First-year assistant coaches Jake Peetz and Ra’Shaad Samples are leaving the Los Angeles Rams and going back to the college ranks. According to reports, Peetz will be heading back to his alma mater, Nebraska, to become the Cornhuskers quarterback coach. Samples will head south to Arizona State, taking the role of wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
Peetz will reunite with a past mentor, Matt Rhule, reports ESPN.com’s reporter Pete Thamel, who takes over the Nebraska program in 2023. His title with the Rams has been “offensive assistant” and its murky as to his official role and duties. He began his coaching career on defense and special teams, but switched sides and has long past working with quarterbacks. He was offensive coordinator at LSU in 2021.
In a vagabond coaching career, Nebraska will be the fourth college program Peetz has logged time with (Santa Barbara CC, UCLA, Alabama twice and LSU) as well as five professional teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Commanders, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, and Rams). His link to L.A. and Sean McVay was formed back in 2014 when they worked together in Washington.
Sources: Rams assistant Jake Peetz is expected to join Nebraska as QB coach and an undetermined special teams role. He’s the former LSU OC and coached QBs for the Raiders and with Matt Rhule in Carolina. He’s a former Nebraska player from 2003-05.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 30, 2022
In another return to the college ranks, Matt Zenitz of On3.com reports that Samples will has been added to the Arizona State Sun Devils staff under recently hired coach Kenny Dillingham, as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. His duty with the Rams is as running backs coach.
Samples rise up the coaching ladder has been meteoric, his college coaching career began in 2016 as a student assistant and culminated in being assistant head coach, running backs coach, and recruiting coordinator by 2021.
His 2022 season with the L.A.backfield has been punctuated by a lack of overall production. Even after a stellar 171 yard output versus the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday and running for over 100 yards in each of the last three games, Los Angeles languishes in the bottom three of NFL rushing attacks. While he should not carry the whole blame burden, the Cam Akers situation and the Rams bringing back last years running backs coach Thomas Brown to offer help with the unit deserves scrutiny.
Coaching staff transition is nothing new in the McVay era
The comings and goings on the the L.A. coaching staff is a yearly occurrence, their on-field success makes anyone attached to it a hot commodity. For fans, being a Ram it is a life-long relationship, but for assistant coaches, it is their job. Moving up the ladder and getting a salary raise and/or title upgrade is simply part of any employment scenario.
In the past six years, the only assistants to stay the whole course are offensive and defensive consultants Zak Kromer and Thad Bogardus, wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, and linebackers coach Chris Shula. Matt LaFluer, Zac Taylor, Kevin O’Connel, Brandon Staley, and Jed Fisch have all left to become become head coaches, while Shane Waldron, Wes Phillips, and Ejiro Evero have moved on to coordinator roles.
On the Rams current staff, Raheem Morris, Thomas Brown, and Liam Coen have all been tied to rumors about head coach openings. Defensive line (DL) coach Eric Henderson could easily be a sleeper for promotion, L.A.’s defensive line has been solid and his work in molding undrafted free agents into NFL grade contributors has surely raised eyebrows around the league.
Speaking of the Rams defensive line
Henderson lost one of his young charges this week when the Denver Broncos poached interior lineman Elijah Garcia off the L.A practice squad. Garcia was an undrafted free agent out of Rice and will go straight to the Bronc’s active roster. By the way, Denver’s DL coach is Marcus Dixon, who was a 2021 Rams assistant and their defensive coordinator is the aforementioned Ejiro Evero.