Matt LaFleur

Titans Hire Matt LaFleur As OC

The Titans announced that they have hired Matt LaFleur as their new offensive coordinator. LaFleur previously served as the Rams’ offensive coordinator. Matt LaFleur (Vertical)

Technically, this represents a lateral move for LaFleur, though he did not call plays in Los Angeles when he worked under head coach Sean McVay. Serving under a defensive-minded coach in Mike Vrabel, LaFleur should have flexibility to do things his way.

LaFleur is inexperienced as an OC, having served just one season in the role. In his favor, LaFleur did guide Matt Ryan to an MVP campaign just a year ago as quarterbacks coach in Atlanta. Then, last year, Jared Goff excelled under LaFleur’s tutelage. Given the 38-year-old’s QB acumen, the Titans are hopeful that he can get the most out of Marcus Mariota.

On Tuesday morning, the Titans also made the hiring of Dean Pees as defensive coordinator official.

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Titans Interview Matt LaFleur

The Titans have announced that they have finished their interview today with Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. The sides had to push back the scheduled meeting a day because of weather-related issues, but LaFleur has now completed his first interview for a head coaching role.

Matt LaFleur (Vertical)

LaFleur is young for a potential head coach at just 38 years old. He also is inexperienced as an offensive coordinator having served just one season under Sean McVay in Los Angeles. In his favor, LaFleur does have a tremendous track record as a quarterbacks coach, most recently helping to guide Matt Ryan through an MVP campaign just a year ago.

The Titans and former head coach Mike Mularkey parted ways because of the team’s wish to get the right guy for Marcus Mariota‘s development moving forward. LaFleur seems to fit the bill with what the front office is looking for.

With that said, Tennessee is still considering candidates of many background, including Mike Vrabel (HOU DC), Steve Wilks (CAR DC) and Frank Reich (Eagles OC). Just Wilks and Vrabel have been interviewed along with LaFleur.

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Coaching Rumors: Titans, Cowboys, Texans

Weather-related concerns are forcing the Titans to shift the timeline of their head coaching search, as Albert Breer of tweets. Whereas Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur were originally scheduled to interview with Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, Vrabel and LaFleur will now sit down with Titans general manager Jon Robinson on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Vrabel, LaFleur, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks — whose is currently en route to Tennessee for his interivew, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer — are the only definitive candidates for the Tennessee job thus far, but reports have indicated the Titans could also have interest in Eagles OC Frank Reich.

Here’s more from the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former NFL defensive coordinators John Pagano and Ray Horton will meet with the Cowboys, per Todd Archer of Pagano, the longtime Chargers’ DC, spent last season as an assistant head coach (and later, interim DC) for the Raiders, while Horton — formerly the defensive play-caller for the Cardinals, Titans, and Browns, didn’t work in the NFL in 2017. Dallas already has a defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli, but the Cowboys were reportedly willing to promote Marinelli to assistant head coach in order to keep ex-LBs coach Matt Eberflus.
  • While the Cowboys are apparently considering additions to their defensive coaching staff, they’ve made a hire on the offensive side of the ball in new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. Former Cowboys wide receiver/current Cowboys scout Miles Austin also reportedly interviewed for the position.
  • The Texans have hired former Raiders special teams coach Brad Seely for the same position, according to Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). Seely was forced out in Oakland earlier this month when the Raiders hired Rich Bisaccia as their new assistant head coach/special teams. He’ll replace Larry Izzo, the former NFL linebacker who led Houston to a No. 31 ranking in special teams DVOA a season ago. Seely, 61, has been an NFL ST coach since 1989, and the Texans will be his eighth professional stop. He should have a working relationship with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien, as the pair spent time together with the Patriots from 2007-08.

Titans To Interview Rams OC Matt LaFleur

The Titans have another interview lined up for their vacant head coaching gig. The team will speak with current Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, reports Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). The interview is scheduled to take place on Thursday, adds Albert Breer of Sports Illustarted (Twitter link).

Matt LaFleur (Vertical)

We learned earlier today that the Titans would have to start looking for a new head coach after the organization and Mike Mularkey agreed to part ways after the team’s blowout loss to the Patriots this past weekend.

Part of the split reportedly stemmed from Mularkey’s inability to get the most out of third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota. The decision to interview LaFleur certainly is a move to pivoting to a different brand of football moving forward.

