"Josh McDaniels’ return to the NFL is expected to come within the next 24 hours, and it sounds like he’s headed to St. Louis."-- ProFootballTalk.com
Things have been awful quiet around St. Louis following the much-trumpeted interview on Saturday between Josh McDaniels and the Rams' Billy Devaney. Much was made of McDaniels' arrival, but keeping in character, Devaney is playing his cards rather close to the chest. Not so much as a Jim Thomas blog nugget or Harold Balzer tweet has emerged with any hint of the interview's outcome.
However, PFT's Mike Florio is channeling Karnac once again, and predicts that McDaniels' brief time on the unemployment rolls is about to end. (President Obama is expected to release a statement trumpeting the hire as a sign of the economic recovery, as soon as it's confirmed.)
If true, it's almost fait accompli that McDaniels will choose the Rams, as his only other confirmed interview has been with the downtrodden Minnesota Vikings. Why choose the Rams over the Vikings? Here's a short (and somewhat obvious) list:
- The Rams have a quarterback; the Vikings don't. Brett Favre filed his retirement papers yet again, and while that may or may not mean that he's really, really done, it likely means he's done in Minnesota, which leaves an unhealthy mess of Tarvaris Jackson, Joe Webb and whatever mystery meat can be signed. Ugly.
- The Vikings are likely in full rebuild mode. Zygi Wilf just shelled out massive dollars in Super-Bowl-or-bust season, and hit bust. Now with several prominent players set for free agency, including the Williams brothers and WR Sidney Rice, and the price tag for pulling Favre back out of retirement even higher than it was a year ago, it would cost ridiculous money just to bring back the core of a 6-10 catastrophe. With Ted Thompson's Packers providing the model of sustainable success (i.e. draft well & draft deep, shy away from marquee FAs) in the NFC North, expect the Vikings to blow everything up and follow suit.
- The Rams, by comparison, are ripe for reinvestment. Stan Kroenke's only big-ticket purchase since taking over full control of the Rams has been Sam Bradford's $50 million guarantee; that investment has paid off handsomely with a six-win improvement over last season, five home wins and multiple sellouts. Clearly, though, the fields are ripe for reseeding, and Kroenke should not be afraid to spend good money on this foundation. A mature and passionate sports owner, Kroenke has shown willingness to invest in success with the Avalanche and Nuggets.
- This should mean that better talent to work with will be available on the Rams than in Minnesota. For McDaniels, or any desirable offensive coordinator, weighing the resources available to you has to be a critical component of weighing your job options.
If Florio's ruminations hold true and McDaniels follows this logical course, it means the drama of the Rams' search for a new offensive shepherd could be rather short-lived; a mini-series rather than a drawn-out soap opera. However, that might be nothing compared to the potential dramatic clash of personalities between McDaniels's tendency to push the offensive envelope and Spagnuolo's history of playing it safe.
The stakes are higher now for the Rams than they've been in a decade, but with experience in the cauldrons of New York and New England, McD and Spags should be able to handle it just fine.