Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Joe DeCamillis outlines the approach to Rams special teams

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Joe DeCamillis outlines the approach to Rams special teams

    Approaching nearly three decades coaching special teams in the NFL, Joe DeCamillis knows what it takes to put together a successful group.

    He's guided punters, kickers, coverage units, and return units to statistically strong finishes at every stop. Most recently, in each of the last three years with the Jaguars (2018-20), his units placed seventh, fifth, and 13th respectively in veteran NFL reporter Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings.

    Now, he's bringing those core principles with him to Los Angeles as the Rams' new special teams coordinator.

    Early in his introductory press conference, DeCamillis pointed to two foundational pieces to his success: His passion and the quality of players.

    "I would say the secret to success is, my father-in-law, is Coach Reeves, Dan Reeves," DeCamillis said during a video conference Thursday. "So, that was a long time ago, but he told me to be myself. That was one of the biggest things that we talked about. So, I've tried to follow that as much as I can. Be as passionate every day as I can and just enjoy the job. That's really what it's all about."


    Joe DeCamillis on becoming Rams' next special team's coordinator, special teams philosophy


    Like the other phases in the game, DeCamillis said the more talented players you have, the greater chance of success.


    In that regard, he feels confident in where the Rams stand at punter – four-time Pro Bowl selection Johnny Hekker enters his 10th NFL season in 2021 and has a career average of 46.9 yards per punt. DeCamillis also likes the trajectory of kicker Matt Gay, who made 14 of 16 field-goal attempts and 16 of 16 extra-point attempts in seven games with Los Angeles last season.

    "It's to field as much as we can in coverage, which means just trying to put it in small areas, which we've got a great punter to do that," DeCamillis said. "The kicker, I think it's going to get better as we go. Then the return game, you want to spread the field, make it as wide as you can, get as many gaps as you can for your return team, and then get a great return. We've got to get a guy that can ring the bell and drop the ball over the goal line."

    The Rams were notorious for trick plays under John Fassel, their special team's coordinator from 2012-19. Hekker didn't attempt a pass under Fassel's successor, John Bonamego, last season, but DeCamillis indicated he was open to it.

    "I think it depends on what the head coach's plan is, what your team plan is," DeCamillis said. "You want to play complementary football as much as possible. Sometimes, they come up. Sometimes they don't. In Jacksonville, we were very successful the last few years doing that and I know having the talent that John has, I hope we're able to continue the 'trickeration.'"

    When it comes to special teams personnel, the Rams have a couple of decisions to make regarding key positions DeCamillis will be overseeing.

    As DeCamillis alluded to earlier, he said the return game is still being evaluated. Wide receiver Nsimba Webster primarily handled both duties for the Rams last year, averaging 21.7 yards per kickoff return and 7.4 yards per punt return.

    "One of the things that you got to really evaluate as much as anything is the better the blocking schemes are, and the better holes you have to run through, the better the return is going to be," DeCamillis said. "Now, where you get special is when it's a guy that has (former kick returner/punt returner) Devin Hester type-ability. Those types of things, that's where you can really become special."


    Additionally, long snapper Jake McQuaide, who has played in every game in his 10 years with the team, is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Rams currently have two long snappers signed to reserve/future contracts in Steven Wirtel and Colin Holba.

    "You really have to get the right one," DeCamillis said. "On the other side of it though, Jake is a great long snapper in this league. Part of the reason that Hekker's been successful, part of the reason that (former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein) was successful here, was because of him. So, a lot of respect and again, the finances, they'll just have to work those things out and hopefully, he'll have a chance to come in here and compete because I think he's excellent."

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

  • #2
    Hate to continue harping on the cap issue, but it's so relevant to everything, and special teams is no different. We're not going to be able to have any luxuries on special teams.

    I don't know why anyone would ever spend a plug nickel on a kickoff returner. Just have a competent guy who'll hold onto the football the 15% of the time he actually can return the football.

    The coverage teams were bad last year and Hekker wasn't very good the 2nd half of the season. Both have to improve. Oddly enough, the early weak link, placekicker, turned out to be an area of relative stability, as Gay converted 14 of 16 FGs.

    Dare I say it: would we actually think of cutting Hekker? He's the second-highest paid punter in the NFL behind only Moorstead of New Orleans, making nearly 3.8 million a year.

    Comment

    Related Topics

    Collapse

    • bruce4life
      Rams 2018 Special Teams
      by bruce4life
      It is very apparent we are missing the 2017 version of our Special Teams unit. If you look at the punt and kick return units instead of being tremendous boost to our Team throughout the year, they have been quite the opposite. I can count 6 drives over the last 2 games alone where the special teams unit has killed them.

      We all want to blame the offense right off the bat but this unit has been a hindrance for the bulk of the year....
      -12-17-2018, 08:33 PM
    • MauiRam
      Special teams take step forward for Rams
      by MauiRam
      By Joe Lyons

      Will Herring has made a career of playing special teams in the National Football League. After joining the Rams in early October and quickly earning a spot as a core special-teams contributor, he recently wrapped up his eighth pro season.

