For the initial start of Mike LaFleur’s interview the audio is low, so I can’t tell exactly what is asked or necessarily how LaFleur begins his response. Through context clues (which I had to use for a lot of the questions) they seem to be talking about the tropical storm (named Hilary) and the earthquake that both recently hit California.
The opening is very humanizing as the offensive coordinator says that apparently Sean McVay didn’t feel the quake (his wife Veronica did!) and overall Mike talks a little bit about how it really scared his kids.
“My kids were scared sh**less.”
LaFleur is asked about his takeaway from the second preseason game and at this point the coaches should’ve watched the tape so I really thought he was going to offer some good detail but not really.
“More learning ops, right? Again, a lot of new guys out there, you know, a lot of rookies, a lot of second year guys just playing in their second preseason game of this year. So, good for Stetson (Bennett) to go out there as, you know, as the starter.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we just witnessed Stetson’s Bennett first career game as an NFL starter (in preseason) so let the Bennett era begin! It really is amazing how many of these young players are actualizing their NFL dream for the first time and in real time.
Those happy thoughts aside, I really didn’t think coach LaFleur provided too much insight on Bennett. He says the young QB doesn’t get to high or too low and more similar coach speak. He does say that the team wanted to give Stetson one series to start the second half and if it went bad maybe two series. Stetson took the offense down the field and scored, so his day did end on a fairly high note.
“He was gonna get two series, it was either gonna be one series if it was good or two series if the first series didn’t go so well.”
Mike explains that it was good to see Bennett end with a productive drive.
I agree. That was good to see. We’re all wondering where the two-time college National Champion’s career will go.
“Every day is an evaluation. Not just to see who our best five are gonna be but to see who, how those guys are working together.”
This team might still not know who their starting five offensive linemen are. We are less than a month away from the season. Wonder how many other NFL teams are stilling figuring out their starting five offensive linemen? I’d guess more than half.
Again, I can’t really hear the question(s) but it almost seems like LaFleur is asked about being able to run the offense in McVay’s absence (based on the response that he gives).
“Really ever since COVID you almost kinda prepare for the worst now, right?...Sean’s as good as a communicator if not the best I’ve even been around...I prepare as if he’s not gonna be there. If he has to run out of here because Veronica's pregnant, you know, something like that...you just gotta always be prepared.”
I think that response shows that he thinks of McVay as a person and not just his boss. That’s cool to see. Hopefully the organization as a whole does that. I’d guess that is something that McVay preaches. Treat people as people not just players, not just employees. Treat them as people, seems so simple.
“We’d (Kyle Shanahan, LaFleur and presumably many more) study as much of the Rams as, you know I guess, Sean studies Kyle and what we were doing in San Francisco.”
I don’t think it’s a hot take to say that LaFleur may not have this job if not for time with Shanahan and the 49ers. The OC gives the above response after being asked about how his onboarding process with the Rams has gone (McVay has an onboarding program for the coaches) and LaFleur basically says that it’s been familiar with McVay’s system, but of course it’s different to see it so up close, being involved in it..
“You’re always just trying to grow, right?”
Will Mike’s time with the 49ers and New York Jets help this offense grown to new heights? That’s the multi million dollar (or whatever LaFleur’s contract is) question.
“It’s not like you’re talking to (Matthew) )Stafford and (Cooper) Kupp who’ve seen so much and had so many experiences...It challenges you as a coach like “Hey he’s not figuring this thing out, so what am I doing wrong that this guy is not absorbing the information that I am trying to give him.”
Accountable coaches should create accountable players and that’s great, but they will need to perform at some point too. At some point “saying we’ll get there” isn’t good enough, and eventually players will need to arrive.
This team has a few more weeks before they play the Seattle Seahawks in Week One. It seems to me LA will need every minute of those few weeks to get this roster ready for gameday.