Stan Kroenke has some big decisions to make regarding his NFL team. The St. Louis Rams are mired in a slump that goes beyond the normal funk of injuries and bad bounces. Already, there have been some whispers that Kroenke is looking to shake things up, finding a new general manager and head coach to finally change the culture of acceptance at Rams Park. Yesterday, we talked about the possibilities for replacing Billy Devaney, or not replacing him, so today we might as well take notice of some head coaching talk.
Rob Ryan figures to be one of the biggest names on the coaching market this year. Ryan's outsized personality has been a perfect fit for the Dallas Cowboys, and as the team's defensive coordinator his brand is emblazoned all over the defense.
So what about Ryan and the Rams?
There's no doubt Ryan has much of what teams desire in a head coach. For the Rams, his charisma extends a certain appeal after the plain vanilla years of Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo. It takes more than personality to run a football team. Ryan's results as a defensive coordinator are hard to overlook. Dallas had one of the worst units in the league a year ago, and now has one of the best. With cornerstone talent like Chris Long and James Laurinaitis, you have to think that the days of the Rams allowing 200-yard games to opposing backs would end. Of course, there's also the question of scheme. Ryan runs a 3-4, and the Rams are built for a 4-3.
Ryan could also keep Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator, giving Sam Bradford another year in the same system.
Accountability matters to Ryan, or seems to anyway. For a point of comparison, check out what Ryan said following Dallas' laugher against the Eagles in Week 8:
The whole thing is I got outcoached by [Andy] Reid and their staff. I mean, it's ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole [expletive] thing was on me. If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it's all on me...
Now think back to Steve Spagnuolo's prefab comments after the Rams get walked on every week. Ryan isn't mentioning anything about sticking to the plan or preparing the same way they always prepare.
Ryan's own players have already shifted into acceptance mode that their coach will be headed for his own ship soon.
There obvious differences aside, teams chased Spagnuolo in 2009 just as teams are apt to chase Ryan in 2012. Like Ryan, Spagnuolo was one of the league's up and coming coordinators. Of course, it's obvious now that Spagnuolo's technocratic approach to scheming a successful defense translated poorly to running a team.
Ryan's name is going to be mentioned again and again between now and the middle of January as teams fire coaches and begin the search for new leaders. Like Jeff Fisher or Bill Cowher, if those two do in fact return to the sidelines, Ryan could have his pick of teams. Don't rule out the Cowboys refusing to let him get away either.