Sean McVay isn’t demoting Ra’Shaad Samples from his running backs coaching position, but he is making a change. The L.A. Rams head coach noted this week that assistant head coach Thomas Brown, the team’s running backs coach from 2020-2021 who had moved over to tight ends this season, will go back to assisting his former positions group.
Samples, in his first year with the team after three years as an assistant at SMU, will continue to work in his role as running backs coach, too. But with the NFL’s weakest rushing attack so far this season, it’s clear that McVay is unhappy with the results at running back.
McVay said Ra’Shaad Samples will continue to coach running backs. Thomas Brown, as assistant head coach, will be involved at times to “maximize” his history with the RB group, McVay said. Akers on Thursday described Brown and Samples as "great" coaches.— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) November 4, 2022
Brown was contacted by the Miami Dolphins for their open head coaching job earlier this year, so there’s been some interest in him moving up a level even though he has yet to be an offensive or defensive coordinator in the NFL. The 36-year-old Brown spent three years as an NFL running back from 2008-2010, then nine years as an assistant on the college level before being hired by McVay in 2020.
Brown was promoted to assistant head coach in 2021 and he continues to hold that role, but he will now also be helping tight ends and running backs.
The Rams thought they would enter the season with a deep running backs room led by Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson, followed by Kyren Williams and Jake Funk. However, Williams broke his foot in early June, and Funk was waived in October; he remains on the Saints practice squad. Furthermore, Akers has struggled to tap into the potential he showed as a rookie and was nearly traded or cut last month. Henderson has had a fairly typical “Darrell Henderson season” which means that McVay doesn’t seem comfortable using him as a lead back.
Leading to practice squad pickup Ronnie Rivers as the starter in Week 8 and potentially against the Buccaneers in Week 9.
Now McVay is turning back to Brown to help solve the issues at running back, or to at least figure out who would be best suited to suit up this Sunday.