PFT 2019 storyline No. 19: Which young offensive coach will live up to the hype?

Getty Images

The 2019 hiring cycle saw the pendulum swing sharply in the direction of Sean McVay. More specifically, anyone who has worked with him, worked for him, and/or shared an elevator with him.

Three of eight head-coaching jobs went to coaches with McVay connections, sort of. Two were direct — new Packers coach Matt LaFleur and new Bengals coach Zac Taylor worked for McVay in L.A. One was tenuous, but nevertheless mentioned by the Cardinals when hiring Kliff Kingsbury: He and McVay are friends.

So which of them will live up to the hype? LaFleur arguably has the best team, but also the toughest task of getting through to a locker room dominated by the presence of Aaron Rodgers. Taylor has low expectations as he takes over a team that has a feel of irrelevance and mediocrity; the low bar actually gives him a great chance to overachieve, since no one expects much from the Bengals.

Then there’s Kingsbury, who is essentially a crapshoot with the Cardinals. He wanted quarterback Kyler Murray, and Kingsbury got him. Now, the guy who was fired for not being good enoug in a so-so college conference has to navigate the toughest division in football.

With defensive-minded Vic Fangio getting his first head-coaching job at age 60 in Denver, the Broncos’ performance relative to Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Arizona will become a great litmus test for the new infatuation with young offensive minds. Depending on how things go this season, the pendulum could swing sharply in the other direction by January.

61 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 19: Which young offensive coach will live up to the hype?

  1. The Lafleur hire was made by Rodgers. A young offensive mind with zero track record managing a team. Barely any experience running a pro offense. Tennessee last year doesn’t count. This is Rodgers offense now. Power struggle days are over. You know they will compete. Will Aaron having full say push the team over the top offensively. That’s the real question. Lafleur is a puppet

  2. I do not know why I am saying this, but my gut (not logic) tells me that Kingsbury with Murray will greatly improve the Cardinals.

  3. You missed Shanahan, whose 2018 was nullified by ACLs to his QB and RB. None of those you named will do well – but LaFluer will last longest so long as he does what Rodgers says on the Pack’s way to another not-quite-there year. I say Shanahan because Hoyer, in helping Pats D prepare for SB LIII, totally exposed McVay as essentially running Shanahan’s offense at Rams. Given 2018 was a lost year at 9ers, I’d say Shanahan with a healthy JimmyG is the most likely offensive HC under 40 to (belatedly) live up to hype in 2019. But will 49ers’ D also be improved enough not to hold them back? Will Bosa & Ford give them an EDGE??

  4. The Sean McVay coaching tree is out of control for a coach who inherited the most underachieving team in football besides the Browns.

    Multiple high 1st round picks went from busts to showing why they were picked so high. The Rams were loaded with talent and just needed a competent coach to compete. Not Jeff (1 loss from most losses in coaching history) Fisher.

    Nobody else is walking into such great situation talent wise outside of Fred Kitchens in Cleveland.

    Some of these older coaches who only get jobs because they’ve been around for 20-30 years needed to go, no question other than the Rams when McVay got hired and the Browns these other teams have talent issues.

    Kingsbury has possibly the best long term outlook if he is competant because he has a young franchise QB to develop and a rebuilding team but 2019 is going to result in another high draft pick.

    The Packers are intriguing but Rodgers seems committed to playing hero ball which means plenty of Aaron Rodgers highlights and passive aggressive comments when they fail to make the playoffs.

    The Bengals have Andy Dalton but also had another coach who was coasting, thinking he had a lifetime job. Unless Andy Dalton improves this coach will last 3 years.

  5. Yeah. I think McVay is one in a trillion. You don’t find the next McVay by ticking the boxes of “young” and “offensive”

  6. Offense sells tickets, Defense wins championships. However, there still needs to be balance between the two to have a truly successful team.

  7. After what Belichick did to McVay in the Super Bowl, those guys better hope that they have something different to bring to the table. Other teams have had all offseason to learn the Rams system and how the Patriots neutered it.

  8. I’ve never been able to understand the media and fan’s misguided fascination with the ties between Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur.
    Though it’s true the two coached together for 4 years in Washington, and McVay tapped LaFleur to be his OC after he got the Head Coaching gig in L.A., Matt has honestly had a much more long-standing friendship and coaching partner in Kyle Shanahan.

