"You just can't manufacture experience," St. Louis Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis explained in a Wednesday morning conference call. With 26 years of NFL coaching on his resume, McGinnis brings plenty of experience to the Rams. That's exactly why McGinnis was one of the first hires made by incoming Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, his long time ally in the coaching world.
In addition to working with Fisher for seven years in Tennessee, McGinnis spent three and a half seasons as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2000-2003. Though the team's record left something to be desired, McGinnis credits the experience as a pivotal stop on his career path.
"It gives you a broader perspective of what's going on," McGinnis said. "As an assistant coach, sometimes you can look through a little narrower scope. As a head coach, it has to be wide open."
"I took over as an interim head coach [in Arizona], which is never good," McGinnis said. "I was the head coach of the Bears for six hours and didn't know it for three. That gave me a different experience also. When I was the head coach in Arizona ... trying to clear a salary cap, trying to get a stadium built, all of those things go into building your personal resume, and that experience really helps you."
McGinnis will again be witness to those things in St. Louis, right down to the stadium issues.
McGinnis' role as assistant head coach will touch all areas of the team, starting with the roster evaluation.
The first task for Fisher and his cadre will be evaluating the Rams' current roster. McGinnis described an intensive process for getting to know the incumbent personnel and making decisions about future additions.
"We haven't really started the process [of roster evaluations]," McGinnis said. "With the staff in place, we'll go through a really intensive film study from all the games."
Along with their film sessions, McGinnis explained that Fisher and his staff will sit down with the scouting department for conversations about players on the roster. Armed with that information, they will begin to make decisions about how to shape the 2012 roster, including making determinations about which players to keep, re-sign and who to pursue from the outside.
"Jeff Fisher is very thorough," McGinnis said. "He is not a guy who is going to make snap decisions."
McGinnis echoed Fisher's belief that the coaching staff will be in place relatively soon, possibly by the end of this week. Attracting candidates to fill those spots should not be difficult.
"Coaches in this league want to work for Jeff Fisher," McGinnis said bluntly.
McGinnis himself spoke highly of the chance to reunite with Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for what might be the last stop, together, in a long career.
"I'm really fired up," McGinnis said. "This is very exciting to me."
McGinnis also promised that the "professional, disciplined" product on the field is going to be very exciting for fans.