Welp. The rumors coming out of the regular season looking for a scapegoat are seemingly true.
Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips will not return in 2020 per the LA Times’ Gary Klein:
Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been informed he will not be retained, a person with knowledge of the situation said.— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) January 6, 2020
It’s a bit strange for the Rams’ first coaching change of the offseason to come on the defensive side as it was the better unit compared to the offense this year overall. Still, it was a move that many had presumed was coming given the rumblings throughout the rumor mill.
The Rams have some interesting candidates currently employed on the coaching staff in Joe Barry and Aubrey Pleasant.
Barry, the assistant head coach, linebackers coach, and defensive front coordinator in 2019, had defensive coordinator stints with the Detroit Lions in 2007 and 2008 as well as Washington in 2015 and 2016 while Rams Head Coach Sean McVay was offensive coordinator. That experience might make him the primary candidate over Pleasant, the Rams’ cornerbacks coach, is highly regarded in NFL circles and worked with Barry and McVay working in DC from 2013-16.
There’s also the question of what scheme a new defensive coaching staff will implement. The Rams built their depth chart to fit Phillips’ 3-4 system. Even if the Rams remain in a 3-4 base up front, a new DC could have personnel requirements at various roles like say the inside linebacker spots where ILB Cory Littleton could create a vacancy as he is headed to free agency.
But as it stands, it’s the end of an era for the Rams’ defense under Grandpa Wade.
Fare thee well, son of Bum.