FanPost

Do You Have Faith in Tim Walton?

Rams-dst_medium

Photo via www.rantsports.com

During the first few games this past season I’m sure you were wondering, "What the HELL happened to our defense?"

I blamed our new DC and wanted him fired immediately, and I think it’s safe to say most of the Rams fans felt likewise. When the season ended I think most of us had hopes that Fisher would replace him and get someone more competent. I was certainly hoping for that scenario, and it left me a little flabbergasted that the coach said, "No changes expected."

Actually I find it hard to accept anything people tell me without some kind of proof or explanation for their opinions. Give some facts…some stats…something to justify your stance on an issue. Coach Fisher doesn’t give us much, lots of innuendos, miss direction, or just enough tidbits to satisfy the media.

Well Coach, that’s not enough for this dude. I’m going to go find out why you think Tim Walton deserves all this support and the belief that he can lead our defense to the top of the NFL pile.

It’s time to dig in for an in depth look at Tim’s career. Maybe we can find out why the Rams front office has so much faith in him. I’ve read his little bio’s and it’s tuff to find any pictures or information on him. I did my best to come up with something…anything to tell me more about this man. After much searching the web, and gleaning information from a bunch of snippets. I tried to put that information into some kind of order that hopefully makes sense.

As a player Walton was a defensive back at Ohio State, lettering all four years. He was a co-captain on the 1993 team that finished the season 10-1-1 and tied for the Big 10 championship. He played in four bowl games, and graduated in 1994 with a degree in sociology.

Walton began coaching at Bowling Green in 1995 as a defensive grad assistant, and was promoted to running backs coach the next year. He coached the RB’s until he became the defensive backs coach in 1999. He must have done a good job because In 2000, Walton was hired to be the defensive backs coach at Memphis.

In 2000, the Memphis Tigers ranked fifth in the nation in total defense (first in rush defense), allowing only 275 yards per game, and placed in the top 15 nationally in passing and scoring defense. After that success Walton left Memphis to coach defensive backs at Syracuse in 2002. Syracuse wasn’t very good that year, and finished 4-8 overall and 6th out of 8 in the Big East. It wasn’t the brightest spot on his coaching resume but it apparently didn’t stop his coaching climb.

Walton was hired by LSU in 2003 and served time with Coach Les Miles. Walton’s defensive backs were given much credit for the Tigers earning the 2003 BCS National Championship and a Southeastern Conference title. Walton was credited with having a pass efficiency defense (second, 89.8 rating) including a No. 2 ranking in the league in pass defense.

This earned him a new job at the University of Miami as the defensive backs coach. From 2004-2006 the hurricanes secondary ranked in the top 10 nationally in pass defense… in 2004 (ninth) and 2005 (first). And in 2005, Walton's pass defense led the nation, allowing only 152.17 yards per game, and featured All-Americans safety Brandon Meriweather and cornerback Kelly Jennings as well as Freshman All-American Kenny Phillips.

Following that success in 2007 Walton was promoted to Defensive Coordinator. It didn’t work out so well for him, and he was fired at the end of the season. The Hurricanes' defense - a longtime strength of the team - gave up 312 points that season, including 51 against Oklahoma, and 48 in a shutout loss to Virginia in Miami's final home game at the Orange Bowl.

However this wasn’t entirely Walton’s fault as the hurricanes started the season unranked that year and weren’t expected to dominate like they had before. The Miami offense was just as bad as the defense and that can be attributed to a lack of stellar talent which they had enjoyed in previous years.

In other words what goes around… comes around eventually. Coach Walton returned to the Memphis Tigers for the 2008 season and finished with a 6-6 record and a bowl game that they ended up losing.

Apparently Detroit didn’t think Miami’s problems were all Walton’s fault when they gave him a job as a coaching assistant…specifically as the secondary/3 rd down package coach in 2009. From the Lion’s home page they had this to say about his highlights:

LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS: Walton coached a secondary that excelled in making big plays in 2011.

•Detroit’s secondary accounted for 16 of the team’s 21 interceptions in 2011 which was the most by a group of Lions defensive backs since 2005 (16).

•Of the unit’s 16 interceptions in 2011, three were returned for touchdowns, the most by a Lions secondary since 2001 (3).

•Lions CB Chris Houston led team with a career-high 5 interceptions for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2011 and was second with 14 pass defenses. Houston was one of only three NFL players in 2011 with 2 interception returns for touchdowns.

•As a rookie in 2009, S Louis Delmas finished second on the team with 91 tackles. His other defensive tallies included: two interceptions (130 yds), eight passes defensed, one sack and one fumble recovery. He became the only rookie in NFL history to record a safety (vs. GB 11/26), an interception return for a touchdown (Arz 12/20) and return a fumble for a touchdown (at NO 9/13) in the same season. Delmas led the defense with 84 tackles (62 solo) in 2010 despite playing most of the season with a groin injury.

Walton has coached 13 players who were eventually drafted into the NFL, including five first round picks (Patriots S Brandon Merriweather, Seahawks CB Kelly Jennings, Giants CB Kenny Phillips, Redskins S LaRon Landry and Cardinals S Antrel Rolle) and four second round picks (S Idrees Bashir, WR/KR Devin Hester, S Michael Stone and CB Corey Webster).

So that brings us up to last year (2012) when he accepted the job as Defensive Coordinator for the Rams. This is his second shot at being a DC, and his first DC position in the NFL.

Let’s take a look back in time at the grades from PFF premium stats to see how Tim Walton actually did this past year.

Year

Rank

Overall

Run Def.

Pass Rush

Pass Cov.

Penalty

2013

22

0.4

0.8

39.3

-31.8

-7.9

2012

26

-27.5

-4.0

-1.1

-16.4

-6.0

2011

27

-48.1

-47.6

7.6

-9.5

1.4

2010

18

14.8

-15.3

28.4

-4.4

6.1

It actually looks pretty darn good to me. The overall grade is up 27.5 points from last year. Pass coverage and penalties killed us but that’s youth, and a lack of talent in the secondary. Yes we need some play makers in the secondary! It doesn’t look like the coach has done such a bad job as I originally thought when watching those games in the first half of the season. That soft zone was killing the team every game. It looks like we need some DB’s that can play man coverage?

It might just be the reason for the soft zone was Walton’s way of dealing with the youngster’s growing pains, and lack of developed skills. Either way it looks to have gotten a lot better by season’s end.

After taking an in depth look at Coach Walton… I have changed my opinion of his ability to coach this defense. He has proven in the past... that with the right guys he can get the job done. As usual it takes a certain level of talent to make things happen in this league, not just good coaching!

I am more than willing to see how his second year turns out for Coach Walton. And I think I understand now why Coach Fisher has faith in Walton’s ability to be a great DC. It takes time and talent to make it happen.

Thanks for reading!

OCR

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker