Matt LaFleur, who worked under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan in stops in Houston, Washington and Atlanta, was hired Monday as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, according to multiple reports.
LaFleur’s younger brother, Mike, serves as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Mike LaFleur previously worked under Shanahan in Cleveland and Atlanta.
It is not believed the LaFleur brothers will reunite with the Packers at this stage of their careers. Mike LaFleur was given the title of a coordinator after last season, and appears to be happy as one of Shanahan’s top offensive assistants. He remains under contract to the 49ers beyond this season.
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Matt, 39, and Mike LaFleur, 31, worked together for two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Matt was the Falcons quarterbacks coach. He was hired as offensive coordinator on Sean McVay’s staff with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. After one season with the Rams, Matt LaFleur left to become Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator.
Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan in Cleveland in 2014 as a coaching intern – a position his brother, then an assistant at Notre Dame, accepted for him on his behalf. Mike LaFleur worked with wide receivers and tight ends during his two seasons in Atlanta as an offensive assistant, and left to join Shanahan's initial staff with the 49ers. He previously coached collegiately at Elmhurst, Saint Joseph’s and Davidson.
Richard Sherman's resume is as long as any other cornerback, but NFL analyst Peter Schrager believes the 49ers veteran is underrated.
"I think Richard Sherman last year had a really good season," Schrager said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday. "The Achilles didn't seem to bother him all that much. And then when it mattered most, [he] was shutting down the No. 1 wide receivers in the league, and that was with a completely depleted defense and an offense that had an undrafted rookie named Nick Mullens keeping them afloat. I think Richard Sherman [is] still underrated."
Sherman started 14 games in his first season with San Francisco, defending a career-low four interceptions and intercepting zero passes for the first time in his career. Those low counting stats would be concerning for a defensive back's first season in their 30s, even excluding the season-ending Achilles injury he sustained in 2017, but Sherman's production wasn't the same as his best years with the Seattle Seahawks in large part because NFL offenses didn't seem to underrate him.
According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman was targeted just once every 12.6 coverage snaps. No cornerback was avoided more than him, and Sherman also ranked first among corners in allowing a reception every 20.7 coverage snaps. In other words, opposing quarterbacks seemed to rate Sherman as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks.
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How long that continues is an open question. Sherman is entering his ninth year in the NFL and turned 31 in March. Twenty-eight defensive backs were 31 or older last NFL season, and only 12 of them were 32 or orlder. Sherman will be 33 if he finishes out the three-year deal he signed with the 49ers last year, and it seems likely he will targeted more the older he gets.
But until then, it's clear Sherman's opposition under center view him as one of the best cornerbacks in the league even if Schrager's punditry peers do not.
Organized team activities began Monday for NFL teams, and Washington suffered a loss shortly after the opening of camp.
Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster went down during the second play of OTAs with what appeared to be a serious left leg injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off while in tears.
After an receiving an MRI, Foster's injury appears to be very serious.
That's a brutal development for Foster and Washington.
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Foster was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the beginning of a tumultuous time in the Bay Area.
The Alabama product was arrested three times and suffered multiple on-field injuries during his time with the 49ers. San Francisco cut ties with Foster last November after he was accused of committing domestic battery at a team hotel in Florida.
Washington claimed the linebacker off waivers a few days later. Foster recorded 84 solo tackles in his 16-game career with the 49ers.
The 49ers have since revamped their linebacking corps after Foster's departure. They signed Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract in the offseason and spent a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas' Dre Greenlaw.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch hope Alexander, once he gets fully healthy, and Greenlaw can fill the role left by Foster's departure in the middle of the defense.