The Rams have taken another hit in the coaching department. The first came with the Loss of Quarterback Coach, Greg Olson, to the Oakland Raiders. Today, it was announced that Offensive Coordinator, Matt LaFluer, has taken a job with the Tennessee Titans.
Olson has found success in his time in the NFL. Olson joined the Rams in 2006. At that time, the Rams were the third-ranked passing offense, averaging 247.6 yards per game. The Rams, under Olson’s tenure, were just the fourth team in NFL history to produce a 4000 yard passer, with Marc Bulger, a 1500 yard rusher, with Stephen Jackson, and two 1000 yard receivers, with Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce. Upon leaving the Rams, Olson continued to find success until being reunited with the team under Sean McVay. It would be safe to assume he deserves some credit for the success of second-year quarterback Jared Goff.
This is where the impact of Olson’s departure will be felt. Young Goff has not seen much continuity at the position, but with Zac Taylor, former Wide Receiver Coach, set to take over, there may be some familiarity. Taylor will be his Goff’s third quarterback coach in as many years.
Rams have an interesting approach in filling LaFluer’s position. Aaron Kromer, Offensive Line Coach, and Shane Waldron, Tight End Coach, will split offensive responsibilities. Kromer was named Run Game Coordinator and Waldron was named Pass Game Coordinator.
Kromer, much like Olson, has had success in the league. In 2002 to 2004 Kromer’s first years as an offensive line coach in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, he produced two, three-time pro bowlers for the team, the Raiders also went to a Super Bowl in that time. In 2009 Kromer was the offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints. Under his tenure as OL coach, the Saints sent five players to a combined nine Pro Bowls and tied for the fewest sacks in the league with 96. The Saints won Super Bowl XLIV with Kromer as their offensive line coach. In his time with the Chicago Bears, Kromer helped create the second-best scoring offense in the NFL with 445 points. That Bears team beat records for yards, touchdowns, passing yards and first downs.
For Kromer, the move to Run Game Coordinator seems like a natural move. Continuing to work with the offensive line means that the Rams shouldn’t see much drop off at the offensive line positions.
Head Coach, Sean McVay will continue to call plays in his second year and says he is confident in Kromer and Waldron in their new roles on offense. McVay has made it clear that play development is a group effort, and this is where losing LaFluer may hurt. Although McVay calls the plays, losing a part of the group that has made the offense successful could potentially have a negative impact. Jedd Fisch, Former UCLA Offensive Coordinator, was also added to the offensive coaching staff as a Senior Offensive Assistant with the departure of Olson. Fisch’s role will primarily be in gameday management and situational instances.
Losing an offensive coordinator and a quarterback coach after one successful season is not ideal and there will certainly be an impact. The magnitude of that impact will depend on the ability of the team to continue to surround themselves with talent. The Rams have made some moves that seem natural. Promoting staff from within shows trust in the core group to remain successful and it brings an element of familiarity that this young team needs.