    Kyle and Matt met and began coaching together in Houston for the Texans in 2008, where they developed a close working relationship.
    In 2010, the two moved on to Washington once Kyle’s father, Mike, was hired as the Redskins’ Head Coach.
    They would eventually coach together again in Atlanta when Kyle got the OC job and Matt was hired as Quarterbacks Coach where he helped Matt Ryan to his first and only MVP season in 2016.

    Though it’s true that Matt LaFleur’s youth has led to some people’s uncertainty, he’s actually had a varied coaching career in both college and the pros that has spanned 16 years.
    He’s been described as tenacious, detail oriented, and innovative by former colleagues and NFL insiders.
    The only real knock against Matt, and it’s a big one, is his lack of Head Coaching experience.
    He has none, and in Green Bay, he’s facing a steep learning curve.

    The Packers made LaFleur the first Head Coaching hire of the NFL’s offseason.
    They held as many as 11 formal interviews with a number of deserving and qualified candidates and considered at least 6 others for the job.
    Matt LaFleur was the only one they truly felt comfortable with moving forward.
    Let’s hope they were correct, they’ve literally got fans around the world watching and waiting on the answer.

  9. “Offense sells tickets, Defense wins championships. However, there still needs to be balance between the two to have a truly successful team.”

    This is very true and since this years Packers will finally have a defense to be proud of to protect the leads their run first offense will garner its a good bet their young new coach will be the most successful.

  10. LaFleur and McVay are very close friends and LaFleur was OC under McVay for one year, but LaFleur is more a part of the Shanahan “coaching tree” than any other.

    We will see which “young” head coach has the most success. I like the direction LaFleur has the offense going in, I also like the chances of the defense being quite good in the 2nd year under Pettine.

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  11. I think a lot of crow is going to be eaten at the end of the season in regards to Rodgers/LeFleur. I think/hope Rodgers antics last year were more a result of the strained relationship with MM and his stale, predictable offense.

  12. The obvious answer for the short term is the Packers. On paper, they’ve vastly improved most perceived weaknesses while adding juice to an offense that had clearly gotten stale.

    We’ll have to see that translate to the field, but playing the Lions and Vikings twice means probably 5 wins in the division (figuring that the Packers split the Bears games).

    The Cards might not win 5 games total. The Bengals face Pittsburgh twice, so that’s good, but probably won’t pick up 1 win against the browns and ravens.

  13. LaFleur is definitely under the most pressure because of the unrealistic expectations of the fans. They ran off a Super Bowl-winning head coach so they could get a guy with no track record at all. I expect they’ll be calling for his head if they don’t win 10 games.

  14. LaFleur has the best chance of doing well because he has Aaron Rodgers. He will also benefit from the experience of Rodgers when he’s faced with any newbie-coach dilemmas. Win-win.

  15. I’m glad to see Vikings fans weigh in here; They’ve had 9 head coaches, none of whom knew what it meant to be truly successful, yet they believe all of them were geniuses.

    So…whatever their opinion is, the correct answer is the opposite.

  16. tokyosandblaster says:
    July 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I’m glad to see Vikings fans weigh in here; They’ve had 9 head coaches, none of whom knew what it meant to be truly successful, yet they believe all of them were geniuses.
    __________

    I doubt you could find any Viking fan who thought Les Steckel was a genius. And no one is pining for the return of Mike Tice, Brad Childress, or Leslie Frazier. We are quite fond of Hall of Famer Bud Grant, though.

  17. I feel like Zac Taylor could live up to the hype, or at least he could surprise everyone. His offensive unit is full of veterans who already have chemistry together, and the defense, while a mess at linebacker, has some solid players.

    The Bengals aren’t a full rebuild like Arizona, and they don’t have the pressure of Green Bay. On top of that, Taylor is employed by an owner who will let him figure it out instead of firing coaches at will. He mainly has to content with a strong AFC North. On the upside, the division is as even as its been in a while. I’m not saying the Bengals will win it, but it seems like if they finish out of the top 10 in the draft order they would have blown out every experts’ prediction.

  18. No one knows if LeFleur is the alpha male who will take charge or if he gives in to Rodgers. If he does the later I think he loses the team in the long run. Rodgers had a terrible year last year and the one before wasnt any better. His star is tarnished and LeFluer needs to reshape his talents to fit his scheme.
    To make matters worse, there are no easy peasy games this year. Their schedule is brutal and the weak teams from last year are much improved now and no push over. I see the Pack at 5-11 this season.

