St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said Monday afternoon that the team will address its vacant defensive coordinator spot in the next two weeks or so.
The Rams hired a defensive coordinator in 2012, long-time Fisher assistant Gregg Williams who was let go by the New Orleans Saints. It was the first coaching staff hire Fisher made. Not long after that, the NFL suspended Williams indefinitely for playing a leading role in the Saints bounty scandal.
Bringing Williams back has been mentioned as a possibility before, but the league has yet to reinstate the coach. The NFL has said that it has not considered reinstatement for Williams or Sean Payton yet and is unlikely to do so until after the Super Bowl. That doesn't line up with Fisher's timeline.
With seven coaches getting their walking papers on an especially busy Black Monday, and more coordinators likely to follow, the Rams will have options to choose from. Lovie Smith is one name that's been mentioned, but Fisher's style seems to prefer known associates.
Don't be surprised if Blake Williams, son of Gregg and the Rams linebackers coach, gets some consideration. He's played a leading role in the defense all year long, with pretty good results.
The Rams defense finished the year ranked 14th in yards allowed, with an average of 342 per game, and in the same spot for average points allowed, tied with the Vikings at 21.8 per game.
Age and experience seem to have been the most limiting factors for the unit. The Rams relied on rookies and young players in key starting roles throughout the season. As those players build on the experience, a natural progression of improvement should be expected. Finding the right mix for the coaching staff will be essential to making sure those players continue to grow, as well as the unit as a whole, in the offseason and into 2013 when the Rams will be expected to compete for an NFC West title.