Mike LaFleur is the Jets’ quarterbacks coach. After two years on Rex Ryan’s staff, he was hired to run the offense in 2017. But what most people don’t know is that LaFleur is ready to take over play-calling duties.
The Jets have been very busy hiring coaches for their teams. They hired Adam Gase as the next head coach of the Dolphins, a job he’s expected to get after the season. But the Jets also hired Mike LaFleur as their offensive coordinator. LaFleur is the brother of Titans’ head coach Mike Mularkey.
The New York Jets’ offence suffered a severe setback in the second half of last season. A rookie quarterback, rookie receivers and a new offensive coordinator were all factors. So far this pre-season, it’s the same story – with one significant difference: the new quarterback is the man who has to make it stop.. Read more about mike lafleur and let us know what you think.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Mike LaFleur, the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, was formerly known as “Mikey,” the squirt forced to give up the TV remote and primo sofa space when his older brother and brother’s best buddy barged into the home seeking entertainment, food, and the odd swim in the pool.
Mike LaFleur, 17, was 17 years old at the time and dreamed of a career in football. Coaches were his father and maternal grandpa, and the two living-room crashers followed in their footsteps. Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur and New York Jets coach Robert Saleh, in fact, have done pretty well for themselves.
Mike’s older brother and future employer, both graduate assistants for the Central Michigan football team, shared a no-frills apartment about a mile from the LaFleur family’s Mt. Pleasant home. They didn’t have much — no TV, a bare refrigerator, and a kitchen table with no chairs — so they hopped in the vehicle and drove to the LaFleurs in search of a better life.
“I remember going to the freezer in the garage and saying, ‘Wait a minute now, something’s missing,’” Mike and Matt’s father, Denny LaFleur, recalled. “They would often eat, leave the dishes for a short time, then depart if we weren’t there. They were simply kids waiting for their mother to tidy up.”
Denny, Mike, Kristi, and Matt LaFleur (from left) have spent their whole lives immersed in football. Photo courtesy of the LaFleur family
Mikey and Saleh formed a professional relationship after playing a lot of video games, watching the Detroit Pistons, and visiting Doozie’s Ice Cream Place. Mikey no longer has to hand up the TV remote; in fact, the reverse is true. He’s been handed command of the Jets’ offense, where he’ll be tasked with rebuilding a dormant squad and grooming rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
Mike is in his first season as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. He hasn’t called plays since 2013, when he was at Davidson College. In his lone season as the head coach, the Wildcats finished 0-11 and averaged 14 points per game.
If this seems like too much, too soon for Mike, keep in mind the following: Matt, who has a record of 26-6 in two seasons with the Packers, followed a similar route to one of the most prestigious positions in sports. It’s not always about where you’re from; it’s sometimes about who you know and how much you can learn from them.
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday in Green Bay, the LaFleur brothers will be on the same field, as the Jets and Packers will have two joint practices and a preseason game (4:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Isn’t it amazing? Despite their age gap, Matt, 41, and Mike, 34, are tough wrestlers, as shown by their intense wrestling bouts years ago at the family holiday house on Lake Michigan’s coast.
Mike profited from Matt’s rapid rise through the coaching ranks, seizing chances provided by his brother. Matt developed a bond with San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, which led to a friendship with Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, and the two became pivotal figures in Mike’s coaching growth.
Mike began hanging out in film rooms with his brother, Shanahan, and McVay around ten years ago, when all three worked for the Washington Football Team. Mike served a total of seven years as an official at Shanahan’s side, the last four as a 49ers assistant. And, of course, his elder brother has taught him a lot over the years.
“I’ve never met anybody who works as hard as he does,” Mike remarked. “He acts as though he had 25 hours in a day. He then doesn’t blink at the same moment. It’s as though he never gets tired. I’ve always wished I could work as hard as he does. I’m not sure I can. He’s wired a little differently, but I try to be like him, and it’s something I’ve always admired.”
Football was — and still is — a family affair. Denny met his wife, Kristi, a cheerleader, while playing and coaching at Central Michigan. Bob Barringer, her father, was a high school coach in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Denny would go to Kristi’s parents’ home when they first began dating, only to end up downstairs with his future father-in-law, tearing down game tape. Football taught him a lot, and he formed a close bond with her father, but it wasn’t everything.
“All I could think was, ‘All I want to do is be with her,’” Denny said.
Kristi, too, became a coach after guiding Mt. Pleasant High School’s competitive cheering team to state titles. Denny credited his wife, saying the boys learnt just as much about coaching from her as from him.
Mike used to go to Matt’s games at Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw Valley State as a kid, and eventually became the quarterback for Mt. Pleasant. Denny characterized him as a “miniature Doug Flutie,” at just 5-foot-9 and weighing 190 pounds but had a lot of heart and guts. Mike attended Elmhurst University in suburban Chicago, where he was a backup quarterback until his senior year, when he switched to safety.
Mike LaFleur’s coaching career was aided by his elder brother’s connections with other future NFL head coaches, thanks to Matt (top of picture). Photo courtesy of the LaFleur family
Mike moved on to Davidson College after three years as an offensive assistant at St. Joseph’s College (1,100 students) in Rensselaer, Indiana (1,950). It’s a “small world” tale how he got there. Paul Nichols, the head coach, contacted McVay, who was in Washington at the time, for advice. McVay and Nichols had gone to the same high school (Marist School) in Brookhaven, Georgia.
“I didn’t know Mike from Adam,” Nichols said, “but Sean said, ‘You need to speak to Mike LaFleur.’” “‘Who’s that?’ I asked. He provided me with his phone number.”
