brother to Green Bay to serve on his staff. The two pre­vi­ously worked to­gether on the At­lanta Fal­cons’ coach­ing staff.

KIM KLEMENT / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Fal­cons quar­ter­back Matt Ryan talks with for­mer At­lanta quar­ter­backs coach Matt LaFleur in 2016. Ryan threw 38 touch­downs that sea­son. LeFleur was selected as the new Pack­ers head coach af­ter be­ing the Los An­ge­les Rams of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in 2017 and the Ten­nes­see Ti­tans of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in 2018.

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