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Rams bound to look different in 2021

Even if a lot of the changes are behind the scenes

Los Angeles Rams Introduce Sean McVay - News Conference Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

An NFL team is made up of a lot more moving parts than simply the head coach and the quarterback and its best player on defense. And a successful NFL team, as the LA Rams have been for the last four years under Sean McVay, tends to lose those parts even quicker than a bad NFL team.

Despite losing in the second round of the playoffs, the Rams have already seen two key members of the front office and three high-ranking coaches on the staff move on to other organizations or new roles on the team. And several more could be joining them as “former Rams” soon.

That’s well before we even get to who the starting quarterback is, a determination that could be heavily impacted by the changes we’ve already witnessed.

Though owner Stan Kroenke, COO Kevin Demoff, general manager Les Snead, and McVay remain, many others who helped create the 2017-2020 Rams do not:

  • Brad Holmes, the team’s director of college scouting since 2013, became general manager of the Detroit Lions.
  • Ray Agnew, LA’s director of pro personnel since 2017, followed Holmes to Detroit and will be the assistant general manager.
  • Brandon Staley, defensive coordinator for the NFL’s number one defense last season, became head coach of the LA Chargers.
  • Joe Barry, McVay’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach since 2017, followed Staley to the Chargers.
  • John Bonamego, who got a one-year audition to be the special teams coordinator, was moved to “senior coaching assistant” and replaced with Joe DeCamillo.

I don’t believe we know yet who will be replacing Holmes and Agnew, but we do know that Raheem Morris brings plenty of experience and familiarity with McVay to the defensive coordinator position. Who will coach linebackers? Will anyone take on Barry’s responsibilities as an “assistant head coach”? These questions remain unanswered and the number of open coaching positions could still grow.

We also know that the Chargers wanted to talk to offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, but were denied.

As great as it has been to be Sean McVay over these last four years (four winning records, three postseason trips, three playoff wins, one Super Bowl appearance), it comes with its own set of challenges also. Including finding consistency in coaching styles and personality as the Rams have shuffled through several key roles.

The team parted with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur in 2018. Then with quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor in 2019. Then with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, and special teams coordinator John Fassel in 2020.

This year has been the first that the front office has been hit hard and we can’t say at this point whether that will be devastating to their future drafting efforts or if it will unlock new talent to first be mined by the Rams.

For now, LA moves forward with the same intention as every other NFL team except for the Chiefs and Bucs right now, which is focusing on how they can and should change the personnel on the field. We don’t know if that will include replacing Jared Goff or other starters next season, but we do know that the people involved in finding them, scouting them, and coaching them will be significantly different.