  19. Calls for Lefluer’s head after a 1 and 3 start for GB and waxing nostalgia about the MM era…

  20. Alan Light says:
    July 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm
    Calls for Lefluer’s head after a 1 and 3 start for GB and waxing nostalgia about the MM era…

    —-

    That might be true. I guess we’ll be able to take solace in watching the Vikings fire Zimmer after the vikes go 0-4, though.

  21. Traditionally Green Bay’s rookie head coaches have not done well. Only one in their entire history has had a winning record in his first season. I see no reason to expect anthing different this year.

  22. cheeseisfattening says:
    July 5, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Traditionally Green Bay’s rookie head coaches have not done well. Only one in their entire history has had a winning record in his first season. I see no reason to expect anthing different this year.
    ___________

    Well, that is a completely stupid way to look at this situation, as one has absolutely nothing to do with the others.
    What bearing on earth would Phil Bengston’s ‘68 debut season have on Matt LaFleur in 2019?
    Barney Logic at its finest.

    At least we have some idea what the Vikings will do again this coming year, especially after 5 seasons with Mike Zimmer’s proven track record of underachieving. But I digress.

  23. I was skeptical when the Bengals hired Zack Taylor but so far he’s been impressive and looks to be in complete control of everything around the team. His biggest problem is the Bengals have a bad offensive line and have lost two of their best OL before training camp even starts.

  24. I say Shanahan because Hoyer, in helping Pats D prepare for SB LIII, totally exposed McVay as essentially running Shanahan’s offense at Rams.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Sean McVay, age 24 and Matt LaFleur, age 31, joined the Shanahans’ Redskins in 2010, and worked for them for four seasons. So of course they were heavily influenced moving forward. How on earth do the New England Patriots get worked into this and so many other stories that have nothing to do with them? I sense a sad defensiveness.

  25. Commenters throw shade at McVay yet love on Shanny. Didn’t both get humiliated in a SB? Kyle shouldn’t even qualify for the conversation. Only ESPN still hyped the dude after the crap seasons playing and drafting he’s has in SF. I get it that fans WANT badly for SF to be relevant, but c’mon; they basically get a pass for running Hardluck out of the NFL and Bristol acts as though it’s a given that Shanny be better than Hardluck “if only those rock stars weren’t getting injured every year!” That’s where I first heard the “Toughest Division in Football” bs. LOL

  26. “Have you seen the Packers WR’s depth chart?”

    =====

    Yes, and the Packers have a good depth at WR.

    Do you know what depth means? The Vikings have the worst WR depth in the NFL. Please name the 3 Vikings starting WR’s and then name the Vikings depth at WR. Show us your amazing depth at WR.

    Packers WR Roster:

    Starters:

    Davante Adams

    Geronimo Allison

    Marquez Valdes-Scantling

    Depth:

    Equanimeous St. Brown

    Jake Kumerow

    J’Mon Moore

    Trevor Davis

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  27. Interestingly, Geronimo Allison’s injury derailed a season in which he was on pace for 76 receptions and 1200 yards.

    Obviously you don’t know if those numbers would have held true all year.

    But he was incredibly consistent in every game.

    If he hadn’t gotten injured and continued to play that consistently, he and Davante Adams would have outgained their Vikings counterparts by 200 yards.

    Don’t you think this narrative that the Packers don’t have good side receivers is a little silly?

    Or do you think it’s silly of me to think that Allison is good based on his production before injuries?

    If so, tell me your thoughts on Dalvin Cook.

  28. cheeseisfattening says:
    July 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm
    LaFleur arguably has the best team,
    ___
    Best “team” compared to what? I mean have you seen the Packer’s WR depth chart?
    *********
    You do realize that the Packer backup receivers gained more yards than the Vikings backups, if we’re just talking about depth here.
    Oh wait, the Packers whole receiving corps. gained more yards than the entire Viking receiving corps. too.
    3,106 > 2,989
    Hmm……that must really suck when that blows up in your face.

  29. None will live up to it. Rodgers is going to eat LaFleur for lunch. Bengal fans are going to be reminded what life was like when Marvin Lewis wasn’t around to put lipstick on Mike Brown’s pig. Kingsbury will be back in college after 2 years

  30. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    July 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm
    tokyosandblaster says:
    July 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I’m glad to see Vikings fans weigh in here; They’ve had 9 head coaches, none of whom knew what it meant to be truly successful, yet they believe all of them were geniuses.
    __________

    I doubt you could find any Viking fan who thought Les Steckel was a genius. And no one is pining for the return of Mike Tice, Brad Childress, or Leslie Frazier. We are quite fond of Hall of Famer Bud Grant, though.