Nichols received the call and traveled from his home in Davidson, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C. for the interview. Selling him took two hours.
“‘Oh, man, this is done,’ I thought. ‘We needed you yesterday,’ says the boss “According to Nichols.
Davidson, a Football Championship Subdivision school, was in a slump at the time and hadn’t won many games, but Mike wowed with his intelligence, organization, and determination. Nichols remembered walking by Mike’s office and hearing music blasting. When he peered inside, he saw Mike, who was soaked in sweat and performing a P90X exercise while viewing game footage on a computer.
We couldn’t afford to spend any time. Mike’s career was already in high gear, and he didn’t want it to slow down any more.
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The intention was to stay at Davidson for at least another year, but that altered when the coaching staff of the Washington Football Team was disbanded following the 2013 season. Shanahan was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, and he wanted Matt LaFleur to join his staff. Matt, on the other hand, had accepted a deal to work as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, reconnecting with his old Central Michigan employer, Brian Kelly.
Shanahan inquired about Matt’s brother’s interest. He assured him that he was correct.
“All Matt said was, ‘Hey, man, pack your bags, you’re heading to Cleveland,’” Denny said. “‘What are you talking about?’ Mike asks. ‘You just accepted a job in Cleveland,’ Matt replies.”
Mike LaFleur got his start in the NFL this way.
By that time, he and Shanahan had become acquainted. Mike used to come to Washington to hang out with him, McVay, and Matt and discuss football. He spent a year in Cleveland with Shanahan before following him to the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16) and San Francisco 49ers (2017-18). (2017 to 2020).
In San Francisco, he earned Saleh’s confidence, and when the Jets hired him in January, he made Mike his first hiring. Saleh and Mike are the head coach and offensive coordinator for a team coming off a 2-14 record and in dire need of leadership and offense, seventeen years after the refrigerator raids and Madden games in the LaFleur’s living room.
“I understand he’s a young coordinator,” Saleh said, “but he’s progressed in terms of what he’s learned and the individuals he’s worked with since he began coaching.”
By the way, Saleh continues to refer to him as “Mikey.”
During practice, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur speaks with Jets fourth-round draft choice Michael Carter, who will be drafted in 2021. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
Mike LaFleur will run the Mike Shanahan version of the West Coast offense in New York, which has been one of the most successful offensive systems of this age. It’s a passing offense that emphasizes play-action and rollouts, with an outside-zone running scheme (think “stretch” play). Mike got it from Kyle Shanahan, who learned it from Saleh’s father, “Papa Shanahan.” It’s used by the 49ers, Packers, Rams, Falcons, and Cincinnati Bengals, among others.
Mike, on the other hand, hasn’t been through the system.
He’ll be starting from scratch with an offensive line that may include four rookie starters. He’s in charge of Wilson’s growth, which is critical to the franchise’s success. Greg Knapp, a passing-game expert who died last month after being hit by a driver while riding his bike, was slated to have that position. Mike is under even more stress as a result of the absence of an experienced voice in the quarterback room.
“Without a question, it’s a big task,” Denny remarked, speaking as a former coach rather than a father. “It’ll be difficult because of the uncertainty around the quarterback, as well as the fact that he’s a first-time playcaller. But, thank God, Saleh trusts in him and has given him the go-ahead.”
Mike’s friends and family believe he has the intelligence and communication skills to pull this off, and that he is well prepared for this moment. He knows his stuff, but the last time he called plays was in a 47-14 defeat to Campbell University eight years ago. The game took place in Davidson, North Carolina, not far from where the Jets will kick off the 2021 season against the Carolina Panthers on September 12th.
OC Mike LaFleur refers to Zach Wilson as a movie addict. “You better not burn this man out,” LaFleur claims his brother, Matt, advised him. “HE’S the one who wants to see this movie,” Mike says. pic.twitter.com/PoWPU4Mamc #Jets
May 27, 2021 — Rich Cimini (@RichCimini)
Former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator Todd Haley understands what LaFleur is going through as a rookie playcaller.
“Mike is extremely familiar with that system, the vocabulary, the picture of how plays are meant to flow off his mouth as the game develops,” Haley said. “However, you will need experience, therefore I believe it will be a gradual process of becoming more at ease. When I first started calling plays [with the Arizona Cardinals], the difference between the first game and the final game was night and day in terms of how much more at ease you felt with the process.”
Matt LaFleur went from Ashland University (Ohio) offensive coordinator to NFL coordinator in ten years, so this isn’t unfamiliar terrain for the LaFleur family. Mike completed the journey in eight hours, from Davidson to New York’s crucible. The Jets have a difficult task ahead of them. They’ve gone through seven coordinators in the last ten years, similar to how some individuals cycle through sweat socks. In their next employment, the majority of them had to accept demotions.
Mike may be inexperienced, but he’s prepared. He said that spending so much time with Shanahan enabled him to “truly dig inside his thinking.” He communicates with his brother on a daily basis, seeking guidance on a variety of topics, including how to deal with the 40-second clock.
Mike added, “I know I’m going to have some learning curves and things like that as we go, but I feel like I have a lot of interesting tools that I can try and rely on.”
This week, one of those resources will be on the other sideline in Green Bay. Matt couldn’t help but poke fun at his younger brother as they prepared for the fight. When asked about Wilson, he offered a favorable assessment of the Jets’ No. 2 overall selection choice, concluding with:
“He has a lot of potential; he just has to make sure he receives the right training up there. That’s the one thing I’m not sure of, so…”
Some things remain constant.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- mike lafleur
- jets offensive coordinator
- new york jets coaching staff
- ny jets record
- matthew lafleur