The biggest trend seen in NFL front offices over the past few years is for management to higher younger, more innovative coordinators as head coaches — rather than veterans with experience.
It’s tough to have success year after year, with Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Andy Reid being the exceptions. The game changes so much, and younger coordinators tend to be more plugged into new-age schemes and concepts that have taken the football world by storm.
But playcalling and scheming are only a few of the responsibilities an NFL head coach has on their plate. Managing personalities, problem solving and developing a culture are also involved. There was some skepticism about whether or not Matt LaFleur could handle all those when he was hired to coach the Packers last year, as he was only 40 years of age at the time, but he’s surely been up to the task. LaFleur led his team to a title game appearance in just his first season, and that’s why many took note about what he had to say about 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who has been mentioned in regards to the Lions head coaching vacancy.
“He’s one of the smartest people I know and I think it shows,” LaFleur said of Saleh, according to the Detroit Free Press. “You can see just the energy, the effort that the defense in San Francisco plays with over there, as well as just the scheme is really tough to go against. I’m real confident he’ll be a head coach somewhere in this league in the near future.”
Saleh is a native of Dearborn, Michigan, and he may be the right guy to lead a young Lions team going forward.