Los Angeles Rams: Does Sean McVay Need Help?

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Early in the Los Angeles Rams’ season, there were sparks of conversation about firing head coach Sean McVay. These conversations might’ve been misled but they did indeed happen. It is now a moot point, the Rams have somewhat steadied on the “good but not great” boat, and will likely finish 9-7; it would be the third straight winning season for Sean McVay. 

Winning games like the Rams have this season isn’t sustainable. They have dominated for maybe eight quarters in the entire season. The main focus point for weakness on this LA Rams team is the offensive side of the ball. McVay has been touted as a master play-caller, but he has failed to adjust when his team really needed it. 

Coming into the Dallas Cowboys game, McVay had been hot off of an offensive showcase, mixing up formations and play calls in a dominant showing against the Seattle Seahawks. It gave the Rams life. Then, against the Dallas Cowboys, McVay’s offense went back to being safe. It resulted in a three-score loss for his team. 

After the game, mentions of a potential Jay Gruden pairing as an offensive play calling duo was thrown around, but that seems uber-unrealistic in a setting where some teams will be looking for a head coach. Gruden will be swooped up. A more realistic scenario is poaching the top offensive coordinators and position coaches around the league. Just as the Rams did with Matt LeFleur, the Rams’ former offensive coordinator and current Green Bay Packers head coach. 

Tampa Bay No-More

The first candidate I would put on the Rams’ wishlist is current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Leftwich has said in the past that being an OC and helping quarterbacks is “what I was meant to do” so can he help Jared Goff and Sean McVay adjust this offense? Leftwich has turned the Bucs into a formidable offense, aside from Jameis Winston’s infamous turnover habits. The Bucs are in the top three in the NFL in total offense. They are first in passing yards-per-game (308.8), and despite being a bottom-tier rushing team (91 yds/game) the team is still averaging 29.7 points per game. In large part because of Leftwich. Leftwich brings variation, he brings a fresh input while also boosting the passing game and Jared Goff. 

While he may bring some of the same positive attributes that McVay has, Leftwich is a worthy offensive mind that deserves some bigger-market offensive coordinator love. 

Kansas City’s Rising Star

Mike Kafka, the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback’s coach, is my second candidate to assist Sean McVay next year. Kafka spent his first year of coaching with the Chiefs as an “offensive quality control coach” and his second year was spent as a full-time quarterbacks coach. In his time with Kansas City, he has really generated talk of a potential head coaching gig, but taking a role as a head OC of the Los ANgeles Rams can be a great start to a promising career. 

Allbright also noted that current Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy will be getting a lot of attention as well. The Rams can give Kafka a promotion while letting him have input on an offense that has a ton of eyes on it, and the Rams would be getting a quality offensive mind in the building to assist McVay.

Picking Off Minnesota

The third and final outside candidate that could be readily available is Kennedy Polamalu. He is the current Minnesota Vikings running backs coach. Polamalu has spent nine years in the NFL as a coach and he has coached 28 years in total. With Minnesota, he has become essential in their running game’s effectiveness and implementation. He has definitely been one of the reasons for Dalvin Cook’s recent explosion. Polamalu has had success wherever he’s traveled throughout his coaching career. 

In his collegiate coaching tenures, he has coached UCLA’s Paul Perkins to two-straight 1,000-yard seasons. He coordinated USC’s offense with QB Matt Barkley and under Polamalu’s system Barkley became USC’s all-time leading passer (12,327 yds, 116 TDs) and running back Curtis McNeal was a 1,000-yard rusher. Polamalu can coach, and as the Rams’ running back room may be the most perplexing in the league. McVay has been criticized for abandoning his run game for the past year. An extra voice in the room with solidified experience could be beneficial. Kennedy Polamalu just might be that guy. 

Inside Guys

These coaches are all outside candidates, but the Rams have some options inside the building as well. Jedd Fisch and Shane Waldron all have a piece in this offense, but how much? Both coaches can have improved roles and/or an official OC role moving forward, much like Matt Lafleur had in his stint with the team. Aaron Kromer should be another name in the conversation. Kromer has been good everywhere with Los Angeles so another move could be in the works.

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