A look into OC Matt LaFleur’s offensive staff
Name: Keith Carter
Role: Offensive Line Coach
NFL Coaching Experience: Five seasons
Positions Coached: Offensive Quality Control (Seattle, 2012-2013), Assistant Offensive Line Coach (Atlanta, 2015-2016) and Running Backs (Atlanta, 2017)
Collegiate Coaching Experience: Undergraduate Assistant (UCLA, 2005), Tight Ends Coach (Wagner College, 2006), Offensive Line Coach (University of the Redlands, 2007-2008), Tight Ends Coach (University of San Diego, 2009), Offensive Line Coach (University of San Diego 2010-2011) and Offensive Line/Run Game (San Jose State University, 2014).
Coaching Track Record
Titans new Offensive Line coach Keith Carter’s coaching career at the NFL level began in Seattle. After spending nearly a decade in the college ranks, Carter was brought on to Pete Carroll’s coaching staff to help out on the offensive side of the ball.
Carter worked under Carroll, Assistant HC and OL Coach Tom Cable and OC Darrell Bevell in the role of the team’s Quality Control Coordinator.
The 2012 Seahawks finished in 2nd place of the NFC West, posting an 11-5 record and earned a playoff road win after being winless on the road in the postseason for years. Seattle yielded six Pro Bowlers - four of which were offensive players, including QB Russell Wilson, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung and RB Marshawn Lynch. Both Lynch and Unger also received All Pro status, completing the quartet with defensive teammates FS Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman.
Carter’s second season on the Seahawks coaching staff ended with the team hoisting the Lombardi trophy after a 43-8 shellacking of the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.
Although Seattle’s reputation centered around the Legion of Boom, the offense was a well oiled machine that took advantage of opportunities the defense provided. Of the five touchdowns scored in that Super Bowl, three were produced by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense.
In his second season on an NFL coaching staff, Carter understood the hard work it took to build a championship team and had the jewelry to prove it.
After the Super Bowl season, Carter spent a year as the offensive line coach for San Jose State. He returned to the NFL sidelines to coach under Atlanta Falcons HC Dan Quinn - a man he coached beside during his time in Seattle.
Carter assisted with the offensive line, working closely with OL Coach Chris Morgan, beside QB Coach Matt LaFleur and directly under OC Kyle Shanahan. Despite starting off hot, the Falcons finished 8-8 and didn’t make the postseason. Atlanta did manage to knock off the undefeated Carolina Panthers in week 16, but had to watch their division rivals play for a Super Bowl that season.
Carter - in almost identical fashion to how his second season played out in Seattle - helped the Falcons reach a Super Bowl while assisting Shanahan, LaFleur and Morgan while putting together an offense that was explosive - averaging 33.7 PPG. The Falcons scored 35 points or more in eight of 16 regular season games.
The Falcons continued the scorching pace, scoring over 35 in both the divisional and conference rounds of the NFC playoffs. Atlanta was a quarter and a half away from ousting the New England Patriots, but instead found themselves on the wrong end of one of the most improbable comebacks in Super Bowl history.
Carter stayed on the Falcons coaching staff following the 2016 season, but was tasked with mentoring the running backs. With Shanahan now the main guy in San Francisco, Carter spent the season coaching under OC Steve Sarkisian.
Atlanta would reach the postseason, but were unable to make a return appearance and were sent home in the divisional round by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Eagles, who would do the the Patriots what the Falcons couldn’t.
The tandem of Devontae Freeman and Tevin Coleman would combine for 12 rushing touchdowns, 1493 rushing yards, four receiving scores and 616 receiving yards.
Carter worked with a talented offensive line and offensive weaponry during his time in Atlanta. He added to his experience of coaching a championship team, but didn’t have another piece of jewelry to add to pair with his hardware acquired in Seattle.
Titans OC LaFleur knows Carter is knowledgeable and familiar with some of the terminology he will implement in his new offense. He is comfortable with Carter, which will make it easier for coaches to communicate areas in the offense that need to be fine-tuned - beginning in the trenches.
Carter has big shoes to fill in replacing the legendary HOF OL Coach, Russ Grimm. He also has a tough assignment ahead of him. His best offensive lineman, LT Taylor Lewan, is currently holding out for a new deal. The opposite bookend tackle, RT Jack Conklin, is recovering from the torn acl suffered in the divisional round the playoffs. His timetable for return is uncertain.
C Ben Jones will aim to bounce back from a down season. “Huggy Bear” Quinton Spain signed his tendered contract and Josh Kline inked a four-year deal that would seem to suggest his starting spot is secure.
Fresh faces Xavier Su’a Filo, Kevin Pamphile and Corey Levin will battle for consideration as alternative options on the interior. Dennis Kelly, Tyler Marz and John Theus will compete for a shot to be the band aid at tackle while Conklin continues to recover and rehabilitate. Pamphile could also compete on the outside.
Having worked side by side with LaFleur under the same Shanahan-system, Carter has a firm understanding of what the blocking scheme will look like, but still doesn’t have a clear picture of what his personnel group will be come week one. The picture will be less foggy by the preseason - or at least we hope it is.