One of the biggest allures when the New York Jets hired Robert Saleh as their head coach is who he’d bring with him from San Francisco.
He had two great choices as potential offensive coordinators in Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur. Ultimately he chose the guy he had a closer relationship with thanks to familial ties with Mike’s older brother Matt LaFleur.
Thanks to his last name, good looks, and offensive prowess many believe he is inevitably destined for a future as an NFL head coach.
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Leaving the Door Open
On the second episode of ‘Flight 2022’ a docu-series providing behind-the-scenes details from the Jets 2022 offseason, the cameras brought us inside LaFleur’s home.
While cooking up some blackened fish, LaFleur talked about a key lesson he learned and how that has affected his NFL future:
“There is another thing I learned from [Jets defensive coordinator] Jeff Ulbrich. He said in Atlanta one time, if you feed my family, I’ll feed yours. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we are successful and your family is well-fed. That always kind of stuck with me, it is bigger than me and just my family, it is about the Jets. That is all that matters. I don’t care where I’ve been and I don’t care what could come next. It is about providing for my family and doing everything I can to make sure our players and coaches have the best after that.”
The NFL is a business that is about who you know. It is a brotherhood and your relationships in this league can keep you employed throughout your career.
Taking that a step further, having a well-known last name as LaFleur does, gets his foot in the door.
All he is missing now is a modicum of success and he is set up for that future as an NFL head coach.
What is often lost by Jets fans who initially feared hiring LaFleur would mean he would inevitably leave for a future head coaching gig is the necessary ingredient to making that happen.
The 35-year-old coach has to win games and score a ton of points. This is obviously good news for the Jets and their fans.
“The results will speak for themselves,” LaFleur said. “If you truly believe that and kind of bring that same mentality. Everyone is like do you want to be a head coach? I don’t really care, I want to be the best offensive coordinator I can be right now. Everything else will fall into place if we can do that.”
Score All of the Points
When you listen to the full conversation, it is clear that LaFleur wants to badly reach the rank of head coach.
However, he is focused on his current job as the offensive coordinator as he should be. LaFleur needs to excel in this role to have a chance at his dream job.
The good news is general manager Joe Douglas hooked him up with a real solid thanks to all of these juicy investments this offseason at the offensive skill positions.
The Jets were not very good in the major offensive categories in 2021:
- 26th in total yards per game (306.4)
- 28th in points per game (18.2)
- 27th in rushing yards per game (98.1)
- 20th in passing yards per game (208.3)
If they can jump to the middle of the pack in these same categories, it’ll be a quantum leap compared to the last batch of years.
All of it depends on the Jets’ second-year quarterback Zach Wilson.
It seems like the former BYU passer has ascended from learning the playbook to attempting to master it, according to coach Saleh.
LaFleur will be tied to Wilson and if he can make a leap, the talented offensive coordinator will reap the benefits.
A good guy to look at as a comparison is former Jets assistant Brian Daboll. He was tasked with molding a talented piece of clay in Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills. As he developed, Daboll earned more notoriety around the league as an offensive wizard.
That leap was a major reason he became the new head coach of the New York Giants this offseason. If Wilson can enjoy half the leap that Allen did, LaFleur will be a head coach in no time.
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