Rams could call defense by committee all year

Nearly three months since the St. Louis Rams lost their

defensive coordinator, coach Jeff Fisher appears to be in no hurry

to define roles among the handful of people capable of filling the


Fisher believes if the game plan is sound, it doesn’t matter who

makes the calls.

”The most difficult part of the week is putting the plan

together,” Fisher said Thursday. ”Calling the defense and those

kinds of things is not as difficult as putting the plan together

and being right and adjusting. We’re more than capable of doing all

three of those things.”

The coordinator work has been handled at various times by

assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and

linebackers coach Blake Williams, the son of suspended Gregg

Williams, exiled indefinitely for his role in the Saints bounty


Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis wouldn’t be surprised if the

Rams go the entire season without having one man responsible for

game-day play-calling, because so many assistants are well-schooled

in the defense.

Laurinaitis finds media curiosity about the coordinator question

somewhat humorous.

”They’re no dummies, they know you guys are out there trying to

figure out all the secrets,” Laurinaitis said. ”It’s funny how

they all think similarly. They all know the purpose behind it is to

be aggressive.”

McGinnis, Cecil and Fisher have been NFL defensive coordinators,

and Williams absorbed the Fisher system growing up. McGinnis is the

logical game-day choice because he has no specific position

responsibilities, but said nothing’s been decided.

”That’s up to Jeff, but believe me, we will get that handled,”

McGinnis said. ”You’ve got enough experience on this staff and

enough expertise, and with Jeff’s leadership that’s covered.”

McGinnis described it as a unique staff because of all the

experience, but didn’t think it would be unusual if the roles

remained undefined on Sundays.

”I don’t think it’s unique,” McGinnis said. ”I mean, we’re

going to call a defense and make them punt. On your mark, get set,


Laurinaitis gets much of the responsibility. He’s led the Rams

in tackles all three of his NFL seasons, and McGinnis called him a

”perfect” middle linebacker for the system.

”He has to be so in tune, I mean, he has to be right in the

defensive coaches’ skin,” McGinnis said. ”I interviewed him at

the combine when he came out and I loved him then, and I love him

even more now because he’s exactly what you need.”

Rookies will spend another week in St. Louis, but the rest of

the team was cut loose until the start of training camp in late

July with the reminder to take care of themselves. Fisher joked to

a group of suite and luxury box holders who attended practice to be

careful in the parking lot, referring to a mass exodus of players,

but before sending players off he reiterated a warning about

potential pitfalls.

”It may not be you on the four-wheeler or the wave runner, it

may be you and someone else on a boat,” Fisher said. ”The most

important thing from today until the time they report and after

that is to come back in the best shape they possibly can and not

put themselves in compromising positions, whether that’s social

media or after midnight or behind the wheel. We talk about it all

the time.”

It was a message that rookie wide receiver Brian Quick, a

second-round pick who is expected to step up immediately, didn’t

need to hear.

”No vacation, no days off,” Quick said. ”There’s no need to

take a vacation and waste all that you’ve done. They’re depending

on me and I’m going to come back going 100 mph.”

So far, Fisher has been impressed with the players’ commitment

to rapidly rebuilding a franchise that’s just 15-65 the last five

seasons. He said all but seven of the players on the 55-man roster

had over 90 percent attendance at minicamps and organized team

activities and about 40 players had 100 percent attendance.

”I just love to be around this group of guys,” offensive

coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. ”They are working really,

really hard.”