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Matt LaFleur looking forward to facing some familiar foes

February 16, 2017 06:05PM
Matt LaFleur looking forward to facing some familiar foes

By RICH HAMMOND / STAFF WRITER

The old Rams-49ers rivalry, damp in 2016 when both teams were awful, might be reignited, at least in the coaches’ offices. Now it’s LaFleur vs. Shanahan, and La Fleur vs. LaFleur.

Matt LaFleur, the Rams’ new offensive coordinator, will coach at least two games next season against two of his former colleagues from Atlanta: new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and LaFleur’s younger brother Mike, hired this month by Shanahan as the 49ers’ receivers coach.

“It’s definitely going to be a transition,” Matt LaFleur told reporters Thursday, then joked, “We’re going to have to have a LaFleur family trophy that gets presented after our games. It’s going to be different, there’s no doubt about it. Those are some of my best friends. I love those guys, but not on game day, I can promise you that. There’s going to be some extra incentive to take it to them.”

The Rams would like to stay ahead of the 49ers in the NFC West standings, but they hope LaFleur can bring much more, and perhaps bring a little of the Matt Ryan magic to this coast.

LaFleur worked with Ryan, this year’s NFL MVP, for the past two seasons as the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach. LaFleur, who has never been a coordinator at the NFL or major-college level, won’t call plays for the Rams. Coach Sean McVay, who hired LaFleur this month, will retain those duties, but LaFleur will work as something of an offensive CEO and as part of the team that (hopefully) will develop Jared Goff.

LaFleur said it’s possible that McVay, who at 31 is the youngest head coach in the NFL, might hand over play-calling duties to LaFleur, 37, but LaFleur said he has plenty of work for now.

“We have a system that we’re going to put in place,” LaFleur said. “Sean and I worked together in Washington and I think, philosophically, our views are very similar, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to adapt to the players you have and put them in the best position to be successful.”

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[www.ocregister.com]
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