The 38-year-old offensive coordinator was worked his way to his current position as a quarterbacks coach with both the Redskins and Falcons. LaFleur worked directly with Matt Ryan during his 2016 MVP campaign. LaFleur than brought much success to a breakout 2017 Rams offense.

While he did not call plays with head coach Sean McVay on the sidelines, LaFleur clearly had a big role in helping second-year quarterback Jared Goff bounce back from a rough rookie season with Jeff Fisher. The Titans might be hoping LaFleur can work some of his magic with Mariota and they’ll get a chance to see the young coach’s plans for him and the franchise face-to-face in short order.

LaFleur is the first offensive coach that the team is scheduled to speak with after news broke that defensive coordinators Steve Wilks and Mike Vrabel would get a chance to interview for the position. Although, there was hope that Josh McDaniels would prefer Tennessee to Indianapolis, even though that doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment.


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Coaching Notes: Falcons, Rams, Nagy, Fangio

The Falcons let two top Kyle Shanahan lieutenants leave shortly after their upper-echelon OC took the 49ers job, with Matt LaFleur and Mike McDaniel both departing for NFC West jobs. And in the eyes of NFL execs, that has hurt the Falcons.

Losing Kyle was bad enough,” one exec familiar with Shanahan’s system told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, “but letting the other two walk is crushing them right now. [New OC Steve Sarkisian] doesn’t know what he’s doing in that offense. He’s running some of Kyle’s plays, but he’s not setting up things the way Kyle did. It’s Kyle’s plays but it’s not Kyle’s offense and they don’t have any other coach in that building who knows the scheme with LaFleur and McDaniel gone, too.”

LaFleur is now working under Sean McVay as the Rams‘ OC, but McVay is calling the plays for the resurgent team. McVay will likely be willing to let the 37-year-old LaFleur leave in the offseason for a team that will let him call plays, La Canfora reports, adding that many scouts and execs viewed LaFleur as Shanahan’s top sounding board in Atlanta. The Falcons still rank seventh in total offense, but their performance has dropped off dramatically from the 2016 historically dominant attack.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks as the schedule nears the midseason point.

  • The Colts are not expected to retain Chuck Pagano for a seventh season, and one name to monitor will be Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. The second-year OC will be high (if not first) on Chris Ballard‘s list if/once he searches for his first head-coaching hire, Tom Pelissero of reports. The 39-year-old Nagy’s been on Andy Reid staffs for 10 seasons and is in his first as a solo OC; he and Brad Childress shared that title last season. Nagy does not call plays, but the Chiefs are operating one of the more innovative offenses in the game — one that ranks second through seven games. That figures to put Nagy on radars.
  • Much like Josh McDaniels has resettled with the Patriots, Matt Patricia may be difficult to pry out of New England as well. The longtime Pats defensive coordinator would need the “perfect situation” to leave for an HC gig, Pelissero notes. Patricia, 43, has been a monitored HC candidate for years.
  • Vic Fangio‘s contract with the Bears expires after this season, La Canfora reports, adding the 59-year-old DC will be in demand for a head-coaching position come hiring time. The Bears rank 13th in defensive DVOA despite not deploying a player who’s made a Pro Bowl, and Fangio’s unit helped win a game that included four Mitch Trubisky pass completions before holding Drew Brees without a touchdown pass a week later. The 49ers asked permission to interview their former DC for that job, but the Bears denied that request.
  • A report emerged earlier today Hue Jackson is tentatively expected to be the 2018 Browns‘ coach despite a historically awful start to his Cleveland career, but La Canfora is less certain he or the new-age front office will be asked back. Jackson is 1-23 since taking over last season, with only John McKay’s 1976-77 Buccaneers having compiled a worse 24-game mark, but the ex-Bengals OC joined a historic rebuilding experiment. La Canfora writes that experiment thus far failing so spectacularly will call for Jimmy Haslam to fire key front office staffers and Jackson.

