For all the talk about St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke firing head coach Steve Spagnuolo, the fate of Josh McDaniels is just sort of assumed. Such is the life of a coordinator, stepping outside of his coaching tree. I have a sneaking suspicion that McDaniels might be gone even if Spagnuolo stuck around, as someone with some profile would have to fall on their sword for the Rams' awful season. So what happens to McDaniels and what will be the fallout of his departure after one tumultuous season in St. Louis?
All indications are that McDaniels will be heading to Kansas City. On the other side of the state, he'll be ensconced in a New England diaspora headed by General Manager Scott Pioli. At least one report says that Pioli wanted to hire McDaniels as the head coach to replace Todd Haley, but it was too tough of a sell. Instead, he'll likely be the offensive coordinator in Kansas City.
How the Rams offense changes depends entirely on who is coaching here in 2012. Until that's cleared up, it's hard to say. Sam Bradford has the skill set to succeed in a number of offensive schemes. More than anything, he needs some real talent to surround him.
The Rams tried to do that by trading for Brandon Lloyd at the deadline this year. The move paid immediate dividends. He had four touchdowns in his first five games with the Rams, including an upset win over the Saints. He and Bradford established a brief connection, before the quarterback succumbed to the high ankle sprain that is still keeping him on the sidelines. Kellen Clemens has been able to do nothing in relief with Lloyd.
Lloyd is probably gone after the season. He's scheduled for free agency, and most obvious of all, he told the Post-Dispatch today that he'll go where McDaniels goes. Fitting, since Lloyd is a native of the KC area.
That sets up an interesting situation. If Lloyd leaves, the Rams will again need a receiver, a talented one, to replace him. Kansas City has a pending free agent in Dwayne Bowe. Would they be able to sign both? Would they? It's certainly possible, and pairing Lloyd and Bowe would give the Chiefs a nice pair of receivers for a team that will be anxious to start winning again. Still, it's a possibility worth keeping your eye on as we head into the offseason.
Back to McDaniels. It's hard to like what they guy has done here. Injuries or not, the Rams offense never got the swing of things. The decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach was very, very curious especially when you consider the extra need to catch up on a new offense after the lockout. McDaniels also inherited a coaching staff; none of his assistants knew the offense or had worked with him before. That might be just a coincidence; the lockout hindered hiring a little too. Was there more to the working relationship between the brash young coordinator and the control freak head coach? I suspect we'll find out more once the chips start falling in Earth City.