The St. Louis Rams reportedly hired a quarterbacks coach on Tuesday, choosing Rutgers' offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. After a tough sophomore season for Sam Bradford, following his Offensive Rookie of the Year debut the season before, it's easily the most watched assistant coaching position on Jeff Fisher's staff.
Reaction so far is best described as "huh?" given that Cignetti was pretty far off the radar as far as the public knew.
Two other names had been mentioned recently as candidates for the Rams quarterbacks coaching job. Alex Van Pelt, the Buccaneers former QB coach, and Bart Andrus, the quarterbacks coach who worked with Fisher early in the careers of Steve McNair and Vince Young.
If in fact, Marvez' report is correct, then Cignetti must have some pretty solid recommendations to beat out two guys with established NFL bona fides, especially one that worked directly with Fisher's two most high profile quarterbacks from his Tennessee days.
Rutgers fans think fairly well of Cignetti. I turned to On The Banks, SB Nation's Scarlet Knights community, for more insight.
From a discussion about who should be their next head coach:
Frank Cignetti - Current Rutgers offensive coordinator is well-liked, which will at least warrant an interview in the name of continuity. Paul Zeise claimed that he had a chance at the Pitt job last year, but lost out due to the perception that he is a bit too ambitious and quick to interview for new jobs. Still, Cignetti proved to be a miracle worker at Rutgers in 2011; think about it like this. If Greg Schiano never hired Cignetti, he'd be closer to out of a job at Rutgers today than the head guy in charge down in Tampa. The best reason to hire Cignetti? Pitt doesn't seem to have a clue what they are doing, and they didn't want him, so clearly there must be some upside here.
From a Nov. 2011 assessmentof the coaching staff (Cignetti wasn't working with elite QB talent during his stint at Rutgers):
Frank Cignetti - this was pretty much night and day from 2010 and the unending nightmare of Kirk Ciarrocca's tenure. Is Cignetti a perfect play caller? Of course not, but he is a genuine, qualified DI offensive coordinator, who stemmed the bleeding and made Rutgers relevant again. Now the challenge will to build on this year, and bring to light a truly dynamic attack next season. More of his personnel will be in place, with the players having another year to learn his scheme, but Cigs will have to make everything work absent the performance of Mohamed Sanu. It's on Cignetti's shoulders to develop one of Gary Nova or Chas Dodd into a credible starter. Let's hope a suitor with deep pockets doesn't come calling, or that Cignetti is tired of moving around for a while.
Another thing that's clear is Cignetti runs a conservative, ball-control offense, or at least he did at Rutgers. He's not running the offense in St. Louis, but he working for an offensive coordinator who is on the record as stating a preference for the running game and making the play action a big part of the offensive game plan.
At Rutgers, Cignetti worked with the quarterbacks, but he also ran the entire offense, something else to consider when looking at his track record there.