As the Los Angeles Rams say good bye to head coach Jeff Fisher, they will turn their attention to a leader, as well as a new coaching staff. The Rams’ very forgettable season will be evaluated at all points, especially on the offense, and the new head coach will be expected to fix the problems in both personnel and coaching.
These decisions will be made in consideration of many factors, but the fact is that there will be substantial turnaround this offseason. The following is a look at three coaches who must go and three that deserve to stay with the organization.
Restructuring the Los Angeles Rams Coaches
Coaches who must GO:
Rob Boras (Offensive Coordinator)
No surprises here. Rob Boras has built the league’s worst offense in his first full year as a coordinator. Boras has been inefficient with his use of running back Todd Gurley, his use of quarterbacks Case Keenum and Jared Goff, and, of course, his offensive line. One cannot go far in the Rams’ fan base without hearing calls for Boras’ head and rightfully so. He has done so poorly, it now looks like his predecessor, Frank Cignetti Jr., should never have been fired in the first place. This is maybe a further testament to Jeff Fisher’s incompetence.
There is not much of a case to make when advocating his ousting, simply a report of the rankings. The Rams have earned the least amount of yards; they score the least amount of points; they have the fewest yards per play; they have the least amount of first downs per game; and have the fourth most penalty yards.
Paul Boudreau (Offensive Line)
Coach Boudreau is about to wrap up his 30th year coaching in the NFL, making him the most tenured coach across all 32 clubs. Formerly heralded for his line’s work in building notable rushers Zac Stacy, Tre Mason, and Todd Gurley, the offensive line has since been one of the worst in the league. Verified bust Greg Robinson is the most penalized player in the NFL and his flags always seem to come after major yardage plays. Even when a play is clean, Robinson has been one of the sloppiest blind side tackles in recent memory, forcing Rams’ quarterbacks to operate under pressure for every snap.
However, there is talent on this line. Rob Havenstein has had a rough year, but he has previously shown that he is a run blocker with remarkable efficiency. Rodger Saffold continues to play at a top level whether placed at guard or tackle. Center Tim Barnes has also played his role admirably. The linemen are mostly here, they simply need a last element and a compatible coach to help Gurley and Jared Goff reach their highest potentials.
Chris Weinke (Quarterbacks)
Coach Weinke has been the target of many as soon as he inherited the number one overall draft pick. The former Heisman Trophy winner has much experience developing young quarterbacks including Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Ryan Tannehill. Weinke even has experience starting as a rookie; experience that was wasted with the benching of Goff.
Unfortunately for the young quarterback, he will need to readjust to a new head coach and most likely new offensive coordinator next season. It may ease the transition for the new coaching staff to bring a quarterbacks coach that knows their particular system better. Though Weinke has shown no overt weaknesses as a coach, his affiliation with the old guard could become a liability and a distraction for the development of Goff.
Coaches who must STAY:
John Fassel (Special Teams)
Everyone on the team loves Coach Fassel as was well documented in this year’s Hard Knocks. He’s fun, energetic, and he knows his special teams. In a rather dismal season, Coach Fassel has kept his part of the game in top form. His punter, Johnny Hekker, was just named to the Pro Bowl and is approaching an NFL record for most punts within the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Also, prior to his injury, Benny Cunningham was the league’s leader in kick return yards. Thus, Coach Fassel has showcased his special teams knowledge and he is a player favorite. Keeping him on board would be a good way to keep some form of stability in the unit and keep the team’s strongest sector from diluting. Plus, now with his head coaching experience, he becomes all the more valuable.
Frank Bush (Linebackers)
Linebackers’ coach Frank Bush has been outstanding this year. This is best seen in the play of his unit leader and defensive captain Alec Ogletree. Just one year ago, Ogletree was a small-name weak side linebacker. With the help of coordinator Gregg Williams, Mike Singletary, and Coach Bush, Ogletree has exploded into a defensive superstar similar to former Bush student, James Laurinaitis.
In addition to the great defensive line play, Ogletree and the speedy Mark Barron have made running against this front a difficult proposition. In fact, the Rams have been beat all year almost exclusively by mismatches in their secondary. Little of that blame falls on the linebackers and much like keeping Fassel would keep the special teams strong, the Rams should keep the coach under which Ogletree has performed so well.
Mike Waufle (Defensive Line)
As the Rams potentially move past Robert Quinn, Waufle will be key in keeping this line stout. There are also a lot of young talents coming up like Ethan Westbrooks and Dominique Easley, both of which will need proper coaching to reach their potentials.
Coach Waufle has been one of the team’s most consistent coaches and his tenure should absolutely be extended.
As the Los Angeles Rams enter this transitional and delicate offseason, the coaching staff will be of the utmost importance. They have already expelled their lackluster head coach, but the right mix of previous coaches will also be key to the future of the newly-returned Los Angeles team.
Much of this personnel will be decided by the new head coach hire, so that is priority, but the second and third tier coaches will make or break this team. Hopefully management will take the time to evaluate properly and make the right choices before the fan base loses any more interest in the rebuilding of this franchise.