The Jets finally made the right hire.
After the horrid tenure of Adam Gase, the collective fanbase was petrified after reports had come out that the team may be interested in former Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson. But the Jets avoided weeks of social media slander, hiring San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their next head coach.
With every head coach comes an offensive coordinator and the Jets hired Mike LaFleur, one of the game’s rising stars, to be their next play-caller.
LaFleur, who is the brother of Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur, has spent the past three seasons as the passing game coordinator in San Francisco and has become a favorite of Kyle Shannahan’s.
The elder LaFleur did attempt to interview his younger brother to take the same position in Green Bay that he took a year later with the Jets, but Shannahan blocked the interview without hesitation.
“I was never tempted,” Shannahan said of blocking the interview in 2019. “But Mike’s my coordinator, and he does a hell of a job. He’s a really talented guy, and we put a lot of work together. I feel very fortunate to have him this year, and I plan on it staying that way until he gets a head coach job.”
Unfortunately for Shannahan and the 49ers, the NFL stopped allowing franchises to block assistant coaches from getting promotions into coaching roles this season, meaning there was nothing he could do to stop LaFleur from following Saleh to East Rutherford, New Jersey.
LaFleur may not have departed San Francisco for a head coaching gig, but that doesn’t mean it will be long until he gets an opportunity.
The Jets have been a toxic mess for years and there has been no bigger mess in New York sports than their offense.
The whole purpose of hiring Gase for the Jets was to fix their offensive issue, but two seasons later, Gase is gone and former third overall pick Sam Darnold is bordering on bust status and LaFleur is the one instructed with resurrecting his career.
If LaFleur can salvage Darnold and maybe even make him worth a top-five selection, he will be the talk of the league, especially since he is doing it in New York.
Darnold’s got above-average mobility and good arm-talent, the tools are there for him to be a quality NFL quarterback, he just needs the proper mentorship. There is also a good chance that LaFleur will bring the west-coast offense he helped deploy in San Francisco to New York. An offense that is a perfect fit for Darnold’s natural gifts and can take him to the next level.
The effort that Shannahan took to keep LaFleur in San Francisco speaks volumes of his intelligence and potential. As does the fact that LaFleuer’s hire was reported within minutes of Saleh’s, meaning he most likely thought so highly of LaFleur that he made him part of a “package deal.”
If LaFleur lives up to the potential that both Shannahan and Saleh seem to think that he has and fixes the disaster that has been the New York Jets offense, it won’t be too long until some team makes him their head coach.