On Friday we got word that the Rams had talked to Mike Singletary about their vacant defensive coordinator position, and immediately I became intrigued with what he might bring to a team as a defensive coordinator. Even though he’s been a head coach and an assistant head coach for eight of his ten seasons as a coach in the league, part of the intrigue with Singletary is that he IS an unknown quantity. We don’t know how he’ll do in that role
It would seem that there would be significant benefit to Samurai Mike joining up with the man who helped develop him, Dave McGinnis and his former teammate, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Not only that, but Singletary would have the support of former defensive coordinators Chuck Cecil and Frank Bush on the Rams defensive staff, too.
Overall, Singletary hasn’t been associated with much better defenses that the other known interviewees for the job, Rob Ryan…who has been hired by New Orleans…and Dick Jauron. In his first year as a coach with the 2003 Ravens, they ranked third overall, fourth against the pass, and six against the rush. They were solid the next year too, ranking sixth overall, tenth against the pass and eighth against the run.
Once Singletary went to San Francisco as Mike Nolan’s assistant head coach/linebackers coach, we learned that perhaps Ray Lewis and Ed Reed had something to do with his success in Baltimore. In his first year with the 49ers, their defense was 32nd overall, 32nd against the pass an 18th against the run.
Those numbers didn’t improve appreciably with Nolan as Head Coach, with the San Francisco defense finishing 26th and 25th in his last two full seasons. But when Singletary took over as head man at mid-season in 2008, the defense improved dramatically. They jumped to 13th that year, and were 15th and 13th in his virtually two full seasons as the 49er head coach. So, when he was in charge, his defenses were better in San Francisco. That’s the bottom line.
In his two years in Minnesota as assistant head coach and linebackers coach, the Vikings have finished 21st and 16th overall.
Singletary is a legendary leader and motivator. Players love playing for him. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis credits Singletary’s tough love with his success. He’s been around ascending programs in San Francisco and Minnesota. And he knows how to deal with young people, which the Rams have in abundance.
Singletary may not be the best defensive coordinator hired this year, but he might be the best available right now, and has the pedigree to be great. We’ve seen what Jauron has done, and statistically it isn’t that impressive. Singletary has worked for and with such defensive minds as Rex Ryan, Nolan, Leslie Frazier and current coordinators Dennis Thurman and Mike Pettine. I’d like to see Singletary get a chance to learn even more from Fisher and McGinnis and the other Ram coaches, and find out he would do running his own show in defense.
I’ve always wondered what would happen if a coach brought in some of the guys from that ’85 Bears team, and drafted and developed current players that have similar swagger. I believe the NFL needs characters like that, and they’d take the country by storm. Singletary would be an interesting addition as Fisher tries to build a defense like the one they played on in Chicago in the 80’s.