Mike LaFleur’s familiar principles on display in Green Bay
After a vanilla performance in Week 1, New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur flashed his offensive prowess in his team’s 23-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers in preseason Week 2 play.
Using a combination of creative alignment and pre-snap motion, NFL’s younger LaFleur gave his team an advantage before the ball was even snapped.
Let’s analyze a few of LaFleur’s best play calls against Green Bay. Follow along in the video breakdown seen above or at this link.
Double post featuring Corey Davis
On Corey Davis‘s third-and-8 reception in the first quarter, LaFleur featured a condensed split presnap. That condensed split widened the cornerbacks and gave Davis a free release off the line of scrimmage.
On top of the alignment, LaFleur added tight end motion, Tyler Kroft, to help identify the coverage. When Kroft motioned, a linebacker followed him—a usual indicator of man coverage.
After the snap, LaFleur’s route combinations helped Davis get open even more.
Jamison Crowder ran an inside post, drawing the attention of the free safety. Tevin Coleman ran a flare route from the backfield, pulling his defender out of the throwing lane.
That left Davis 1 vs. 1 against an outside-leveraged corner on an inside-breaking route, with plenty of space to operate. Davis easily beat his man and the Jets gained 24 yards on third down.
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Orbit motion pin-pull sweep featuring Tevin Coleman
Later in the first half, LaFleur showcased how his creativity affects the running game.
It’s the first play of the third drive, and the Jets come out in a trips-right set with Jamison Crowder in the near slot. Before the snap, Crowder motions into the backfield before running an orbit motion to the right flat.
Orbit motions to the flat are often used on screen passes, so the Green Bay defense keys on Crowder, ready to attack the flat. However, Crowder’s motion was used as bait, and the defense bit hook, line, and sinker.
The Jets aren’t running a screen, they call a pin and pull run left away from the orbit.
Pin and pull is a zone run concept designed to get blockers to the edge. With the backside defenders distracted by Crowder, the front-side defenders are left outmatched. Coleman has a clean lane to the edge and cuts outside for a gain of seven yards.
Play-action power featuring Mike White
Even when the second-team offense was on the field LaFleur was still flexing his brain, despite the end result suggesting otherwise.
In a second-and-6 situation at the Packers’ 21-yard line, and LaFleur calls a play-action power. Unfortunately, the second-team line couldn’t hold in protection and Mike White was sacked for a loss of seven.
Nonetheless, LaFleur schemed three receivers wide open for first downs, one of which would have walked in for a score. And if the line holds up, chunks happen.
Tight end Daniel Brown immediately won on his over route and was wide open over the middle for an easy completion, but White got gun-shy and pulled the ball down.
Receiver Vyncint Smith ran a deep dig route and separated from his man at the 5-yard line. Lastly, receiver Keelan Cole came free at the front of the goal line on his post route for a guaranteed touchdown.
Even though the play was a sack, it’s a great example of LaFleur’s talents and the potential of the offense when starters are playing.
Mike LaFleur may be a rookie in this specific role, but he’s already calling plays like a seasoned vet. He uses every tool in the toolbox pre and post-snap to give his players favorable matchups, and the early results have been extremely impressive.