The New York Jets are on a five-game losing streak that has eliminated them from playoff contention, and frustration has mounted. Few have received more criticism than second-year offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur.
Under LaFleur, the Jets have the 22nd-ranked offense in football (326.4 yards per game) and are 27th in scoring (18.1 points per game). Whether it be getting the most out of young players expected to develop like Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore, committing to the ground game for four quarters, or just situational play calling, especially in the red zone, the Jets have had issues offensively.
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New York Jets HC Robert Saleh gives big show of support for young OC Mike LaFleur:
In his Monday afternoon press conference, Jets second-year head coach, Robert Saleh, was asked if he still has full confidence in his young offensive play-caller and stated the following.
“Yeah. You know, I have been in LaFleur’s shoes. I’ve told you guys the story, in 2018, second year as a coordinator on defense, and it would’ve been very easy for Kyle (Shanahan) to fire me. Very easy. Just say, you know what, we went 4-12, you’re the scapegoat … You gotta have the discipline to be able to go back and make sure that you’re telling the truth about what’s happening in the building and not coming away with knee-jerk reactions that could derail what could be a good football coach or a good player for that matter, and that’s where Zach comes into play. … To make sure that we keep these young people who we’ve invested two years in, make sure that we’re keeping them on the track of development and making sure that we’re staying committed to the process that we set out to commit to back two years ago.”
Going at length for LaFleur, giving him quite the vote of confidence. Saleh is also clearly leaning on his prior experience, showing patience, as he noted, in 2018 when the 49ers gave up 27.2 points per game (28th in football) before getting the unit to second overall in the league in 2019, leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl.
As disappointing as the execution has been for the Jets’ offense at times in 2022, there are a few things about LaFleur there are no denying. He is still incredibly young at 36 years old, with just nine years of NFL coaching experience. He comes from good company, whether it be with his brother, Matt, or working under Kyle Shanahan during his first seven years (2014-20) of coaching in the NFL. Lastly, LaFleur does have a talented, innovative mind, with a popular modern-day scheme across the league that traditionally works.
Jets fans have to hope that Saleh’s continued trust in LaFleur pays off, similar to the way Shanahan believed in him four years ago when it was tough to do so. The good thing is that LaFleur has shown the ability to be successful with the Jets, as in the second half of 2021, he did a stellar job, and with way less talent. His terrific play-calling to finish 2021 was the reason there were so many high expectations for LaFleur in 2022. Hopefully, he learns from all the adversity this year and gives the Jets’ offense the consistency it will need next year.