Before the St. Louis Rams can worry about signing free agents or stacking the draft board, the team brass needs to figure out which direction to go with the vacant defensive coordinator job. One name that has been discussed inside the building, according to Jim Thomas at the Post-Dispatch, is ousted Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Fisher and Ryan have one key connection, Buddy Ryan. The elder Ryan was Fisher's mentor in the coaching world. The two coached together in Chicago in 1985, Fisher's first year as a defensive assistant and Ryan's last with the Bears. Fisher followed him to Philadelphia, where the two worked together through 1990.
The issue that stands out the most with Ryan and the Rams is that Ryan's always run a 3-4 defense. St. Louis would have to make some major personnel shifts to change the defense. Could Ryan adapt to a 4-3? More and more teams are moving to four-man fronts because it's a more cost-effective system. Finding personnel for a three-man front is more difficult.
Another question is how Ryan's personality would fit into the mix. Fisher's team isn't defined by the same kind of meek approach that characterized the Spagnuolo Rams, but he's not one for tantrums among his staff members. The Dallas players seemed to like Ryan well and were shocked to learn of his dismissal.
Thomas also mentioned Chuck Cecil and Dave McGinnis as possible internal solutions. The Jets have been mentioned as another possible destination for Ryan.