EARTH CITY, MO - JANUARY 17: New head coach Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams addresses the media during a press conference at the Russell Training Center on January 17, 2012 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Praise for the coaching staff at Rams Park is nothing new. The last administration came to the building as an up-and-coming coaching brain trust. Steve Spagnuolo proved to be out of his league in as a head coach, creating an atmosphere of mistrust, according to what we have been told by former and current players. Those days are over now.
One notable difference between the current and former coaches staffs is the level of experience. Fisher has brought in a mix of long-time, trusted allies and some fresh young minds from other coaching staffs. It looks like a good mix.
The first name on Pompei's list of the "best assistant coaching hires" is assistant head coach Dave McGinnis.
This is a great hire by Jeff Fisher in part because Fisher knows exactly what he's getting. McGinnis worked for Fisher for seven years in Tennessee. McGinnis is an outstanding facilitator and handler of people. His 27 years of NFL experience, including three and a half as a head coach, will make him a valuable sounding board and right hand man for Fisher.
McGinnis talked about his experience and approach in a recent conference call with the media. Fans liked what he had to say.
Defensive line coach Mike Waufle (mmm, waffle) get Pompei's vote for the best defensive line coach hired this year. He notes Waufle's reputation around the league, and says that he should bring out the best in Chris Long. It seems like a stretch to think Long can get much better, at least as a pass rusher. If Long sustains his level of production, and good luck on the injury front, over the next season, he should be in for a big contract in in 2013 and a constant presence in the conversation of the league's top defensive linemen. Waufle also has a talented player to work with in Robert Quinn, and I'm excited to see what the bookends of Quinn and Long can do for many years to come.
Other Rams coaches Pompei mentions in passing ...
DBs coach Chuck Cecil - "He'll give the Rams secondary toughness and know-how."
Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams get nods as well.
Fisher and his staff look and sound like they foresee a quick turnaround for the Rams, building a team that competes for the NFC West title every season. Getting over the injury hump this season should be good for a couple wins at least. Smart adds through free agency and the draft combined with a much improved coaching approach could put them back at .500 right away, with better things on the horizon. I know fans will be watching closely to see if that plan comes to fruition.