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LaFleur’s aim is to turn lowly Rams into high-flying Falcons

February 16, 2017 06:00PM
LaFleur’s aim is to turn lowly Rams into high-flying Falcons

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) As Matt LaFleur was helping the Atlanta Falcons prepare to play New England in the Super Bowl, he took special interest in one particular game, a 26-10 victory by the Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams.

LaFleur knew he would be joining new Rams head coach Sean McVay’s staff as offensive coordinator and ”paid a little more attention to that game,” the 37-year old said Thursday.

What that film showed is the scope of the challenge awaiting LaFleur, McVay and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson in overhauling the worst offense in the NFL last season. Quarterback Jared Goff made his third career start against the Patriots, throwing one of the five touchdown passes during his erratic rookie season. Running back Todd Gurley rushed for just 38 yards, and the Rams finished with 162 yards.

It was a stark contrast from the Falcons’ prolific offense, which led the league in points per game and yards per play in LaFleur’s second season as quarterbacks coach. However, LaFleur won’t make firmer judgements based on tape alone.

”I don’t think you really truly know until you start to work with these guys,” LaFleur said. ”We have a system that we’re going to put in place. Sean and I worked together in Washington. I think philosophically, our views are very, very similar. But I think at the end of the day, you have to be able to adapt to the players that you have and put them in the best position to be successful.”

LaFleur was quick to credit the Falcons’ improvement to greater familiarity with the scheme, personnel upgrades and hard work put in by the players during the previous offseason.

Goff is already doing his part to improve, working with pitching guru Tom House. Goff made the decision to work with House on his own, but LaFleur endorses it, having seen first-hand the impact House had on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

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