While the Los Angeles Rams may be watching the playoffs from home, they can take solace in the fact that one of their own has a chance to make the trip to Super Bowl LIV in Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur.
LaFleur had served as the offensive coordinator in Los Angeles during the first year of head coach Sean McVay’s tenure in 2017. He played an integral part his helping turn the fortunes around of both this franchise and the development of quarterback Jared Goff.
Following his year with the Rams, he called plays as offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans before becoming the head coach of the Packers, who are now one win away from a Super Bowl berth. It seems Goff is hardly surprised by how well LaFleur has done in his first year as head coach.
Goff shared some heavy praise for the role LaFleur played during his progression into a franchise quarterback, via Gary Klein of the L.A. Times:
“In that first year, when I was still learning the offense,” Goff said, “I could ask him some dumb questions and you wouldn’t feel stupid about it.”
Goff added that LaFleur has a knack for drawing out the strengths of his players:
“He made me such a better player challenging me in that way and really showing me what I’m capable of in certain instances,” said Goff, who earned the first of consecutive Pro Bowl selections in 2017.
LaFleur has certainly come a long way in a very short time since his days mentoring Goff. He enjoyed a successful stint in Los Angeles, however, he was ready to take on a bigger role and interviewed for the head coaching vacancy in Tennessee. Although he did not get the job, he still opted to join the team since it offered him the opportunity to serve as their primary play-caller.
LaFleur experienced some regression after the Titans went 9-7 with one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Fortunately, that did not prevent the Packers from taking a chance on him and their decision has already paid huge dividends.
Just like he did in Los Angeles, LaFleur has helped to spark quite the resurgence in Green Bay by finishing the 2019 NFL season with a 13-3 record after this team opted to usher in some significant changes in the offseason due to a disappointing 2018 campaign. He now faces his biggest challenge yet taking on a former NFC West rival in the San Francisco 49ers, who beat the Rams twice in the regular season.