The NFL coaching ranks is a unique professional fraternity where at one point or another it seems that the vast majority of current coaches will cross paths with each other. In many instances, the relationships built inside this fraternity lead to the development of coaching staffs for each NFL franchise and when a head coach leaves a team, he usually will take the bulk of “his” coaching entourage with him to his next destination.
The 2021 New York Jets are not any different in that sense as nearly the entire coaching staff is built around those familiar with new head coach Robert Saleh. This symbiotic relationship is truly seen in Saleh’s hiring of fellow traveler Mike LaFleur as the Jets new offensive coordinator (OC.) Mike LaFleur brings his own resume with him to the Jets and he has certainly “checked the boxes’ to move to a coordinator’s position within the NFL coaching ranks.
Mike LaFleur spent his college playing career at Elmhurst College where he was the starting QB from 2006 to 2007 and in 2008 LaFleur switched over to playing safety. LaFleur finished up his college playing days as a team captain and upon graduation began his climb through the college coaching ranks. Moving from offensive assistant positions at Elmhurst and Saint Josephs, LaFleur found himself as an offensive coordinator at Davidson for the 2013 season. It is said that opportunity only knocks once and in LaFleur’s case that knock came in the form of the Cleveland Browns in 2014. Hired as an offensive intern under OC Kyle Shanahan, LaFleur began his journey into the NFL coaching fraternity and moving on with Shanahan to the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff solidified LaFleur’s entrace into this elite level of football coaching. Again moving on with Kyle Shanahan as became the 49er’s new head coach in 2017, Mike LaFleur developed himself as a capable passing game coordinator. While in San Francisco, LaFleur’s offensive contributions paid off in the form of the 49er’s top ten in NFL scoring from 2018-2020 (24.9 points per game) and total offense (370.6 yards per game.) As passing game coordinator, LaFleur also played a large role in developing George Kittle as a true receiving threat at TE where he set a single season TE receivng yards record (1,377 yards.)
Mike LaFleur also has developed a talent for grooming and building up a strong WR corps in the 49er’s organization. from 2018 to 2020, LaFleur saw three rookie WR’s in the NFL top ten and in 2019 the 49er’s tied an NFL record with 13 different players scoring receiving TD’s. Given LaFleur’s relationship with Robert Saleh while both were moving up the coaching ranks, the hope for the Jets this season is that this new, dynamic and successful staff will be able to infuse a new level of enthusiasm combined with technical confidence to a moribund offense and across the board within the Jets organization. As we move closer to training camp, the expectations for the Jets this season should be arguably higher than they have been in years with the new talent on the field and on the sidelines.