The St. Louis Rams may not have a defensive coordinator per say for the 2012 season, but the club plans on handling the duties on that side of the ball by committee from the sounds of things. While Head Coach Jeff Fisher is the brains behind the team’s schemes, top assistant Dave McGinnis will likely take care of the defense on a day to day basis.
Gregg Williams was hired by the team to take care of the defensive responsibilities shortly after Fisher was named as the head coach, but his involvement with the bounty scandal during his tenure with the New Orleans Saints earned him an indefinite suspension from the league. That would have left many teams scrambling without a key component of the coaching staff so late in the process, but the Rams kept a level head about things.
Instead of appointing a new coach, the Rams made the decision to collaborate on the defense this year with McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil, and linebackers coach Blake Williams (Gregg’s son) filling the void. The entire ordeal hasn’t been an issue according to McGinnis who said: “It has been seamless. This defensive playbook, this defensive philosophy, this defensive system originated in Jeff Fisher’s office, so we know that. We have a unique situation here in that we have coaches who have not only been in this system for a long time and seen it evolve, we also have players who are now coaching who played in this system. Jeff did a meticulous job of putting this staff together for a lot of really, really smart reasons. One of them being everybody is in tune with what we are doing.”
That harmonious thought is something that didn’t seem possible with Williams’ issues which surfaced earlier in the offseason. Now the club appears poised to function just fine in 2011 and it’s all thanks to McGinnis’ knowledge and low key character.
Now the only question remaining is who will call the plays defensively during the season and that decision is still up in the air. McGinnis said: “That’s up to Jeff. But, believe me, we will get it handled. We have enough experience on this staff and enough expertise, and with Jeff’s leadership, that’s covered.”
Considering the fact that just a few months ago Williams’ suspension seemed like yet another unnecessary blow to a downtrodden franchise, there’s no denying those words from McGinnis. The familiarity that he and Fisher share from their days with the Tennessee Titans is undoubtedly an important component to the Rams’ ability to thrive in spite of less than ideal circumstances. This team will perform just fine with their current ensemble of coaches and it seems highly probable that McGinnis is the man to take on the play-calling duties when the season begins.