In his introduction as the St. Louis Rams new head coach on Tuesday, Jeff Fisher promised patience over haste in hiring his coaching staff. Less than a week later, Fisher has the nucleus of his coaching staff in place, including his offensive and defensive coordinator and a handful of assistants under them.
On Saturday it was reported that Fisher hired Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported on Saturday that the Rams hired Paul Boudreau as their offensive line coach and Mike Waufle as their defensive line coach. Both men have an interesting history with the Rams and some of their recent coaches.
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There's much to like about the assistants Fisher has hired as well as the ones he's interviewed. Let's take a look.
Boudreau comes from Atlanta, where he spent the last four years coaching the offensive line. His stint their coincides with Harvey Dahl's emergence. Dahl was an undrafted free agent working as a depth guy before joining the Falcons. In his second season in Atlanta, 2008, he started all 16 games, and he's been starting in the NFL every since. Dahl was far and away the Rams best lineman last season, the only one with a positive grade from PFF (which is a nice guideline, but subjective enough not to be the final word on a player).
Atlanta's line struggled this season, partly because of depth issues, after being named one of the league's best in 2010.
Dahl may or may not be moving to the right tackle spot in 2012. Wherever he ends up, here's hoping his old coach breathes new life in the Rams line. He'll be asked to get Rodger Saffold on track this season and potentially extract Jason Smith's seemingly lost talent, though Smith's future with the team looks tenuous after a report last week that he'll be released if he doesn't take a pay cut.
Boudreau was with the Rams in 2006 and 2007. Prior to that, he worked in Jacksonville for three seasons.
Waufle is a long time defensive line coach, who just finished his second season, and second stint, as the Oakland Raiders' defensive line coach. Prior to that, he manned the same job with the New York Giants from 2004 through 2009, overlapping with Steve Spagnuolo's two-year stint, in 2007 and 2008, as the defensive coordinator. That also including their last seemingly impossible Super Bowl run, when the defensive line dismantled Tom Brady and the then-undefeated Patriots.
Fisher interviewed Rob Boras for the tight ends coaching position. Boras spent the last two seasons in the same role with the Jaguars, coaching Marcedes Lewis to his best season as a pro in 2010. Prior to that Boras held that job with the Bears, but was fired as part of a house cleaning of assistant coaches following the 2009 season. The move upset then-Bears tight end Greg Olsen, who criticized the decision in the media. Boras oversaw the development of Olsen, who was later cast aside in Mike Martz' offense.
Tim Walton, the secondary coach for the Detroit Lions, also interviewed for a job with the Rams, reported by Jim Thomas to be assistant defensive coordinator focusing on the passing game. The Lions hired Walton in 2009, the year Jim Schwartz, Fisher's former defensive coordinator in Tennessee, was hired as head coach. Fisher and Schwartz doubtlessly know Walton from his days as the defensive coordinator for the University of Memphis, the job he held before being hired by the Lions. Prior to working in Memphis, he was the DC at the University of Miami. As a college coach, Walton worked with some of the NFL's biggest names in the secondary, including Antrel Rolle, LaRon Landry and Kenny Phillips.
Another name who could join Fisher's coaching staff is Dave McGinnis, the linebackers coach in Tennessee. He was also a head coach for the Cardinals from 2000-2003, and was hired by Fisher in 2004.
It's an interesting list of position coaches. All of them bring considerable experience. Compare that to Spagnuolo's staff which was mostly comprised of coaches whose resumes were still relatively short. They have bona fides as coaches capable of developing players, something Fisher was known for with the Titans. The Rams have a roster full of untapped potential from players like Lance Kendricks, Rodger Saffold and others.
It's the kind of staff that looks capable of making for a quick turnaround.