Rumors about St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead being on the hot seat lasted all of two hours, if that, on Sunday morning. Chatter about offensive and defensive coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and Tim Walton being in hot water persisted, right up until the Rams upset the visiting New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon.
NFL Network reporters Mike Silver and Ian Rapoport shot down the Pro Football Talk report about Snead's job status. They had more to say about Walton.
It's not a secret that the Rams defense has been underwhelming following its promising ascension to the league's top 10 units in 2012. The defense looked especially bad in a beat down at the hands of the Cardinals last week, surrendering a 57 percent third down conversion rate and allowing Carson Palmer to complete a season-high 84.4 percent of his passes.
The Rams defense delivered one of its best performances of the season this week against the Saints, one of its best performances of the last two year considering the weight of the upset. Drew Brees did throw for almost 400 yards, mostly in garbage time, and the Saints converted just 33 percent of their 15 third-down attempts.
That gritty performance combines nicely with Rapoport's Sunday morning report of head coach Jeff Fisher being more involved than usual in the defense (and he's pretty involved in the defense as it is).
Looking back at the Rams' almost-hiring of Rob Ryan last week offered a reminder of Walton's status as a consolation prize defensive coordinator. By the time that saga had played out, the market for defensive coordinators was already picked over. They had even reportedly inquired about Lovie Smith, but the fired Bears coach was said to be holding out for another head coaching gig.
Walton is in his first year as a defensive coordinator. Prior to joining the Rams, he was Detroit's secondary and third down package coach, two areas where the Rams have regressed from last season.
Fisher's been loyal to his coaches over his nearly two decades in the NFL, but he's also shown a willingness to replace them as needed. The Rams booted Blake Williams and cut ties completely with Blake's father and former Fisher confidant Gregg Williams after last season.
We'll see if Walton gets a mulligan for his rookie year come January. Schottenheimer's status -- assuming, strangely, that his last name doesn't get him a head coaching gig somewhere -- will also be determined once the season ends. If Fisher sticks with both coaches with significantly increased expectations for the Rams in 2014, they could be on a very short leash.