The Los Angeles Rams will need to find a new defensive coordinator after Raheem Morris was hired as the new head coach for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. While there are plenty of options, whether in-house or on the open market, one of the Rams most important players has seemed to make it clear who he hopes gets the position.
LA’s veteran superstar Aaron Donald posted to his instagram stories - first with a picture of Morris and champagne glasses cheering - followed by a picture of his previous defensive line coach Eric Henderson with “fingers crossed” emoji, implying that he would like to see his former position coach back as Morris’ successor.
Henderson left the Rams coaching staff a little over a week ago when he was promoted to USC co-defensive coordinator, however that was before the Rams defensive coordinator job became available. The former Rams coach joined Sean McVay’s staff in 2019, and in addition to shaping the defensive line, he also took over as the run game coordinator in 2021.
It remains to be seen if Henderson would have even been considered for the position if he hadn’t left, or for that matter, if he would now even consider coming back so soon after committing to USC.
From the Rams perspective though, when the best player on the team has an endorsement for someone, it may be beneficial to listen up. This could be even more important when taking into account that Donald is heading into a contract year, and may be looking for a reason to sign another extension with Los Angeles over retirement. While Super Bowl trophies are always the main goal, making Donald happy with the new defensive coordinator choice could go a long way in contract negotiations as well.
To Henderson’s credit, he is still a relatively young coach at only 41, and was a very successful coach in his time with LA. If he were to be considered for the position of DC, it would be completely warranted, even without Donald pushing for it.
Henderson leaving for USC felt like a big loss on the coaching staff, and Morris will most-likely be take a few more coaches with him to Atlanta too, so bringing Henderson back as the defensive coordinator could be just the right move to help keep some resemblance of continuity for the Rams staff, while still ushering in a new era.