      “It was definitely a blessing to be part of something special here,’’ said Herring, 31, who spent his first four seasons in Seattle and the next three in New Orleans. “The culture here on special teams was phenomenal. It starts with (head coach Jeff Fisher) and goes from there. ‘Bones’ (special teams coordinator John Fassel) is an unbelievable guy to work for. The guys here, they play super-hard for each other and for ‘Bones,’ and I think that definitely showed up on Sundays.’’

      After coming on strong last year, the Rams’ special teams took another step forward this season. And they did so with mostly first-, second- and third-year players.

      “I’m really proud of the guys and I think a lot of it goes back to last year,’’ Fassel said. “It’s a fun group to work with because they’re young, they’re motivated and they’re hungry. They have a great work ethic and they’re serious about their preparation.’’

      Like any unit, the Rams’ special teams had a few breakdowns along the way, including a first-minute blocked punt that turned into a touchdown in a 34-28 loss in Philadelphia on Oct. 5 and a mis-hit by kicker Greg Zuerlein that allowed Kansas City’s Knile Davis to return the second-half kickoff for a touchdown on Oct. 26 as the Chiefs scored 24 unanswered points after halftime in a 34-7 rout.

      But the Rams’ special-teamers countered those mistakes with a handful of game-changing plays this season:

      The team’s 28-26 home win over defending Super Bowl champion Seattle on Oct. 13 was dominated by the Rams’ special teams. A 75-yard kickoff return by Benny Cunningham set up the Rams’ go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter. In the second, on a Seattle punt from midfield, return man Tavon Austin and his teammates put on an Academy Award performance to draw the Seahawks to the right while Stedman Bailey made an over-the-shoulder catch on the left and raced 90 yards for a touchdown that put the Rams on top 21-3.

      Then, with Seattle coming on and the Rams nursing a 28-26 lead with just under three minutes to play, Fisher made a gutsy call on a fourth-and-3 play from the Rams’ 18 as punter Johnny Hekker hooked up with Cunningham on an 18-yard pass that allowed the Rams to run out the clock.

      Austin put the finishing touch on a 24-0 road victory in Washington on Dec. 7 with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Earlier, when Washington attempted a fake punt, the Rams’ Chase Reynolds alerted teammates upon hearing something different in the Redskins’ cadence. Trey Watts and Daren Bates teamed up for the stop.

      Bates, a second-year linebacker who hadn’t...
      -01-03-2015, 11:00 AM
    • RamDez
      Rams agree to terms with Joe DeCamillis to be team's new special teams coordinator
      by RamDez
      The Los Angeles Rams announced Thursday that they have agreed to terms with Joe DeCamillis to be their new special teams coordinator. DeCamillis replaces John Bonamego, who will still remain with the organization as a Senior Coaching Assistant.

      DeCamillis brings more than 25 years of NFL coaching experience to the Rams' staff. The 2020 season marked his 32nd in the NFL.

      Prior to joining the Rams, he spent the last four seasons as the Jaguars' special teams coordinator in what was his second stint Jacksonville. In 2020, Jacksonville finished tied with the New York Giants for sixth in the league in punt return average (11.4) and 11th in opposing punt return average (7.5). Punter Logan Cooke, meanwhile, had a 43.2-yard net punting average, sixth-highest in the NFL. Collectively, the unit tied with Houston for 13th in veteran NFL reporter Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings, which ranks all 32 NFL teams using a point system based on 22 categories.

      In 2019, the Jaguars special teams finished fifth in the same rankings after Cooke and kicker Josh Lambo became the first teammates to lead the NFL in net punting average (minimum 10 punts) and field goal percentage (minimum 15 attempts) in the same year since net punting average started being tracked in 2000. Lambo was named to The Associated Press' All-Pro Second Team – the first kicker in franchise history to earn All-Pro recognition – after making a franchise-record 33 field goals, while Cooke tied for first in the NFL in net punting average (44.5 yards).

      DeCamillis also helped Jacksonville to a Top-10 finish in Gosselin's 2018 rankings (seventh) after Jacksonville first in the NFL in opposing kick return average (17.8) and second in opposing punt return average.

      Prior to joining the Jaguars, DeCamillis spent two seasons as the Broncos special teams coordinator from 2015-16, his second stint in Denver. In 2016, DeCamillis' group was strong in punt and kickoff coverage, finishing seventh in the league in both opponents' punt return average (6.8) and opponents' kickoff return average (20.2). It also ranked 11th in the NFL in kick return average (22.9).

      DeCamillis spent the 2013-14 seasons as assistant head coach/special teams coordinator for the Bears, overseeing a unit that allowed the lowest opposing kickoff return average (18.3).


      Prior to arriving in Chicago, DeCamillis was Dallas' special teams coordinator from 2009-12. The Cowboys tallied the most punt return touchdowns (six) in the NFL during that span.

      DeCamillis' first stint in Jacksonville was as its special teams coach from 2007-08. DeCamillis' coverage unit finished second in the league in average opponent field position after kickoffs (25.3-yard line) with 34 opponent returns being downed inside the 20-yard line.

