Whoa. Contract negotiations with Al Saunders? The Rams?
Pinch me. I think I'm starting to feel, you know, optimistic.
Short of the lost opportunity for a new head coach, this is exactly the kind of high impact move the Rams should be making this offseason. And as much as I like the idea of a young, hungry and wet behind the ears wunderkid coming on board as the Rams OC, the team just isn't in a very good position for a wunderkid. Saunders would call the plays as the Rams OC. Hell, he'll run the offense, saving Linehan from himself. Names like that don't take a back seat to a youngish, sort of hungry head coach in only his third year on the job.
Let's take a moment to look at the politics of the Saunders (potential) hiring. Sorry, if you don't get into this side of the game, but I'm fascinated with this as much as the Xs and Os, at least in the offseason. Anyway, I suspect Shaw et al made the push for Saunders, an old friend of the organization where he served as an assistant in the Turf Show glory days. And Linehan only needed to be reminded of his tenuous grasp on the head coaching job as well as his reverse Midas touch on the once mighty Rams offense. For Shaw and the suits in the suites, the Saunders hiring is a coup, a clear demonstration of their desire to improve the team immediately.
Saunders is a great fit for the Rams offense, as you might suspect. Here, he's got a quarterback with the accuracy and timing and receivers to run the plays that have earned Saunders the big bucks as a coordinator. Speaking of big bucks, he made more than Linehan last year, so keep an eye on the salary arrangements. He probably deserves to make more than Linehan, but...
Saunders has also been linked to the Raiders. Given the situation there though, you have to think that he'll stay as far away from the Al Davis/Lane Kiffin dust up as he can.
In another shocking coaching news, the Rams are having an effect on changes elsewhere. Zampese will likely stay in Cincinnati if the Rams hire Saunders. The Bengals also want to bring back Hue Jackson, the other Rams OC candidate, as their wide receivers coach. Man, when your team's waiting on the Rams to make a move...