When you look over the last couple weeks of Los Angeles Rams-related news, and there’s been quite a bit, there have been two main items of interest: 1. Who will the Rams keep or let go in terms of players, and 2. Who will be coaching the Rams in 2020? When it came to the coaching side, Wade Phillips, Skip Peete and John “Bones” Fassel left or were not retained, while they brought on Kevin O’Connell and Brandon Staley to become the Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, respectively. There was another coach that was linked to leave, and that was linebackers and assistant head coach Joe Barry.
Barry has been the linebackers coach for the Rams since 2017 after coming over from the Redskins, where he was the defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2016, to join Sean McVay in LA. Barry has been reported to have been offered the Defensive Coordinator role at the University of Southern California where he has coached previously. He was a Graduate Assistant there from 1994 to 1995, and then linebackers coach in 2010. Barry does have defensive coordinator experience back with the Redskins, and even with the Detroit Lions back in 2007 and 2008. Many would consider the USC Defensive Coordinator a step up even if that means going back to coach college football. Although, staying with the Los Angeles Rams does have its upside, and having Barry coming back is a huge deal for an organization needing some continuity:
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) January 17, 2020
On paper, when you look at why keeping Joe Barry as their assistant head coach along with being the linebackers coach it’s pretty obvious; last season, while dealing with a defense that was struggling, the linebackers were on another level. The Rams linebacker room is stacked when you have names like Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler, Samson Ebukam, Clay Matthews etc.
Barry has helped develop an undrafted rookie in Littleton to become a premier linebacker in this league, along with taking Fowler to the next step. In that, the Rams are in a tough spot on who to keep (hopefully both) between these two. It’s a luxury having guys like Clay Matthews or Samson Ebukam coming off the edge when you have talents like Fowler and Littleton in the front 7 to keep offenses honest. On top of developing those players, Barry also dealt with myriad injuries at LB last year, working into his 3rd string rotation after Hager and Kiser were IR’d.
Joe Barry is a world class coach that any team, even in college, would love to have on their staff. The Los Angeles Rams have definitely lucked out in reportedly keeping him with Brandon Staley coming in as the DC. Furthermore, with reports of McVay wanting more say on the defense, look for him to lean on Barry for some additional help. This would be logical because Barry does have defensive coordinator experience and has been McVay’s assistant head coach for the last three years. Keeping Barry will help propel the defense back to the defense of 2018 where it dominated all season.
2020 will be an excellent year for the defense, and the Rams are definitely excited to keep Barry within the fold of the coaching staff.