When the New York Jets hired head coach Robert Saleh it was met with a lot of praise from the national media.
One of the biggest reasons for that was because of who Saleh planned on bringing with him. With the 43-year-old cutting his teeth on the defensive side of the ball his whole career, who he brought on to be the yin to his yang was an important conversation on offense.
Ultimately he decided to pluck Mike LaFleur from the San Francisco 49ers’ tree. However, the younger LaFleur almost took a different path entirely.
Mike LaFleur Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Packers’ Job
Saleh was asked when Matt LaFleur was hired by the Packers back in 2019, why didn’t the younger LaFleur go join him on his staff?
“I’m going to let him answer that one. There is a story behind that one.”
Mike LaFleur ended up speaking with the media on Thursday, October 14, and cleared things up:
“Somewhat I guess I had an opportunity and there was a discussion between us but at the same time I had an awesome job in San Francisco. [At that point] we were two years in and we felt like we were getting close. That third year a lot of things fell our way and we ended up getting to the Super Bowl which was really cool for our guys. There was a lot of unfinished stuff that needed to get done in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan is the one that gave me the opportunity in Cleveland in 2014. So was there an opportunity? Whatever it didn’t matter, I just know that it worked out for the best for everybody. It was perfect for him and the staff he hired and selfishly for me, I was very happy in San Francisco.”
Reading the tea leaves it seemed like if he wanted it Mike could have joined Matt in Green Bay. However with an ascending role in the 49ers organization and getting a rare opportunity to be a right-hand man to one of the best offensive minds in football ended up being too hard to pass up.
In the end, everything seemed to work out for Mike because, after four total years in San Francisco, he ultimately became a play caller with the Jets as part of the new Saleh staff.
Mike LaFleur (Jets) vs. Matt LaFleur (Packers)
Mike LaFleur has totally downplayed the upcoming Week 6 matchup with his older brother Matt to the media.
He has repeatedly said he hasn’t thought much about it, especially considering they have faced off six times prior in their careers.
However, despite that chatter, this one feels like a much bigger deal than any of those previous matchups.
The primary reason for that is Mike is now calling the shots as an OC, something he had never done before. While Matt is the top dog with the Packers organization so this matchup in theory would mean more because of their prominent roles on each side of the field.
At one point in time, they could have been working together and now they’re set to face off on Sunday.
One of the most fascinating storylines for this game is the intimate familiarity between all sides. Matt LaFleur and Saleh are best friends and Mike LaFleur is the younger brother.
They all know each other’s systems and Mike admitted that he talks to his brother all the time and specifically every Monday throughout the season to talk shop and life.
In those conversations, Mike says Matt will often critique his play-calling to try and help him be a better football coach. Due to their upcoming matchup this weekend that call never happened this week.
However, it raises an interesting point, who will have the advantage in this matchup? The Jets? The Packers perhaps? Or heck maybe neither?