After winning Super Bowl LVI and reaching the pinnacle of their profession in 2022, both Sean McVay and Aaron Donald contemplated retirement. A year later, the football futures of both are still in question.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated noted in his January 11th mailbag that the Los Angeles Rams had a plan to elevate defensive coordinator Raheem Morris to head coach if McVay decided to move on from coaching. The Rams were even going to choose Morris over then-offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell who was hired as the lead man for the Minnesota Vikings:
If McVay’s out, Morris will be the favorite to replace him. The Rams had to prepare for this last year, too, with McVay, and I know the plan at that point was to elevate Morris if McVay left, even before they lost Kevin O’Connell to the Vikings. I have no reason to think that’s changed.
Breer also mentioned there was a 51-49 likelihood that McVay would return for the 2023 season:
...whatever I give you here is 51–49, but yeah, I think he stays—mostly I think out of loyalty to the people around him, from the Rams’ core four (Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey) to all the coaches he’s brought aboard. I think, for McVay, this is about believing he can be in the right place to go after it as hard as he ever has in 2023. Maybe he gets himself there. Maybe he doesn’t. We’ll see.
Every reporter and analyst in the NFL industry likely has a take on whether McVay will step away from the Rams or not, and only in time will we find out the true answer from the head coach himself. At the very least, Breer’s report that the Rams brass had a plan to hire Morris as McVay’s replacement is interesting and could provide a starting point if the team ends up with an opening at head coach this offseason.
Morris has already garnered attention for the head coach openings of the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts for which he is expected to interview over the next week. The Rams have time to await McVay’s decision, but it’s possible they are one of multiple suitors for the services of their defensive coordinator.