When the New York Jets parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, the story from head coach Robert Saleh was that the young play-caller had coaching opportunities elsewhere around the NFL community.
Jets fans didn’t believe this for a second, but a recent report adds some truth to Saleh’s statement. The coaching link came from NFL insider Albert Breer, who tweeted that “Sean McVay has work to do on staffing and one name to keep an eye on is a familiar one — ex-Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.”
Later, NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo threw some gasoline on this rumor, reporting separately that “the Jets allowed Mike LaFleur as OC to explore other opportunities and heading to the [Los Angeles] Rams in the same role is foremost among those potential opportunities he could snag soon.” Garafolo also spoke on this possibility on “NFL GameDay” ahead of the Super Wild Card Weekend kickoff.
Matt LaFleur & Sean McVay Coaching Tie Could Benefit Mike LaFleur
After his lack of success in New York, some Jets fans were critical of Mike LaFleur riding the coattails of two well-known NFL head coaches, his older brother Matt LaFleur and San Francisco 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan.
If you had that opinion before, this report won’t change much for you going forward. Mike LaFleur never coached on the same staff as Sean McVay, but the Rams connection would come via Matt LaFleur once again. The two rising stars spent time together in Washington on Mike Shanahan’s coaching staff from 2010 through 2013.
At the time, Matt LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach and McVay was the tight ends coach (assistant role in 2010 before promotion). Later, Matt LaFleur left when Jay Gruden took over as head coach but because of McVay’s ties to Jon Gruden, he stuck around as the new Washington offensive coordinator.
In 2017, Matt LaFleur reunited with McVay in Los Angeles as his first offensive coordinator after he landed the Rams head coaching position. That partnership was a smashing success as LAR ranked first in scoring offense that year and finished 11-5, but it also only lasted one season.
Matt LaFleur decided to accept the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator role in a lateral move with more responsibility. From there, the rest is history for the Green Bay Packers HC who was hired just one year after that in 2019.
So, as you can see, Mike LaFleur and McVay may not have previously worked together but there’s certainly some familiarity — as Breer alluded. Most coaching hires stem from past relationships so this is nothing new, but Mike LaFleur’s personal ties might land him his next NFL gig.
Jets New OC Could Come From McVay’s Rams in Potential Greg Olson Hire
One popular name around the Jets community for the offensive coordinator position has been Greg Olson. The veteran OC got the most out of quarterback Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders, but he left town when Josh McDaniels took over.
Now he could be available again after one campaign with — ironically — McVay and the Rams.
After the LAR head coach announced he would not be retiring in 2023, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that “the Rams coaching staff should look different, in part because as they hung in limbo, other teams became interested.” Adding: “DL coach Eric Henderson generated some interest and is a potential DC, Senior Offensive Assistant Greg Olson is a potential OC, Raheem Morris has HC interviews.”
Naturally, this caught the attention of Jets fans on Twitter. After all, Carr could be the best available veteran QB option for Gang Green this offseason, and who better to pair him with than Olson?
Jets X-Factor’s Michael Nania averaged out Carr’s stats with Olson from 2018 through 2021. Over that span, the Raiders signal-caller threw for an average of 4,252 yards and 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions per year, as well as a 68.7 completion percentage and a 97.3 passer rating.
In terms of total yardage, Carr ranked fourth in the NFL over that four-year period with 17,010 passing yards for Las Vegas. Needless to say, this would be a major upgrade for a Jets team that had an average passer rating of 75.0 in 2022.
An Olson hire would obviously make sense if general manager Joe Douglas targets Carr based on familiarity, just like a Mike LaFleur hire syncs up with McVay’s current coaching need in Los Angeles — but boy would it be strange if these two offensive minds ended up swapping roles in 2023.