    \\\\

    You were on board when they were in place though.

    Hindsight being your strength in this…

  31. Who wants to watch qbs run around and throw to receivers like there is the back yard. There are two sides to the ball. NFL has been going down hill for years. These qbs make all the money and you can’t touch them

  32. Outpost31 says:
    July 6, 2019 at 9:23 am
    cheeseisfattening says:
    July 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm
    LaFleur arguably has the best team,
    ___
    Best “team” compared to what? I mean have you seen the Packer’s WR depth chart?
    *********
    You do realize that the Packer backup receivers gained more yards than the Vikings backups, if we’re just talking about depth here.
    Oh wait, the Packers whole receiving corps. gained more yards than the entire Viking receiving corps. too.
    3,106 > 2,989
    Hmm……that must really suck when that blows up in your face
    _____
    That might mean something IF I was talking about last year’s depth chart. Of course I mean this year’s depth chart. Dopey fan base needs to have the obvious explained to them

  33. Last year, the Vikings went 8-7-1 with their depth chart.

    This year, the Vikings expect improvement with the same depth chart.

    I play the lottery sometimes.

    Same odds.

  34. cheeseisfattening says:
    July 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    That might mean something IF I was talking about last year’s depth chart. Of course I mean this year’s depth chart. Dopey fan base needs to have the obvious explained to them
    **************
    I’m sorry, you got me.
    So, who did the Vikings add that’s going to tilt the scales in their favor?
    Please, illuminate us with your wisdom.
    Is Treadslow going to finally figure it out in year 4?
    Wow! Is it really year 4 for him? Times sure flies when you suck.
    Is Chad Beebe going to replicate any of his father’s past success.
    Doubtful. His father is a Super Bowl Champion.
    Green Bay had three rookie receivers who were thrown into the fire a lot sooner than anyone wanted them to.
    It was an unenviable situation
    But, now that on-field experience will be something they can build on.
    And I’m quite sure Green Bay’s depth will exceed whatever gaggle of pass catchers Kubiak puts forward.
    I certainly hope that was obviously explained to you.

  35. Aldrick Robinson is no longer on the team and Chad Bebe was on the practice squad most of last year so it’s impossible the Vikings will have the same depth chart at WR as last year.

    Do you ever get tired of being wrong on here waffle?

    Of course just because there is a change does not mean I’m declaring it an improvement in the off-season before any games are played because I’m not a Packer fan.

  36. As opposed to thinking Chad Beebe is going to the hall of fame.

    I see.

    Why not change screen names. I haven’t seen the Dahmer one in a few days. That one really brings out your idiocy.

  37. tokyosandblaster says:
    July 6, 2019 at 5:16 pm
    As opposed to thinking Chad Beebe is going to the hall of fame.

    I see.

    Why not change screen names. I haven’t seen the Dahmer one in a few days. That one really brings out your idiocy.


    Those are your things waffe not mine.

    0 0 Rate This

  38. Lol. Ok. Well, I guess add the delusion that I’m waffle to your ever-growing list of delusions. You were actually caught answering under a different screen name and everyone knows it.

    Chad Beebe.

    Let’s grow up a bit here.

  39. Hold on, I am still waiting for the Vikings WR depth chart that someone has been claiming to be so superior to the Packers WR corp to be posted.

    I posted THIS YEARS Packers WR’s, both starters and their depth.

    Now please post the Vikings 3 starting WR’s and then post their incredible depth at WR.

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  40. Every team looking for the next Todd McVay should maybe think about being careful what they wish for. Dude got owned badly in the biggest game of his life and he may not get there again for quite awhile, if ever.

  41. Here is si’s wr rankings (top 4 projected) Yes these things are off-season fluff but free likes them a lot.

    3. Minnesota Vikings ($25.4 / $191.2 million)

    Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Chad Beebe

    I would make a comment like, man if they could only get more out of Treadwell, but how many targets are there going around? Both Thielen and Diggs are incredibly productive and hover at the 70% catch mark.

    17. Green Bay Packers ($18.1 / $181.3 million)

    Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown

    A unit full of interesting developmental players. Aaron Rodgers has a lot to do with pulling them up early, but the Packers could use a little more juice here.

  42. Wait, wheres the Vikings WR depth chart? Top 4 projected is irrelevant here. We need to see the great Vikings depth at WR you said was so much better than the Packers WR depth.

    You are afraid to list the 7 top WR’s on the Vikings roster? I would be embarrassed too if I were you. Stop saying the Vikings depth is better than the Packers then, because it is a joke to say it and you know that.

