I’m sure as time goes on, my intense hatred of the Los Angeles Rams will wane, and I’ll root against them in the same dispassionate way that I root, for no good reason, I might add…against the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Of course, that won’t happen until COO Kevin Demoff and owner Stan Kroenke are gone, which is probably going to be a while. Last Monday, Demoff walked into head coach Jeff Fisher’s office and fired him. Just like with Steve Spagnuolo when he was let go by the Rams, the owner of the team didn’t do it. Nope, the team Executive Vice President of Football Operations/COO went in and fired his dad’s client. That’s right. Demoff had to let go of a guy that is a client of his own father’s.
Now Demoff needs to find a replacement. Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll have already come up, and those coaches have shot the idea down. If this coaching search in L.A. is anything like the last one here in St. Louis, Demoff will lay the groundwork and come up with a finalist, and Kroenke will interview him somewhere in Denver or Montana and sign off. On FOX NFL Sunday, Jay Glazer reported that several successful NFL coaches are trying to get out of their contracts to pursue the Rams job. He didn’t name names, but with rumors out there, here are the names that make sense…
• Sean Payton – Saints: Payton was born in Northern California and coached at San Diego State, and reportedly has a daughter attending Pepperdine. Multiple outlets have suggested that Payton could be traded out of New Orleans during the off-season, and Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com reported that the compensation might not be high because the Saints want to get out from under his giant contract.
On the plus side, Payton is known as an innovative offensive mind, he’s been a winner, and he comes from Bill Parcells’ coaching tree. On the minus side, his head coaching success could be a product of having Drew Brees as his quarterback.
Payton’s record over the last three years is 20-25 (Fisher was 17-28 over the last three), and the history of moving Super Bowl winners isn’t great. Ten Super Bowl Champion coaches have moved on to another job. Of those, five have reached the playoffs with their next team, but none of them have won the Super Bowl.
• Mike McCarthy – Packers: This one might seem crazy, but McCarthy was thought to be on the hot seat after the Packers’ four-game losing streak a month ago. Now they’re the team nobody wants to play. He was hired by general manager Ted Thompson eleven years ago, and at times it’s been reported that their relationship is strained. Every coach wants more power, and McCarthy will never have that in Green Bay.
Could he be one of the coaches that wants to get out of his deal? He’s developed a young Cal quarterback, as Jared Goff is, in Aaron Rodgers. He’s also been able to succeed despite the departure of offensive coaches Joe Philbin and Ben McAdoo. He adroitly handled the Brett Favre departure from Green Bay. Potential negatives include the fact McCarthy has never overseen personnel. And if HE were to get traded, the price would assuredly be exorbitant. Would the Rams want to give up MORE picks after the Goff trade last year?
• Andy Reid – Chiefs: Reid’s name comes up because he was born in and grew up in Los Angeles as a Rams fan. As a kid, he was a vendor at Dodger Stadium and participated in a Rams punt, pass and kick competition. On the plus side, Reid has rebuilt a couple of moribund franchises in the Eagles and Chiefs, and he has an exquisite eye for coaching talent. He’s had eight different assistants who have become NFL head coaches. He also has ability with young quarterbacks. As an assistant coach, he mentored Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Ty Detmer. As a head coach, he developed Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, and resurrected the careers of Jeff Garcia and Michael Vick.
On the negative side, his offense with the Chiefs leaves a lot to be desired; the one he has in Kansas City won’t electrify L.A., and he appears to have an affinity for the Midwest now. He would be difficult to pry from the Chiefs.
As far as assistants go, there seem to be two leading the way. L.A. media types are touting Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was a failure as a head coach in Denver and didn’t do well here as offensive coordinator when he didn’t have Tom Brady as his quarterback, but he has spent a lot of time under Belichick, and perhaps now is his time.
Guys like Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Carroll, Gary Kubiak, Tony Dungy and Dick Vermeil won Super Bowls in their second head coaching stints. McDaniels knows more about the job, and the Rams, than he did in his first stint.
During the Rams Thursday night game, Cris Collinsworth said Goff would benefit from the offensive game plans of Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. This is a guy that has literally spent his life around a coach, as his dad Mike was coaching at the University of Minnesota when he was born. Kyle Shanahan started his coaching career in L.A., at UCLA, and has the youth and experience you would think the Rams are looking for. And as a first time head coach, he wouldn’t demand power that Demoff and G.M. Les Snead would have to give up. Kroenke probably likes the idea of his coach being cheaper than Jeff Fisher.
Whoever it is, I’m going to hate him and root against him. And whatever the Rams do, I know there’s a really good chance they’ll mess it up. I’m invested, so I’ll keep an eye on it.