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Sean McVay: Titans OC Matt LaFleur a Good Fit With Mariota

Posted Feb 4, 2018

Rams head coach Sean McVay believes new Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, formerly with the Rams, will be a good fit for quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Titans.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Marcus Mariota is in good hands with new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

That’s according to Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, who allowed LaFleur an opportunity to work with the Titans, and the team’s fourth-year quarterback.

McVay believes LaFleur and Mariota are a nice fit from a personality standpoint, and he believes his ideas and approach will help him elevate his game.

“I think he’ll be great,” McVay said of LaFleur. “When I see Marcus from afar, (he has) kind of an even-keel demeanor, which I think serves you well as a quarterback, and Matt is very similar. They’ll be on the same page, but I think the best thing about Matt is, he’s going to figure out what Marcus feels most comfortable with, and do that.

“He is not going to put him in situations he doesn’t feel comfortable with, and that is what good coaches do. Matt is an excellent coach, and he's excited about the opportunity he has to lead that offense.”

McVay made his comments on Saturday night on the red carpet of the NFL Honors. A few hours later, McVay was named coach of the year in the NFL for the 2017 season. The 32-year-old McVay helped turn the Rams around last season, with a high-flying offense led by quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley.

LaFleur served as offensive coordinator with the Rams last season. He was named new offensive coordinator of the Titans last week. He’d previously interviewed for the head-coaching position with the Titans before the team hired Mike Vrabel.

“Matt is a great coach,” McVay said. “It is a big loss for us, but we’re confident in the guys stepping up. Matt is a great teacher, a great leader, a great motivator. I think he sees the game from the quarterback’s standpoint just from his history of playing.

“He’ll do an excellent job putting guys in the right spot. I know he is excited about filling out the rest of the staff with coach Vrabel, and figuring out how they can bring out the best in those players but I think him and Marcus will work very well together.”

LaFleur, who played quarterback at Saginaw Valley State, has a great track record with quarterbacks, and he’s been involved with some potent offenses.

The Rams led the NFL in scoring in 2017, averaging 29.9 points per game. In his first season with the Rams, LaFleur was instrumental in Goff’s development. Goff threw for 3,804 yards with 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2017 en route to reaching the Pro Bowl. Gurley led the NFL in scrimmage yards (2,093) in 2017, was second in rushing yards (1,305).

Prior to joining the Rams, LaFleur served as quarterback Matt Ryan’s QBs coach for two seasons with the Falcons. Ryan was named NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns for a 117.1 quarterback rating in 2016.

LaFleur coached quarterbacks for the Redskins from 2010-2013, and he worked in Washington with QB Robert Griffin III, who became the first Redskins rookie quarterback selected to the Pro Bowl and led the team to its first NFC East title in 13 years. Under LaFleur, Griffin established Redskins rookie records in pass completions (258), passing yards (3,200), passing touchdowns (20) and rushing yards by a quarterback (815).

Mariota, heading into his fourth NFL season, has already thrown for 9,476 yards with 58 touchdowns and just 34 interceptions. He’s coming off a season when he threw a career-high 15 interceptions, with 13 touchdowns, while posting the lowest passer rating (79.3) of his career,  however.

LaFleur will be calling plays for the first time in 2018 – McVay called plays for L.A. in 2017.

McVay said LaFleur is ready for the next step. Per NFL rules, McVay didn’t have to allow LaFleur the chance to leave for another team. When asked why he was so gracious, he smiled.

“I was too nice,” McVay said. “It was something – you want to demonstrate you are invested in helping people grow, and that’s the only reason I have been so fortunate to get to the role where I’m at, is because people were willing to give me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“Matt is a close friend and he did such a good job for us that I want to do right by him. I think I might regret it.”