LaFleur hire leaves Mike Vrabel without an offensive coordinator

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NFL teams are looking for offensive coaches, and Monday’s decision by the Packers to hire Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur underscores it.

With the pendulum squarely pointed in the direction of the Os not the Xs (solid defensive performances from wild-card weekend notwithstanding), teams have placed great importance on having in place a staff of offensive coaches who can develop quarterbacks and hone playbooks and strategies and concepts and otherwise get the most out of the collection of 11 players charged with moving the ball and scoring the points.

The fact that the Titans, one year after hiring a defensive coach, find themselves looking for a new offensive coordinator underscores the problem that teams will face when hiring defensive coaches. If your offensive coordinator has any degree of success (and, frankly, the Titans didn’t have much last year, finishing 25th in total yards and 29th in passing yards), he’ll be gone and your defensive head coach will be stuck looking for a replacement.

Throw in offseason workout rules that prevent the coaches from meeting with the players, and a team with a new offensive coordinator (especially if it hires someone from outside the building) has a built-in disadvantage heading into the next year.

That’s where the Titans currently stand. If coach Mike Vrabel promotes someone from his current staff, it will be easier to move forward. If he hires someone new, it will become a challenge to get everyone up to speed, if the new coordinator will be doing things differently. It’s a reality of the league’s limitations on offseason contact with players, and it hurts any team with a returning head coach and not a returning offensive coordinator.

Vrabel is good enough at his job to find someone capable, and to move forward in a positive fashion. As Peter King explained on Tuesday’s PFT Live, good coaches have a constant “ready” list of potential replacements for every member of his staff, and Vrabel surely was aware that LaFleur would be gone after only a year. (Actually, LaFleur was Vrabel’s first fallback option after his top choice, Ryan Day, opted to stay at Ohio State in 2018.)

All that said, continuity remains much better than change. And as coaching staffs with defensive coaches lose their offensive coordinators, the defensive coaches will be at even greater risk of eventually being replaced by an offensive coach who won’t have that same problem.

13 responses to “LaFleur hire leaves Mike Vrabel without an offensive coordinator

  1. Just promote Pat O’Hara the QB coach. That way they don’t have to change the system too much, and Pat has worked with Vrabel for several seasons now, so obviously they’re on the same page. Bound to be an improvement on the poor quality work that lafleur produced last season.

  2. No worries. Vrabel will certainly have a easier time finding a OC because coaches want to be in Nashville and on his staff.

    The same can not be said for the Vikings and Mike Zimmer. There is no decent OC who wants to go to the NFL’s dumpster fire franchise in Minnesota and work for the 62 yr old lame duck head coach Mike Zimmer.

  3. I mean people love to take things out of context to make a point. His QB was Blaine Gabbert for big chunks of the season. What would you have expected the numbers to be. At the end of the day, the HC’s job is to have enough relationships that he can hire the next guy on his list and have success. Right now, his first two choices for OC are now the Packer HC and the Ohio State HC. So the guy at least is identifying the right people to work for him.

  4. realfootballfan says:
    January 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    “So the guy at least is identifying the right people to work for him.”

    excellent point

  5. @realfootballfan….. (and it wasn’t easy typing those words) the Titans averaged 24 points per 60 minutes with Gabbert at QB last season, vs. 18 points per 60 with Mariota, under LaFleur’s “co-ordinating”. The reason they gave for firing Mularkey and Robiskie was that they “weren’t maximizing Mariota’s potential”. Both of the previous two seasons under those two the team scored more points than they did with the young “offensive whiz” LaFleur.

  6. nathanp2013 says:
    January 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm
    26th ranked offense… wouldn’t say they had much of an OC before that.


    Good thing the Vikings aren’t looking for an OC?

    Oh wait….

    That job will be a tough hire until Zimmer is gone.

  7. ariani1985 says:
    January 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm
    After the pack dropped the ball on McDaniels its rippling effect on the league is showing!


    Funny how Mcdaniels wants no part of a HC job now that the GB position is filled.

    But the purple internet crusaders all said no one will work with Rodgers, and no one wants to Coach in GB.

    How’s your OC search going???

  8. Andrwken – as for the Vikings OC search their contract with Stefanski literally expires today. They didn’t get to start their coaching search over a month ago like Green Bay.

  9. RMoss84HOF says:
    January 8, 2019 at 9:26 pm
    Andrwken – as for the Vikings OC search their contract with Stefanski literally expires today. They didn’t get to start their coaching search over a month ago like Green Bay.


    Well two head coach interviews already means Zimmer won’t consider him loyal enough. I would imagine he already feels the Zimmer blade in his back and wants out.

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