      DeCamillis' NFL career started in Denver in 1989 assisting with the Broncos' football administration...
      -01-21-2021, 02:50 PM
    • RamDez
      Special Teams Hoping for Breakthrough
      by RamDez
      Thursday, May 5, 2005


      By Nick Wagoner
      Staff Writer

      Since the Rams won the Super Bowl in 1999, they have been known around the NFL for having one of the league’s most dominant offenses. The first things that come to mind when someone mentions the Rams are points, point and more points.

      While that reputation is deserved based on the production of the offense under coach Mike Martz there is still a nasty side of the team’s performance that has been just as consistent, special teams.

      That consistency has been a bad thing considering the way those units have played in recent seasons. Last year, the group hit an all-time low, ranking last in the league in kickoff return defense, next to last in punt and kick returns and second to last in punt coverage.

      Those failures led Martz to the realization that something had to change and it had to change fast.

      "That's a mistake I've made in the past when we've gone after defensive players," Martz said. "We've spent so much time looking for ability only on defense, but really didn't go into the next phase of that. You have to be equally significant on special teams. We made an issue of it this year both in free agency and the draft. So hopefully, we'll make a quantum leap."

      The changes did indeed come fast. Nearly every player the Rams signed in free agency is capable of contributing in some way on special teams. Almost every player the team drafted also has special teams abilities.

      The Rams hope that a unit that was once a major weakness will become strength. The special teams makeover wasn’t limited to personnel changes, either. Coach Mike Stock became the third special teams coach to lose his job since Martz became head coach.

      Hoping to add intensity and youth to the coaching position, the Rams hired Bob Ligashesky on January 21. Ligashesky was the assistant special teams coach for Jacksonville last season and has 20 years of coaching experience. With Ligashesky’s help, the Jaguars had one of the best special teams units in the league last year.

      The coaching changes didn’t end there. In a perfect example of just how dire the special teams situation was last year, the Rams didn’t hire just one special teams coach, but two.

      St. Louis hired Charles Bankins as assistant special teams coach on February 17. Bankins comes to the Rams from Hampton University, where he was the running backs coach from 2000-2004. The commitment to special teams started with the two coaches, but as the previous three coaches proved, there is only so much you can do when you aren’t on the field.

      With that in mind, the Rams signed a number of players that can contribute as much to the special teams as they can to the defense. Heading that list is former Arizona Cardinal Michael Stone.

      Stone was the team’s top target for the secondary in...
      -05-05-2005, 12:53 PM
    • RamWraith
      New attitude pays off for special teams
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      09/15/2006

      Given the shoddy level of Rams special teams play in recent years, it smacks of a misprint. Maybe it was someone's idea of a joke to turn the league-wide stats upside down.

      But there it is for all to see. After Week 1 of NFL play, the Rams rank 10th in the league in both kickoff coverage and punt coverage.

      "I know we talked about it being an attitude, an approach, and a mentality," coach Scott Linehan said. "The thing I noticed is they wanted to make a statement, too."

      The revamped Rams defense certainly made a statement in Sunday's 18-10 victory over Denver: that it no longer planned on being league doormats. The coverage units seemed to be saying they were finished being the NFL version of the Autobahn: go as fast and as far as you want on us.


      "We've had our struggles since I've been here," said long snapper Chris Massey, a five-year veteran. "I guess the low point for me was the Atlanta playoff game, when (Allen Rossum) had all those returns on the punt team."

      In that 2004 NFC divisional playoff game, Rossum gained 152 yards on punt returns, an NFL postseason record. One of his returns went 68 yards for a TD in a 47-17 Falcons victory.

      "It was a really miserable feeling that game," Massey said.

      Then again, there have been many miserable moments recently for Rams special teams. Beginning with the 2001 season, the Rams have ranked no higher than 30th in the league in kickoff coverage. Beginning with the 2002 season, the Rams have ranked no higher than 27th in punt coverage.

      Based on what happened against Denver, that's all about to change under second-year special teams coach Bob Ligashesky.

      The Broncos had only 3 return yards on three Matt Turk punts. One punt resulted in a fair catch, and another rolled into the end zone for a touchback. Even with the touchback, the Rams rank fifth in the league in net punting with a 42.3-yard average.

      Even more impressive was the work of the kickoff coverage unit. Because of all those Jeff Wilkins field goals, the Rams kicked off seven times. Three resulted in touchbacks. None of the four that was returned went for more than 21 yards. As a result, no Denver drive started any farther than the Broncos' 21-yard line following a Rams kickoff.

      "Our coverage teams were awesome," Wilkins said. "Seeing the returner coming at me, and then getting tackled right around the 20-yard line every time, that was a good feeling. We're going to keep that up, hopefully."

      The combination of deep Wilkins kickoffs and superb kickoff coverage has the Rams ranked second in the league in opponent's average drive start. The Broncos' average starting point after kickoffs was their 19.7-yard line.
      ...
      -09-15-2006, 04:23 AM
    Working...
    X