Now that the Cleveland Browns have made Pat Shurmur their new head coach, the St. Louis Rams have a big hole to fill. Offensive coordinator for a team that has the central building blocks of its offense in place would be an awfully attractive opportunity for someone. But who will it be?
Let's take a moment to get oriented with the candidates, none of which are official candidates at this point.
No name has garnered more attention than the former Broncos head coach, one the Rams helped get fired with a late season win in Denver. McDaniels shares and agent with Spagnuolo, Shurmur, Holmgren, etc., and that's fueling the speculation around him.
Pros: Great track record with offenses, especially quarterbacks.
Cons: Not a West Coast offense guy. There are also questions about how well he and Spagnuolo would mesh, especially since the two have no history of working together. Would he be looking to leave after just a short run of success, and if so, would that be a huge problem?
Verdict: McDaniels is probably the most likely candidate at this point, and maybe the most popular among fans, though he does have his critics. Talk that his departure after a couple seasons could be disruptive is probably a bit overstated; however, it would help to cultivate a successor just in case. Sam Bradford should be a pretty well established QB by that point, able to run an offense all by himself...and even pick up an offense that differs from the one McDaniels would use were he to get the job.
A friend of Spagnuolo, Chilly's name was the first one mentioned as soon as Shurmur looked like he'd be Holmgren's guy. However, reports now suggest that the former Vikings head coach is a longshot.
Pros: He's a West Coast guy, who goes way back with Spaguolo to their days working for Andy Reid in Philadelphia.
Cons: Not a great track record with young QBs. Looks like Gerald McRaney, the camo clad half of TV's "Simon and Simon."
Verdict: He had a good track record with the Eagles as part of the team that made a Super Bowl appearance. He also managed to get a few extra inches (pun intended) out of Brett Favre's golden years. Childress in interviewing for the Miami Dolphins' OC job this weekend.
A couple more names were bandied about today, but only as speculation, of the uninformed variety.
Former Rams personnel man Tony Softli, part of the Rams Park brain trust who brought you the awesome drafts of 2006 and 2007, tossed out Falcons offensive assistant and QB coach Bill Musgrave. However, with Falcons OC Mike Mularkey's name being a head coaching candidate for several teams this year, you have to wonder if Musgrave might not be next in line for the Atlanta OC job, since Mularkey would seem likely to leave.
Pros: Great track record with another talented young QB in a similar offense.
Cons: Might be more interested in waiting it out in Atlanta and looking for a head coaching gig next year.
Verdict: Until his name gets thrown in the mix, it's hard to say. Still, his work with Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense is hard to argue against.
ESPN 101's Brian Stull brought up Ramsdell's name on Twitter today, saying that he would be "intrigued" by him. It's just speculation at this point though. You might remember Ramsdell for his work with the Rams from 1995 through 2005 where he was a QB, WR and TE coach at various times before joining the Chargers in 2006 as their QB coach.
Pros: Did pretty well with Philip Rivers, not to mention Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger, huh? I love his downfield offense, but as a Rams fan, I'm biased toward those anyway. Wonder if he could help lure Vincent Jackson or Malcom Floyd.
Cons: Not a West Coast guy, and the Rams would definitely need some stud WRs to run that kind of offense.
Verdict: Ramsdell is a very interesting possibility, and his Rams past really adds to the allure. However, Spagnuolo hasn't shown much love for keeping ties to the Greatest Show era, though he has kept some coaches from the previous administrations.