For a group that went 24-40 and made one playoff appearance over four seasons, Mike Shanahan’s Redskins staff from 2010 to 2013 sure had an abundance of head coaching talent. With the Packers set to hire Matt LaFleur to replace Mike McCarthy as the next Aaron Rodgers whisperer in Green Bay, three Shanahan disciples from his disastrous stint in Washington have NFL head coaching gigs. The Redskins have Jay Gruden.
Kyle Shanahan, who served as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator under his dad, inherited a 49ers team that won two games in 2016 and is 10-22 over two seasons in San Francisco. Sean McVay, who succeeded Kyle as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator after serving as Washington’s tight ends coach for the previous three years, became the youngest head coach in NFL history when the Rams hired him as a 30-year-old in January 2017. All McVay has done in two years is lead Los Angeles, which hosts the Cowboys in a divisional round game on Saturday, to 24 regular season wins and a pair of division titles.
LaFleur, 39, was hired as the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach in 2010 after Mike Shanahan replaced Jim Zorn as head coach. LaFleur had spent the previous two seasons as an offensive quality control coach for the Texans under Kyle Shanahan.
“Matt spent the last two seasons with Kyle and is well-versed in the system that we are trying to bring here to Washington,” Mike Shanahan said after LaFleur was hired by Washington. “I was very impressed with the work he did with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and expect him to have a similar impact with the Redskins.”
Kyle Shanahan called LaFleur his “right-hand man.”
“I got so comfortable with Matt,” Shanahan said during the 2011 preseason. “It got to the point where he always knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t have to tell him stuff. He knew how I thought, knew what I wanted the quarterback to do, knew everything.”
During his time with the Redskins, LaFleur worked with quarterbacks Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan were two of the 10 assistants dismissed by the Redskins when they fired Mike Shanahan after a 3-13 season in 2013. Within a month, the Redskins hired Gruden and LaFleur accepted a job as the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame. LaFleur returned to the NFL in 2015 as the quarterbacks coach in Atlanta, where Kyle had been hired as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator after one season with the Browns. McVay brought LaFleur to Los Angeles as the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2017. LaFleur spent the past season as the offensive coordinator for head coach Mike Vrabel and the Titans, and had the opportunity to call plays for the first time.
Cousins, who was drafted in 2012 and broke several single-season franchise records with McVay calling plays in 2015 and 2016, tweeted his appreciation for LaFleur and the rest of Shanahan’s coaching staff on Monday. Griffin congratulated LaFleur as well.
“LaFleur’s promotion to head coach reminds me how lucky I was to work with Coach Shanahan’s staff when I first entered the NFL,” Cousins wrote. “There are now 3 head coaches, not including Mike Shanahan, that played a role in my development. Can’t wait to see LaFleur out there 2x next year!”
The Redskins will see LaFleur and the Packers once in 2019 when they visit Lambeau Field during the regular season. Washington will also host Shanahan’s 49ers. While Gruden is a mediocre 35-44-1 with one playoff appearance over five seasons, he is 2-0 against former members of the 2013 Redskins coaching staff, with wins over the Rams and 49ers in 2017.
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