Monday, January 7, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
After a 3-13 season in which the Rams offense sputtered, offensive coordinator Greg Olson has been relieved of his duties, and offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has been terminated by the team.
Olson could be reassigned in the coaching staff, but has been given permission to look for another job. Both coaches were informed of the decision late last week.
Olson worked in the coordinator capacity since coach Scott Linehanís arrival to St. Louis in January of 2006. During Olsonís time in St. Louis , the offense had its moments, but was mostly uneven, though Olson wasnít in charge of the play calling for even half the time he was with the Rams.
In 2006, the Rams were among the best offenses in the league, especially after Olson took over the reins of the offense near the end of the season. Running back Steven Jackson enjoyed a breakout season as a runner and receiver and quarterback Marc Bulger has his most efficient season as a pro.
The Rams finished that season ranked sixth in the league at 360.4 yards per game and 10th in the league in points at 22.9 points per contest.
But the offense regressed in 2007. Olson retained play calling duties for the very early parts of the season, but his unit couldnít gain traction as a plethora of early injuries made things extremely difficult.
The losses on the offensive line included left tackle Orlando Pace, guard Mark Setterstrom and guard Richie Incognito. Making matters worse, Bulger and Jackson missed extended time or played with injuries and receiver Isaac Bruce even missed time.
Olson called the plays for the first four games of the season, but Linehan said he would reclaim those duties for the week 5 game against Arizona . Olsonís still had a hand in helping develop the offensive game plan and evaluating offensive talent.
When all was said and done, the offense dropped to 24th in the league in total offense at 297.5 yards per game or nearly 63 yards less than 2006. Making matters worse, the Rams averaged just 16.4 points per contest, 28th in the league.
Olson came to the Rams from Detroit , where he served as quarterbacks coach. No immediate replacement is in place for Olson, but there are some intriguing, big name options on the market including former Baltimore head coach Brian Billick and recently departed Miami head coach Cam Cameron.
Rams fans will remember Cameron from his round of interviews with the Rams for the head coaching position before Linehan landed the head coaching job. Cameron was one of three finalists for that job. His familiarity with the front office and team would seem to make him a logical candidate, but nothing appeared imminent as Cameron is believed to be interviewing with San Francisco for the same position in the coming days.
Boudreau also came to St. Louis with Linehan and was the head offensive line coach after coming over from Jacksonville .
Boudreau worked without his best player for most of his time in St. Louis as Pace logged just nine games in his two seasons with the team.
A number of young linemen, including Setterstrom, Incognito and center Brett Romberg appeared to make strides under Boudreau near the end of 2006, but none of the young linemen seemed to elevate their games in 2007.
In fact, tackle Alex Barron took steps backward and has yet to reach his vast potential.
Jim Chaney served as the assistant offensive line coach and his status for the future remains uncertain. No replacement for Boudreau appears imminent, either, but the Rams will likely move quickly to find good candidates in the coming weeks.