INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur worked together in three different NFL cities.
Along the way, the NFL coaches tutored some successful quarterbacks in some potent offenses.
Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, believe LaFleur is well prepared for his biggest challenge to date – offensive coordinator, and play caller, with the Tennessee Titans.
“I am real happy for Matt,” Shanahan said on Thursday from the NFL Combine. “He has been ready for a long time. He was with me I think eight or nine years, so he has been ready for a while.
“Now he is on his own and he has earned this opportunity and I think Tennessee got a great coordinator and he’ll do a hell of a job.”LaFleur served as offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams last season. He was named new offensive coordinator of the Titans in January under head coach Mike Vrabel.
With the Titans, LaFleur will call plays while working with quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Prior to joining the Rams, LaFleur served as Matt Ryan’s QBs coach for two seasons with the Falcons, when Shanahan was offensive coordinator 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, when Shanahan was the team’s offensive coordinator. Shanahan and LaFleur and 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).
Prior to that, Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Texans from 2008-09, when LaFleur was an offensive quality control coach.Shanahan and LaFleur remain close friends. He offered his buddy some advice as he takes on play-calling duties for the first time.
“I guess it is fun at first, a lot of fun,” Shanahan said. “And then you start to learn how much everyone questions you and stuff and you just have to realize you can’t be a pleaser, you can’t make everyone happy. You just have to go with your gut. I always tell people the only time you should be upset is if you call something you don’t feel is right.
“If you work at it all week and put in the time, it is your job and it is what you are paid to do and you have to do what you believe is right and if doesn’t work just be confident and proud of yourself that you did what was right and you didn’t fall into the pressure and just live with the consequences.”