What will Josh McDaniels do for the Rams?
It's no secret I oppose some of the moves the Rams have made over the past few years. Sometimes I have to eat some crow. other times I end up saying, "I told you so." The recent hiring of McDaniels is one of those wait-and-see things that I didn't support - at first. Let me explain why I opposed the hiring:
First, the guy is young. Not that being young is itself a bad thing, but inexperienced coaches who have extreme luck early in their careers usually show a little too much cockiness. His first experience was at Michigan State as a graduate assistant to Nick Saban. Saban, as a college coach, was legendary for his abilities. As an NFL coach, not so hot.
In 2001, McDaniels was hired by the Pats as a personnel assistant. In 2002, he was a defensive coaching assistant for the team, working with the defensive backs in 2003. He ended up with 3 super bowl rings, although we all know one was not deserved, and the other two are suspect. When Charlie Weis left the Pats in 2004, it was discovered that the offensive play calling was done by McDaniels in 2005. He was formally promoted to this position in 2006, and continued his duties as QB coach.
In 2007, he coached pretty boy and the offense to new NFL records. 75 TD's, 67 of those on the offense, and 589 points. Rumors began flying around about him leaving for a HC position. When the Pats were in the middle of the January 2008 playoff run, McDaniels squashed these rumors by stating that he was not wanting to leave. After our current HC helped lead his team, the NY Giants, to victory over the Pats in SB XLII, Belicheat gave McDaniels a report on what it takes to be a winning Head Coach, knowing the day would come soon.
In 2008, however, McDaniels was still in New England. Shortly after the first game of the regular season started, the pretty boy QB that McDaniels helped to mold into a household name got a boo-boo, and as a result, they put a Hello Kitty bandage on it and informed him that he was out for the season. An unknown back-up named Matt Cassell took the reins and led the Pats to an 11-5 record.
In 2009, McDaniels was hired by the Denver Broncos. Apparently, the 'report' his former boss gave to him on how to run a winning football team contained only information on videotaping, since the Broncos went from mediocre to lousy under McDaniels' leadership. They fired him in December of 2010.
Since I mentioned the videotaping done by the Broncos, I will also remind everyone that during the year that the Pats set all those NFL records, there was the Spygate scandal. The common denominator in both situations - Josh McDaniels.
The last thing on the list of why I really didn't support the hiring of McDaniels as OC is the most vomit-inducing of them all: The connection to the Pats.
Do I think he will get by with videotaping while in Saint Louis? No. I believe Spags wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior. I also believe that the guys on our team are respectable enough that they wouldn't stand for it either.
So, back to my original reason for the thread: What McDaniels can do for the Rams.
First, our offensive playcalling has been quite pedestrian. I understand this was for Bradford's benefit during the first few games of the 2010 season, but really, what was the reason last year? Boller and Bulger were both experienced QB's, regardless of their performances. And why did the playcalling stay so plain vanilla once Bradford displayed the intelligence and ability to go far beyond this level? I believe that McDaniels, while not Martz, will bring the offense some interesting and ingenious playcalling this next season.
Second: Our offensive line. Saffold is doing a fantastic job at LT. I don't know if he's going to be the next Orlando Pace, but he does have a great start for his career, playing far above the rookie skill level. Jason Smith is solid as a RT, but not elite. Still, he does his job much better than a certain former player OT that position. Jason Brown is a good center, and our OG's are serviceable, but I do miss the Donut Brothers on that OL. Upgrades at the guard positions are in order, and between the current front office and coaching staff along with McDaniels, I believe we can obtain some very good upgrades on the OL.
Third, there's Steven Jackson. He's no Faulk or Dickerson, but he IS a beast. He's definitely an elite running back. He has carried almost the entire load for the past few seasons on his shoulders, until this past season, that is. In my opinion, he has never really had a good back-up. Maroney and Kevin Faulk aren't in the same class as Jackson, but they were effectively used in the NE offense. I'm not sure who we will have at the backup RB spot next season, but I have one of those feelings that this position will be upgraded with McDaniels in there as OC. This is great news, because it meas Steven will have less chance of injury, and will also have time to rest so he can break out the big plays.
Fourth, we have the wide receivers. Ask anyone who isn't a Rams fan who we have out there, and they can remember Bruce and Holt, but few could name Amendola or DX. I doubt there will be more than one addition to the WR spot this season, and that will likely be a veteran presence to mentor the ones we already have. I think that since McDaniels took an unknown player from Miami and made him one of the most well-known names when talking about WR's. Our current batch of wide receivers are as talented as Welker was while in Miami. Coaching made him into a star. McDaniels can do the same for our guys.
Lastly - and most important - Sam Bradford. McDaniels took a late-round wannabe Chippendale dancer and helped to mold him into a QB that is compared to the best QB's of our generation. Funny - our QB, Bradford, is already compared to these same guys. Imagine what he could do if McDaniels does his job. We may see a long run of Rams domination, all led by that smiling youngster who bought a ping-pong table with his millions. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think McDaniels can help make #8 the NFL's #1.
So, does the McDaniels hiring hurt the team or help them? In my opinion, I believe the Rams are on the way up with or without him, but our rise to the top will be less painful with McDaniels as OC. Just don't give him a video camera for his birthday.
Re: What will Josh McDaniels do for the Rams?
In addition to all of the things you mentioned, another thing that McDaniels does is add to the winning culture that is being built in St. Louis. He's won the big game 3 times, directed several winning seasons, and knows what it takes to win. Adding him to our Coaching Staff shows that we are building a winning mentality in a place where winning was scarce in recent years.