The St. Louis Rams broke it off with Rob Ryan over reported concerns with his fascination with the 3-4 defense. A day after the annulment, the Rams are expected to reach out to former Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, himself officially fired on Monday.
Jauron's a more natural fit for the system that the Rams run, a 4-3 base defense that borrows heavily from the Cover-2 concept. Don't let the labels and simple-minded talk radio callers fool you, Jauron's defense used its fair share of man coverage too, especially with Joe Haden.
Cleveland's defense experienced some ups and down with Jauron at the helm. In 2011, the unit was the fifth-best in terms of points allowed with an average of 19.2 per game. They ranked as the 11th-best defense in terms of yards allowed. Injuries took a heavy toll this season. They had the second-best pass defense that year.
Also worth noting about the Browns defense in 2011 was that it was the first year they switched to a 4-3 from a 3-4.
Star defensive tackle Phil Taylor played just eight games and Joe Haden sat out some because of an Adderall suspension. The unit ranked 19th for points allowed with an average of 23 per game. The 2012 Rams, by comparison, allowed 21.8 points per game in 2012.
If Jeff Fisher does hire Jauron, it would add yet another person to the staff with head coaching experience, joining Fisher himself along with Dave McGinnis. Sure, his head coaching stints in Chicago and Buffalo were a mixed bag, but the experience itself counts for something. It also adds to a coaching staff very deep with experience, as opposed to a group of rookies trying to mold a young team.
Jauron's start came as a defensive backs coach, an area Fisher has a particular fondness for given his background in the NFL. He worked for Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, and then served as defensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville, including the Jaguars 1996 run to the AFC Championship game (amazing to think that really happened). Prior to taking the Browns coordinator position, Jauron spent 2010 in Philadelphia as the defensive backs coach there.
Time will tell if Jauron is the right man for the job. He at least fits the bill from a scheme knowledge perspective. One thing we have learned, or re-learned as it were, is that Fisher takes him time on these things, thinking out all the possible considerations. That's a good sign that whoever does eventually get hired for the gig fits with the larger vision in place at Rams Park.