Rams Hire Matt LaFleur As OC

The Rams have announced the hiring of Matt LaFleur as their offensive coordinator. LaFleur previously served as the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach. Matt LaFleur (vertical)

[RELATED: Falcons Hire Steve Sarkisian As OC]

LaFleur is widely credited with helping to develop Matt Ryan. Long considered a solid starter, Ryan put it all together this past season en route to an MVP award. Pro Football Focus’ metrics also ranked Ryan as the No. 2 QB in the game, putting him behind only Tom Brady, whose Patriots knocked off Ryan’s Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

LaFleur worked with new Rams head coach Sean McVay while the two were with the Redskins. McVay picked his defensive coordinator a long time ago, but it seems that he waited specifically so that he could hire LaFleur. After molding Ryan into a beast, LaFleur’s next task will be to get the most out of 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. While Goff showed flashes in his rookie season, the youngster is still largely green. The right tutelage will go a long way toward helping his progress, but the Rams will also have to improve their offensive line in order to maximize his time in the pocket.

The 37-year-old LaFleur has worked as an offensive assistant at both the collegiate and professional levels, with his most recent college job coming as the Notre Dame quarterbacks coach in 2014. He served in the same capacity with the Redskins from 2010-2013.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that the Rams would hire LaFleur. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Pursue Matt LaFleur As OC

The Rams will request permission to speak with Falcons quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur about their offensive coordinator position, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. LaFleur and new Rams head coach Sean McVay once worked together in Washington, and McVay believes LaFleur can implement his offense and help quarterback Jared Goff reach his potential. According to Schefter, the interest is mutual.

November 8, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Falcons 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

LaFleur, of course, would be a logical candidate to replace Kyle Shanahan as the Falcons’ OC, as Shanahan is set to accept the 49ers’ head coaching job. Just last week, LaFleur was also mentioned as a candidate to join Shanahan in the Bay Area as the 49ers’ new offensive coordinator, but now another California team could be in the lead for his services.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has expressed interest in Chip Kelly as their next offensive coordinator, and according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter), Kelly would have a real shot at the job if he keeps Shanahan’s system in place. Per Rapoport, LaFleur knows that he will be targeted by both the Rams and 49ers, but in the week leading up the Super Bowl, his mind was singularly focused on helping Atlanta capture its first Lombardi Trophy, and he was unwilling to discuss his future at length (Twitter link).

The 37-year-old LaFleur has served as an offensive assistant at both the collegiate and professional levels, with his most recent college job coming as the Notre Dame quarterbacks coach in 2014. He served in the same capacity with the Redskins from 2010-2013.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chip Kelly Legit OC Candidate For Falcons

Just over a week after the Falcons expressed interest in having Chip Kelly become their next offensive coordinator, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach has emerged as a “legitimate candidate” to land the role, reports Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kelly would take over for Kyle Shanahan, who will replace Kelly as the 49ers’ head coach after the Falcons take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LI this Sunday.

Chip Kelly (vertical)

The fact that there aren’t any other proven offensive coordinator candidates on the market makes Kelly a viable option for Atlanta, Schultz notes. Long an offensive guru, the 53-year-old Kelly would inherit an enviable collection of talent in Atlanta, whose attack has laid waste to opposing defenses this season. The Matt Ryan-, Julio Jones– and Devonta Freeman-led unit topped the NFL in both scoring and DVOA during the regular season, and it has combined for 78 points in playoff wins over the Seahawks and Packers.

Kelly is known for running a fast-paced offense, which helped lead to his downfall in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, but the ex-Oregon head coach’s NFL failures have “humbled” him, according to Schultz. As a result, Kelly is willing to slow things down, which he’d have to do in order to accommodate the Falcons’ offensive weapons and make life easier on the team’s defense.

Shanahan, meanwhile, won’t be able to take any significant members of head coach Dan Quinn‘s staff with him to San Francisco. The Falcons will prevent him from pilfering the likes of assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Raheem Morris, running backs coach Bobby Turner and offensive line coach Chris Morgan, a source told Schultz. However, offensive assistants Mike McDaniel, Mike LaFleur and Matt LaFleur could end up with Shanahan’s 49ers.

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Extra Points: 49ers, Gruden, OBJ

Kyle Shanahan is widely expected to become the 49ers‘ next head coach, and now some are beginning to wonder how he will go about filling out his staff. As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, it is unlikely that Shanahan will be able to bring many of his Atlanta assistants with him given that most of those assistants are under contract with the Falcons or are loyal to Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. However, Barrows posits that Shanahan could bring current Atlanta quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur to the Bay Area and install him as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. LaFleur — who would also be a candidate to replace Shanahan as the Falcons’ OC — has worked with Shanahan for eight seasons in Atlanta, Washington, and Houston.

