Last week it was announced that the Los Angeles Rams and Head Coach Jeff Fisher had reached a contract extension. Since that extension was made during the season, it meant that Jeff Fisher could still be on the hot seat. Rams ownership even stated that just because there was an agreement it did not mean Fisher was safe. This was proven on Monday when Fisher was fired. Speculation now begins as to who will replace the mediocre head coach. Let us discuss 5 possibilities.
Shaw has been a sought after head coach for many NFL openings in the past. He has obviously turned them down. However, this could be an ideal spot for him. There was already a rumor circulating that he may step down from his job at Stanford University and become the offensive coordinator for the Rams. Then the firing of Jeff Fisher occurred. This now opens the door for him to become the head coach. Shaw has had much success on the college side. He has a career record of 63-17, he has won 3 Pac-12 Championships, and he has been named Pac-12 Coach of the year three times. I see this a good fit for the Rams. He has a young QB, a young RB, and a top 10 NFL defense. Shaw also would get to stay in the California area. This is something that, I think, has not been said with previous openings. If the Rams really want to transition to a new identity this could be a great start.
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Harbaugh is one of the most popular choices for the front office of the Los Angeles Rams. His turnaround of the San Francisco 49ers gives him an advantage in the market. He was able to take a young team and make it a yearly contender. The front office of the 49ers and Harbaugh had some clashes and so he proceeded to leave for the University of Michigan, his alma mater. Harbaugh has been heard as saying he does not like staying anywhere more than 4 years. This could limit him as far as choices. However, I think that if he was producing a consistent winner in the NFL that he would tend to stay in one spot.
Harbaugh is exceptional at working with young QBs. Bringing him in to work with Jared Goff would help make this kid an NFL QB. He also has a solid offensive mind and would make the Rams offense respectable once again. Jim Harbaugh right now is the number choice in LA. The question is, Can they lure him back to the NFL?
Kyle Shanahan is one of the most talked about young assistant coaches in the NFL. He has taken a multitude of young players and made them stars in the league. He has been a solid offensive coordinator and position coach for years in the league. He is also well-known for his work with young QBs. He made Matt Schaub a solid starter in Houston with the Texans, Shanahan had a phenomenal 2012 season with RG3 and the Washington Redskins, and his 2016 season with the Atlanta Falcons is nothing short of spectacular as well. As a solid, well established NFL Coach, I would like to put Kyle Shanahan in this position. Also, with the youth on the offensive side of the ball, Shanahan could make some magic return to Los Angeles.
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Many have said that Jon Gruden is much like that of Bill Cowher in that he is happy in his TV arena. I do not feel that is the case. I think if the right situation came up, Gruden could return to the sideline for one more run. This could be that situation. Gruden would come in with a young, moldable QB. That is something that he is known for. I give him credit for turning around Kirk Cousins into the QB that he is today. He would have that shifty but yet powerful runner. This all coupled with a top 10 NFL defense makes the Los Angeles Rams an attractive option. Yes, Gruden would have some growing pains in the first year or two. Especially having to build some weapons and the o-line, but those are expected. It is the youth on offense and an established defense that would attract a guy like Jon Gruden.
This is the one candidate that is not being talked about very much. Josh McDaniels, in my opinion, is the least likely of the 5 candidates. He currently has 1 very unsuccessful head coaching attempt under his belt. He also has a previous stint within the Ram organization. He was the OC for the 2011 season. This coupled with the fact that he is as solid as Tom Brady in the New England organization makes him a long shot. There has been some that say he is the heir apparent to Bill Belichick when he retires. Putting all this into the pot makes McDaniels a long shot to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
The Los Angeles Rams is a very attractive coaching gig. They have plenty of youth on both sides of the ball, they are moving into a new stadium, and they play in warm weather. Each of these candidates has their positives and negatives. It is going to be interesting who they decide. The franchise favorite, right now, is Jim Harbaugh but I would lay my odds on Kyle Shanahan.