    You listed some money list from SI you found? What does that have to do with a WR “depth chart?”

    Too funny. Have a great night!

    #TitleTown

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  43. “Once you get beyond Diggs and Thielen on the depth chart, the cupboard is a bit bare. As we talked about earlier this week, Treadwell currently checks in as the #3 receiver, but that’s almost as much by default as anything else. He’s going to have plenty of competition for that spot, and while his contract might make him prohibitive to cut right now, there’s no guarantee he’s going to get snaps for the Vikings this season.

    The battle for the #3 wide receiver spot for the Vikings is going to be one of the more interesting battles of training camp. If the Vikings are going to live up to this ranking going forward, they’re going to need someone to step up behind their two stars and establish themselves as a credible threat.“

    Your first two wide receivers are good. That ranking is because of them.

    Not because of Chad Beebe.

    Now check in to the QBs. See where the two teams rank that way. Oh, and then look at overall offense.

    From PFF:

    23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
    Out of the teams in this bottom-third of the list, the Vikings are likely the most surprising to many. They have one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league in Kirk Cousins and arguably the best one-two wide receiver punch in the NFL in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Despite that, they come in at just 23rd on the list.

  44. Depth charts are 1-5 or 6 (8 if you’re the Packer’s) and are not just the non starters.

    The Vikings currently have 11 wrs on their roster. Unlike you I don’t claim to know it’s current order and who will win out. I listed what others think of the team’s wrs and overall depth top to bottom Packer’s are considered not good.

  45. And the Vikings QB is considered not good.

    And the Vikings offensive line is considered not good.

    What’s your point?

    The Vikings were barely above five hundred and didn’t improve in any meaningful way.

    Chad flippin Beebe was your response.

    As I said: grow up.

  46. Chad babe was my answer to your claim the Vikings recivers were unchanged from last year nothing else. My only other claim is the Packers WRs are not thought of well.
    Maybe reread posts before comenting so you don’t seem so foolish.

  47. Since the Vikings fan is too ashamed to post a Vikings dept chart for WR position, I will help them out.

    I listed 7 WR’s(Tae, G-Mo, MVS, EQ, Kumerow, J’Mon, TD) for the Packers because that is how many I feel Gute will keep this year. The Packers kept 8 last year, but did not keep a FB, which I feel they will this season.

    The Vikings have horrible depth at WR and I believe Laquon Treadwell will be let go before the final 53. Any real Vikings fan will acknowledge that Treadwell is hot garbage and Spielman will finally move on. The Vikings do indeed have 11 WR’s on their 90 man roster for camp and most of them are total jokes and 5 will be gone by Sept.

    I believe the Vikings will keep 6 WR’s and this will be that group:

    Starters:

    Adam Thielen(Will have to again play in the slot a lot because of a huge lack of talent on the roster.)

    Stefon Diggs

    Chad Beebe(This player as your 3rd starter shows how bad the WR depth really is on this team.)

    Depth:

    Jeff Badet(Badet is a awful WR, but will remain with the team for his return abilities.)

    Jordan Taylor(Beats out Zylstra, which isn’t saying a lot.)

    Olabisi Johnson(Spielman won’t cut his rookie draft pick as much as he may want to by Sept.)

    I am FAR from the only one that says the Vikings have the worst WR depth in the NFL. The best advice I can give Vikings fans is to pray real hard that Beebe as your 3rd starter isn’t a total disaster this season, and then really pray Thielen or Diggs don’t ever turn a ankle. Good luck!

  48. Not a Viking fan, but sbnation wr power rankings: #4 MN. #15 GB. Free and the rest of the packer fans are wrong yet again.

  49. Thielen and Diggs are starters.

    The issue the Vikings have at the WR position is DEPTH! WORST DEPTH IN THE NFL at the WR position.

    Such a beautiful Sunday! This weather is amazing!

    Toodle lu👋

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  50. It looks like free is having a meltdown over the Packer’s worst position group, and that is saying something with that roster. 6 wins and 1-4-1 in the North this year would be optimistic for that garbage roster. but its the off=-season where Packer fans indulge in their fantasies and brag about ….it being a nice weather day…in summer.

  51. Cardinals will start out 6-5, then finish the season either 1-4 or 2-3. Going to be a fun year though, even though they likely miss the playoffs.

    And the folks saying “the Niners because finally everyone will be healthy,” since when has a bunch of injury-prone players all been healthy at the same time? Just saying it’s unlikely, is all.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!