Opponents have raided Rams coach Sean McVay’s staff this year, hiring away a half-dozen star assistants.
It’s a headache McVay seems to have accepted as a price of success – and a chance to radically reshape his sideline roster.
The 2021 coaching staff the Rams announced Tuesday features seven new faces, five holdovers with expanded duties, and an array of freshly created job titles.
Among the promotions, running backs coach Thomas Brown got the additional title of assistant head coach, a role held by linebackers coach Joe Barry before he left to become the Packers’ defensive coordinator.
The Rams made official the hires of Kevin Carberry from Stanford to be offensive line coach; Marcus Dixon from Hampton University as assistant defensive line coach; Dwayne Stukes from the Jaguars as assistant special teams coach; and Nick Jones from the Falcons and Chris O’Hara from the Jaguars as offensive assistants.
Introduced earlier were new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.
The first Rams staff made up entirely of coaches hired since McVay took over in 2017 reflects a growing diversity of backgrounds.
Dixon, 36, is known as a one-time NFL defensive end but perhaps more for a court case that began when he was in high school near Rome, Ga. He was convicted of misdemeanor statutory rap and aggravated child molestation, the cause célèbre attracting the attention of Oprah Winfrey and civil rights leaders. He was freed from prison after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the conviction on the latter charge, but he lost a football scholarship to Vanderbilt, and played instead at Hampton.
McVay didn’t speak with reporters in unveiling the new staff but is expected to do so in the coming days.
With the Rams revealing Tuesday that special-teams assistant coach Tory Woodbury is no longer on the staff, eight assistants have left the team since its second-round exit from the playoffs. The most prominent is defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, hired by the Chargers as head coach. The NFL’s top-ranked defense also lost Barry and cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant.
On the 19-man coaching staff, only McVay, offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and wide receivers coach Eric Yarber have exactly the same job titles as last season.
In addition to Brown becoming assistant head coach, tight ends coach Wes Phillips is adding the title of pass game coordinator, replacing Shane Waldron, now the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator; former outside linebackers coach Chris Shula’s job is now called linebackers coach, covering his and Barry’s roles; former safeties coach Ejiro Evero now coach of the entire secondary as well as defensive pass game coordinator; and defensive line coach Eric Henderson is taking on the additional tag of defensive run game coordinator.
The defensive pass- and run-game coordinator titles are new. So are the titles of linebackers and secondary coach and assistant coach, which replace the old roles of inside and outside linebackers coaches and cornerbacks and safeties coaches.
RAMS 2021 COACHING STAFF
Sean McVay, head coach
Kevin O’Connell, offense
Raheem Morris, defense
Joe DeCamillis, special teams
Thomas Brown, running backs and assistant head coach
Wes Phillips, tight ends and pass game coordinator
Eric Yarber, wide receivers
Zac Robinson, assistant quarterbacks
Kevin Carberry, offensive line
Zak Kromer, Nick Jones, Chris O’Hara, offensive assistants
Eric Henderson, defensive line and run game coordinator
Ejiro Evero, secondary and defensive pass game coordinator
Chris Shula, linebackers
Marcus Dixon, assistant defensive line
Thad Bogardus, assistant linebackers
Jonathan Cooley, assistant secondary
Dwayne Stukes, assistant special teams
John Bonamego, senior coaching assistant
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
Justin Lovett, director
Jamel Cooper, John Griffin, Zach Witherspoon, assistants