Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur’s brain might be a secret weapon for Rams
By Rich Hammond
THOUSAND OAKS — Given his recent past, perhaps Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur could have been given a seat of honor in each of the defensive coaches’ rooms this week.
The Rams will play Atlanta in the wild-card round of the playoffs Saturday night at the Coliseum, and few people west of the Mississippi River know the Falcons better than LaFleur, who spent the previous two seasons as their quarterbacks coach. It stands to reason that LaFleur was an extra-large asset this week.
“They study the film,” LaFleur said of the Rams’ defensive coaches after Thursday’s practice at Cal Lutheran. “They know what Atlanta’s going to do. I feel like there’s a happy medium, because you don’t want to just tell them everything. I don’t think (coaches) get too much out of that.
“Sure, there are specific things they’ve asked me, in terms of the scheme. I can’t really get into those specific (answers) that I’ll share with them. But I just kind of leave them alone. If they have a question, I’m here for them and I’ll try to do the best I can, but it’s not like I’m sitting there studying (Atlanta’s) tape.”
LaFleur’s input probably was more valuable against San Francisco, because during his two seasons in Atlanta, he worked under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who now coaches the 49ers.
Steve Sarkisian, the former USC coach, now runs the Atlanta offense, and the Falcons now seem to rely more on consistency and long drives than explosive plays, but certainly LaFleur would be able to offer some tips about individual players, such as quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones.
The Falcons’ offensive numbers are down this season, but they still feature Jones (1,444 yards), fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu (703 yards, five touchdowns) and running back Devonta Freeman, a run-pass threat who totaled 1,182 […]