Barrows’ sources also suggest that Bears’ assistant special-teams coach Richard Hightower could become the 49ers’ special teams coordinator. Hightower worked under Shanahan in 2014 as an offensive quality control coach for the Browns.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the league as we anxiously await next week’s Super Bowl:

  • Rich Tandler of does not believe that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat, as some have speculated. Tandler is unsure if Gruden could survive a 6-10 or worse showing in 2017, but he does not believe it’s playoffs or bust for Gruden, who will be entering his fourth year as Washington’s head coach.
  • There is no rush for the Giants to pursue an extension for Odell Beckham, Jr., as James Kratch of writes. Between his current rookie deal, the fifth-year option, and the franchise tag, OBJ is locked into the Giants’ roster until at least 2021, so while his future with the team is certainly not in question, New York can afford to wait while they work through their concerns with Beckham.
  • Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, will not participate in the Senior Bowl despite the Browns‘ specifically requesting that he do so. Although the Browns were reportedly not planning to use their No. 1 overall selection on Watson, Mary Kat Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggests that Watson’s decision not only denied him the chance to change the team’s mind in that regard, it may make it tougher for Cleveland to select him with their No. 12 overall choice.
  • Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin sat down with Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer to discuss a number of issues, including the 2017 draft and backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. Tobin also mentioned that, although the club re-signed kicker Randy Bullock, Bullock will have an open competition with rookie kickers and/or veteran free agents.
  • David Culley, who worked as Andy Reid‘s wide receivers coach with the Eagles and Chiefs, agreed to become the Bills‘ new quarterbacks coach last week. Per Reid, the 60-year-old Culley still harbors aspirations of becoming a head coach, so he did not want to block his longtime assistant from moving up the coaching ladder (article via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star).
  • The current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2020, but commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners owners have expressed an interest in extending the CBA, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. However, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says that the union will not agree to an extension without renegotiation of certain key issues, though he did not specify what those issues are.

Coach/FO Notes: Caserio, Jets, Panthers

The 49ers‘ summit with Josh McDaniels occurred today, but the team did not meet with Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, whom it was curious about pairing with the 40-year-old coach. A Caserio/49ers summit — one the team requested — did not appear on the San Francisco brass’ docket, either because the Patriots denied an interview request or Caserio turned down the offer, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes.

A Patriots staffer since 2001, Caserio was a college teammate of McDaniels’ at John Carroll University. The longtime Patriots employee is signed through 2020 and interviewed for the Dolphins’ GM job in 2014. He makes approximately $2MM per year, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports, adding that a 49ers job could interest the 41-year-old personnel man.

Howe notes the 49ers are hoping to bring Caserio aboard as their GM, writing interview requests will continue to come his way due to the Patriots’ success and his current job title permitting those requests. ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, Colts VP of football operations Jimmy Raye III, Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane, Packers director of football operations Elliot Wolf and Vikings assistant GM George Paton represent the other candiates for the 49ers’ GM position. Raye will interview with the team on Sunday.

Here’s more from the NFL hiring period as the playoffs commence.

  • Bears outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt agreed to a two-year deal with the Jets to lead their outside ‘backers, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports (on Twitter). A Bears staffer for three seasons, Hurtt declined a contract extension in Chicago this week. The Bears denied Hurtt permission to interview with the Dolphins last season.
  • The Panthers do not plan to make any coaching changes despite being the latest Super Bowl loser to miss the playoffs the following season. “This is a damn good coaching staff,” Dave Gettleman said, via David Newton of “We went 17-2 last year. We didn’t get stupid overnight.” Carolina could have to deal with at least one change if DC Sean McDermott lands a head coaching job. He’s booked a second interview with the Chargers. Secondary coach Steve Wilks also will interview with the Redskins for their DC job.
  • A Kyle Shanahan defection to become a head coach would leave the Falcons with an OC vacancy, and Ian Rapoport of notes (on Twitter) quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and offensive assistant Mike McDaniel are in-house candidates to ascend to that position. Of course, Shanahan could want to take a Falcons staffer with him, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets McDaniel would be a name to watch in that event. McDaniel has worked with Shanahan with three teams, joining him on the Redskins’ and Browns’ staffs before coming to Atlanta in 2015.