Rams name Walton defensive coordinator
ST. LOUIS (AP) Finally, the St. Louis Rams have a defensive coordinator.
After interviewing several big-name candidates, including Rob Ryan, Mike Singletary and Dick Jauron, coach Jeff Fisher decided on Tim Walton, a Lions secondary coach who is still building his resume.
"At the end of the day, you take advantage of patience, and we did so," Fisher said Friday at a news conference to announce the hire. "Without hesitation, he is absolutely the right guy."
Fisher said he spent two days with Jauron and one with Singletary, neither of whom he felt were good fits because of differences in terminology. Ryan, hired as the Saint defensive coordinator last week, got a longer look before backing out.
"We went down the road and spent a lot of time together and that's what you have to do, you can't just kneejerk react and run out and hire somebody," Fisher said. "We did that with Rob, we spent a day together with the staff and just felt at the end of the day it was not the right fit."
The Rams finally settled on the 41-year-old Walton, whose top selling point for Fisher was familiarity with the system. Walton coached under former Fisher aide Jim Schwartz in Detroit, who runs a similar defense.
Walton understands it so well that Fisher tried to hire him last year as defensive coordinator/passing game. Walton got additional responsibilities in Detroit, adding third down responsibilities to his title, and the Rams went without a coordinator to replace Gregg Williams, who was suspended all season for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal.
"Yeah, I ended up staying around with that," Walton said in a conference call with reporters. "I could have easily still come up there. I'm extremely excited that I get a chance to be involved with him this year. He is a very knowledgeable coach, and a great guy. I hope I get to be there for a long time."
Fisher said he had a "great deal of interest in Tim last year and for whatever reason it did not work out. Things aren't necessarily going to change from the process standpoint," Fisher added, "he just fits in and makes us better."
Walton planned on being on the job Monday and then will accompany the team to the NFL combine. He said adjusting to the style would be an "easy transition and a smooth transition."
"They've got a lot of great players, a great atmosphere and a great attitude," Walton said. "It's a great opportunity for me."
Fisher had little to say about cutting ties with Williams, a longtime former aide. The Rams hired Frank Bush as linebackers coach last week after firing Williams' son, linebackers coach Blake Williams.
"We had obviously from March when the commissioner made the decision all the way through the end of the year to contemplate that," Fisher said. "And we just felt as an organization it was best to go on."
Fisher was among three former defensive coordinators who shared responsibilities in his first season in St. Louis after Williams was suspended. Williams was reinstated last week and hired by the Titans, where he previously worked under Fisher as a senior defensive assistant.
The Lions had injury woes on defense last year. Still, they were 10th in the NFL in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert 36.5 percent of their chances.
Walton also was a college coach for 14 seasons, including stints as a defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and Memphis. He was on the LSU staff in 2003 for a team that won the BCS national title.
In college, Walton lettered four seasons at Ohio State as a defensive back and was a co-captain for the 1993 Big Ten championship team.
Fisher said the college coordinating experience was "not important," adding that "what goes on Sunday is a collective effort."
Bush was linebackers coach at Tennessee the past two seasons and is entering his 23rd season coaching in the NFL. He previously was defensive coordinator for two seasons in Houston.ams Head Coach Jeff Fisher has hired Tim Walton to serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, the Rams announced Friday.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to add Coach Walton to our staff,” Fisher said. “Tim is a talented coach and he’s spent the last four years working in our system. He will be a huge asset to our staff and we are all looking forward to working with him.”
The 2013 season will be Walton’s 19th in coaching. He spent the last four years with the Detroit Lions where he guided the team’s secondary, and last season, he added the title of third down package coach. Walton helped Detroit finish 10th in the NFL last season in third down defense as the Lions allowed opponents to convert just 36.5 percent of their third down attempts.
Prior to his time in Detroit, Walton spent 14 seasons coaching on the collegiate level. During that time, he coached 13 players who were eventually drafted into the NFL, including five first round picks and four second round picks.
Walton’s college tenure included two stints as a defensive coordinator. He held the position at Memphis in 2008 and at Miami (Fla.) in 2007. In total, he spent four seasons with the Hurricanes. Walton was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator in 2007 and helped propel the defense to a national ranking of 33rd in total defense. In his first three seasons at Miami, he coached the defensive backs and the Miami secondary ranked in the top 10 nationally in pass defense in 2004 (ninth) and 2005 (first).
In 2005, Walton's pass defense led the nation, allowing only 152.17 yards per game, and featured All-Americans safety Brandon Meriweather and cornerback Kelly Jennings as well as Freshman All-American Kenny Phillips.
Walton was at LSU in 2003 and his defensive backs were a key factor in the Tigers earning the 2003 BCS National Championship and a Southeastern Conference title. The LSU defense ranked among the nation's top three in four-of-five major defensive statistical categories: total defense (first, 252.0 yards per game), scoring defense (first, 11.0 ppg), pass efficiency defense (second, 89.8 rating) and rushing defense (third, 67.0 yards per game). Additionally, LSU ranked 18th nationally in passing yardage defense (185.0 ypg) while leading the SEC in four of the five defensive categories, including a No. 2 ranking in the league in pass defense.
In his first stint with Memphis (2000-01), Walton coached defensive backs. In 2000, the Tigers ranked fifth in the nation in total defense (first in rush defense), allowing only 275 yards per game and placed in the top 15 nationally in passing and scoring defense. He left Memphis to coach defensive backs at Syracuse for the 2002 season.
Walton began his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at Bowling Green in 1995. He was promoted to running backs coach in 1996 and then moved to coach the defensive backs in 1999.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Walton has had three summer internships with NFL teams. He spent the summer of 1998 serving as a defensive intern with the Chicago Bears, the summer of 2001 as a defensive intern for the Green Bay Packers and in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under current Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
As a defensive back at Ohio State, Walton lettered four seasons and served as co-captain for the Big Ten champions in 1993. During his time with the Buckeyes, OSU went to four bowl games, including the Liberty Bowl in 1990. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from OSU in 1994.
Walton and his wife, Tracy, have three children: Trei, Timia and Tyler.