Mike LaFleur won’t officially see the Los Angeles Rams in action until 2023 minicamp, but he’s already in awe of one Ram.
Granted, it’s a Rams player he’s seen plenty of times before.
Speaking with the L.A. media for the first time in his hire as the new offensive coordinator on Tuesday, February 7, LaFleur revealed the one Rams player he’s long been in awe of: Quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“Matthew, even in his time in Detroit, you’d be in awe at a lot of the stuff that he can accomplish on that field,” LaFleur told reporters.
LaFleur Energized for New Relationship Between Him & QB
LaFleur continued to dive into how Stafford won him over.
“Even when he was in Detroit, just knowing what his teammates and the coaches felt about that guy, and then being able to actually get a little bit more insight when he came here, just by again knowing Raheem (Morris), knowing Sean and how highly regarded they feel of Matthew, so it’s going to be fun,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur already shares one thing in common with his new QB: They’re the same age at 35 years. Though Stafford recently celebrated a birthday and LaFleur will turn 36 on March 3. But even as the older one and being the new coordinator, LaFleur feels like he’s in a position where he won’t have to be the one constantly teaching his signal-caller the game.
“A lot of times, coaches can teach players a lot of things but in more instances, players can teach coaches a lot of things too,” LaFleur said. “So I’m excited to get working with him, learn from him, and whatever I can provide for him, I’m going to do. I can’t wait to start building that relationship with him.”
LaFleur Reveals if He’ll Call Plays
But one big question that was asked: Will LaFleur be the one who calls the offense in his first crack with the Rams? Or will that title of play caller remain with head coach Sean McVay?
LaFleur, though, reminded the media that he’s been in a situation where he wasn’t the calling the formations and adjustments — even when he was responsible for half of the offense.
“For the years in San Francisco before that obviously (I) didn’t call the plays,” LaFleur said. “Honestly, it’s not even really on my mind at all right now.”
That was when he served as passing game coordinator under Kyle Shanahan and had names like Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert — who were all part of LaFleur’s responsibilities in his coaching position with the 49ers.
Again, his focus is on making sure the coaching staff is finalized by getting “the right people on this offensive staff” which includes naming an offensive line coach, which is still a position that needs to be filled on the 2023 Rams.
“And then let’s get to know these players. Let’s figure out what our roster’s gonna be moving forward,” he added. “And then let’s get the foundation of what this 2023 Rams offense is gonna be.”
But for LaFleur, the 2009 No. 1 draft pick Stafford officially becomes the third top three draft pick he’ll get to work with at quarterback. Last year, LaFleur had Zach Wilson the former No. 2 pick of the 2021 draft. Then in 2015 and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons, he worked with former No. 3 overall pick Matt Ryan.