The Rams have a new offensive coordinator. Pat Shurmur the (former) QB coach for the Eagles will be calling plays for the Rams next season.
I realize it's going to be difficult to bury your fond memories of the Rams play calling over the last few seasons - who can forget those exciting plays that got Joel Klopfenstein involved in the offense? - but we'll learn to adjust.
Steven Jackson should be excited about the move, based on how Philadelphia's offense utilized Brian Westbrook. In 2006, we got a real taste of what Jackson can do as a runner and receiver, and for various reasons - health and the personnel around him - Jackson was never able to recapture the flash of brilliance he showed when caught 90 passes for 800 yards that season.
Shurmur is one of Andy Reid's original hires, so it's no leap to assume he has a preference for the West Coast offense. I know that system has its detractors (and fans), but I think it might be a decent fit for the Rams. Like I said above, using Steven Jackson more to catch those short passes is a must for next season. That can also make use of Rams young receivers, getting them weaved more fully into the offense, especially Keenan Burton. That said, don't look for a dramatic, 80% passing offense. I think the ground and the air game will be split pretty evenly, based on the previous comments and available talent.
I guess anyone who had McNabb on their QB wish list can cross him off, based on his less-than-warm relationship with Reid and the coaches this season in the wake of that benching. Shurmur's presence might help sway RB Correll Buckhalter tough, a second RB that the Rams could really use. His name came up in the comments yesterday.
Before we get lost rebuilding the offense, we also need to mention that Panthers LB coach Ken Flajole will likely be the Rams next defensive coordinator. He's a 4-3 guy too, obviously. Without knowing much about him, other than he was part of a Carolina team that quietly had a pretty good defensive season, I like that he's a LB coach. The Rams, as you know, have some glaring deficiencies at linebacker, with a true talent like Will Witherspoon having been misused as a MLB, a talented but inconsistent Pisa Tinoisamoa on the outside and not much at all in the middle. Look at what Flajole did with MLB Jon Beason, turning him into a First Team Pro Bowler this season, just his second in the league. This hiring makes you wonder if drafting a LB isn't more of a priority for the Rams now.
We'll talk Senior Bowl and the draft later today. Stay tuned.
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