Rams fans rejoiced when they heard the announcement last week that Brian Schottenheimer had been hired to become the next offensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. For the past three years, fans have complained about Schottenheimer’s play-calling so their reaction to the news was entirely predictable.
But while most fans would take a headset duct-taped to a construction cone as long as Schottenheimer isn’t calling the plays, the Rams face some potential issues when it comes to finding their next offensive coordinator. For starters, the Bears, Jets, Falcons, 49ers, Browns, Raiders and Jaguars all need new offensive coordinators as well. Thus, it’s unlikely that the Rams will have their pick of the litter and they don’t exactly offer the most stable situation, either.
As of this writing, the Bears, Jets, Falcons, 49ers and Raiders don’t even have head coaches, but once a coach is hired, there will at least be some level of commitment towards their new coordinators. Granted, Kyle Shanahan (more on him in a moment) only lasted one year with Mike Pettine in Cleveland, but the Browns aren’t exactly a beacon of stability themselves. Plus, ESPN reported Shanahan left the Browns because the sides did not see eye to eye on Johnny Manziel. In short, Shanahan felt the decision to start “Johnny Football” was forced on the coaching staff, so that situation had some extenuating circumstances. Most coordinators and head coaches are tied to the hip for at least a few seasons.
Speaking of Shanahan, whom the Rams reportedly have interest in, why step into the middle of the Jeff Fisher era in St. Louis as opposed to latching on with a new head coach starting fresh in another city? Plus, are the Rams even going to be in St. Louis two years from now? For someone like Shanahan, who was in Cleveland last season and D.C. two years ago, do you want to move to a city that might only be your home for a year? Do you want your future to be unsettled once again?
Provided they ever find a long-term solution at quarterback (which is another potential hurdle when it comes to luring free agent OCs to St. Louis), Shanahan or Rob Chudzinski would be solid hires for the Rams. This team is on the rise thanks to the jobs Fisher, Les Snead and Gregg Williams have done building the defense and the cupboard isn’t completely bare on offense. But is St. Louis as attractive as it could be given the uncertainty surrounding the franchise’s future?
That’s why the longer the Rams wait to find their next offensive coordinator, the more I’m inclined to believe that current tight ends coach Rob Boras will be the guy. As ESPN’s Nick Wagoner wrote recently, the Rams were all but certain to promote Boras to coordinator last year had Vanderbilt hired Schottenheimer to be its next head coach. Boras might not be the hire that fans want or hope for, but he also might make the most sense given the situation.
Plus, it’s highly unlikely that Fisher’s run-first philosophy is going anywhere. So while hiring a new face like Shanahan or Chudzinski would be intriguing, it’s also doubtful Fisher strays too far from the approach that he believes in. (We could debate whether or not that approach would win in the playoffs but the discussion would be moot.) Thus, Boras might make sense from that standpoint as well.
As previously noted, the reaction to last week’s Schottenheimer news was predictable. The situation the Rams find themselves in is anything but.
The true intrigue comes next, where the Rams will do their due diligence on offensive coordinators that will have much more to consider than which quarterback they’ll be working with in 2015.