After many seasons of playing like they didn't have a Defensive Coordinator, the St. Louis Rams let it be known that they were going to make it official in 2012 and not name an official assistant coach in charge of half (sometimes more) of a game, going with a committee approach instead.
Technically, I guess the Rams do have a Defensive Coordinator in Gregg Williams. But the only coach more toxic in the eyes of the sport is one Gerald Sandusky.
The Rams haven't fired Williams since his indefinite suspension from the NFL, but he's persona non grata in pro football since the explosion of Bountygate and the release of his pre-game speeches imploring players to sweep the leg of anyone playing offense. At least he didn't force the Saints to call him the 'Ticklemonster'.
But back to the Rams.
They're really not hiring a defensive coordinator to replace Williams and call the shots.
Seriously. This isn't some sort of Onion-esque satire.
Instead they'll rely on assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil, and linebackers coach Blake Williams (Gregg Williams' son) to implement a game plan and call plays/formations on game day. Head Coach Jeff Fisher appears to have the final say if a consensus can't be reached.
Only a St. Louis professional football team. (Side: imagine if Dallas or Philly rolled this out. I'm pretty sure that they'd be on 24 hour round the clock reporting at Rams park on ESPN.)
Let's take a look at what the Rams did WITH a coordinator in 2011: Total Defense? 22nd. Rush Defense? 31st. INTs? 23rd. Sacks? 15th. In case we're scoring at home, there are 32 teams in the NFL. So these numbers aren't what the kids would call "good."
Far from, actually. But again, they're just going to wing it.
Listen, I'm the last guy to criticize a Rams coach for letting his apple bag hang out. The worst part of the Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo eras wasn't that the teams were bad... it's that the teams were bad and neither of these men took a chance even when he had nothing to lose. Hell, I nicknamed Linehan 'Cheese Pizza' he was so plain. Maybe you hated Mike Martz (and I didn't always agree with his decisions) but at least the mothertrucker made it interesting to talk Rams football on Monday morning.
The past 6 seasons have been the Groundhog Day of shit football. And we didn't have a Bill Murray to entertain us.
So Fisher wants to see just how important Defensive Coordinators are, does he? Being the Rams, it's probably going to end spectacularly and with a lively NFL Countdown debate on just how stupid the Rams are. But at least it's something to talk about. And if it happens to work, does this not change the status quo in football for the past 30 years?
Same deal with the risky draft picks. They're not going to all pan out, in fact, they never all do. But if the Rams actually hit on a few stars to balance out the inevitable bone-headedness that is coming at some point this year... that's a win. More balls. More putting your neck out. All of it makes for something the Rams haven't had since George Bush was in office: intrigue.
People are going to make fun of the Rams because they don't have a defensive coordinator.
People have already made fun of the Rams for taking chances on kids that many people don't think deserve them.
At least people are paying attention. Frankly, we're not used to that.