And based on a small sample of players who spoke to the media this offseason, the coaches succeeded in that task.
“I think we’ve done a great job remotely of teaching it. I have no problems,” said left tackle David Bakhtiari earlier this month. “I think we have the best structure. I’ve been around a couple other guys on a couple other teams and how they’ve operated, and I like ours the best.”
The virtual program went online in May, with the NFL mandating that classroom meetings and video workouts last no longer than two hours a day. LaFleur felt strongly about the former, in particular, with the coaching staff following up with individual position meetings and quizzes to reinforce concepts.
Review sessions ran roughly 20-30 minutes in duration and were intended to answer any questions players might have. To keep things fresh, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett brought in a friend who works in teaching as a consultant, while other coaches used video clips and humor to keep players’ attention.
Bouncing in and out of meetings, LaFleur was able to keep tabs on everything. He came away impressed by both the creativity of his coaches and how the players maintained an open mind throughout the learn-as-you-go process. What’s more, LaFleur reported 100% participation from the locker room.
“It really gave us a chance, for these players, to learn the system at their own pace,” LaFleur said. “We had great communication throughout. I really do think our guys got a lot out of this virtual offseason.”