This morning, Ryan from TurfShowTimes picked up on a thread of conversation linking Josh McDaniels to the Kansas City Chiefs. There's a good chance, say those with their ears to the walls, that McD will be heading that way in some capacity when the offseason makeover begins on the far side of the state.
We knew this would be a factor at the beginning of the year, when the Rams brought McDaniels on board. He is a young and ambitious coach who will want a chance to become a head coach again, and sooner rather than later. This job, this chance to work with one of the more gifted young quarterbacks in the game, was to be his chance at redemption, a springboard to his next job opportunity. Whether he followed the Mike Martz path and took the head coaching job from within, or the Pat Shurmur path and used Sam Bradford's name as his calling card in job interviews elsewhere.
The hope here was that McDaniels could stay long enough -- two years, minimum -- and have such accelerated success establishing an offensive bedrock that the Rams woul be able to build a succession plan, and maintain that most precious of commodities for young quarterbacks: consistency.
Now, though the Rams' plan for offensive continuity for Bradford will be taking a slightly different tack: starting by divesting themselves of McDaniels as quickly as possible. If Kansas City wants him, let them have him.
Yes, the best possible plan for Bradford and the Rams begins with the knowledge that he will be working under his fourth offensive coordinator in four years. Take that dose of foul-tasting medicine, swallow it, and then consider the alternative:
- McDaniels stays in St Louis (and in our draft room) for another year, experiences a mild offensive rebound year, and then departs.
- The Rams must try to backfill their offense with a thin branch from the depopulated Belichick coaching tree. Charlie Weis, now coach of the University of Kansas, would be a difficult get. Bill O'Brien, current offensive coordinator of the Patriots, would be difficult to entice. There are few other names of note worth investing in.
- Bradford begins work with his fourth offensive coordinator in five years, little better than where we stand now.
- The lockout prevented any meaningful interaction between McDaniels and his offensive players to explain the nuances of his option routes.
- The rest of the Rams' offensive staff was a holdover from Shurmur's offense, which is telling on two fronts: 1) Shurmur didn't deem any of them valuable enough to take with him, and 2) McDaniels had to double his teaching efforts.
- He lost a key playmaker in Danny Amendola, a universal joint of underneath routes that extends drives and opens playbooks.
- His two offensive tackles took dramatic steps backward, which made it impossible for Bradford to hang in the pocket for the 3 to 5 seconds necessary to let long-developing plays unfold.
- He wasn't able to import any players fluent in his scheme until Brandon Lloyd arrived, and by then it was too late.
@RamsHerd don't overlook the possible battle of egos btwn Spags and McD that people talked about before the season
A good point, and one that could explain several puzzling play-calls (repeating a failed run play on third and fourth down, waffling and wasting clock at the end of a two-minute drill, etc.) and dramatic shifts in offensive tone throughout the game.
But this is no time to decry the unfairness of it all. The fact is that McDaniels had a very limited window to prove himself, and prove the worth of this offense. He failed to do so, and that window is now closed. And as Shane Clemons of This Given Sunday points out, when McDaniels presents his calling card in his next job interview, he'll likely be listing another quarterback's name at the top of his resume: Tim Tebow.
It's cold, and unfortunate, but it's the truth. For the sake of continuity, the Rams' rebuilding must begin with McDaniels' exit. Let continuity begin with the next hire.