The St. Louis Rams' new head coach, Jeff Fisher, and his offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have made it quite clear that they plan to hire a quarterbacks coach this season. It remains to be seen who will fill that position, but one name they are reportedly interested in is Alex Van Pelt, the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I think that that's something that was one of the first things that Jeff and I talked about," Schottenheimer said when asked about the quarterbacks coaching job in a recent conference call. "It's something that I really, truly believe in as well."
Van Pelt bounced around the NFL for 10 years as a backup quarterback. He started coaching in 2005 with the Frankfurt Galaxy, landing in the NFL a year later with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills promoted him to quarterbacks coach in 2008, an the next season he became their offensive coordinator before heading to Tampa Bay.
During his stint in Buffalo, Van Pelt developed a knack for making backup quarterbacks look good, including Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick. He coached Josh Freeman during his breakthrough second season, one that included a 25/6 TD/INT ratio and a 61.4 completion percentage. Freeman and the Bucs struggled last season, but the quarterback did maintain a 62 percent completion rate ... while throwing 22 picks.
The Rams are not the only team interested in Van Pelt. He'll interview with the Chicago Bears for their quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator jobs this week. The Colts are also interested, and the Steelers, the team that initially drafted the Pittsburgh (NCAA) product in 1993, are said to have him on their short list for the offensive coordinator position.