Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay experienced the most notable victory of his young coaching career by leading his team to a Super Bowl LVI triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. McVay made history by becoming the youngest coach to capture a Lombardi Trophy at the tender age of 36. It qualified as an especially sweet victory after McVay was defeated just three years ago in Super Bowl LIII by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. McVay's future now shockingly hangs in the balance as he reportedly considers retirement. McVay's latest comments don't inspire much confidence, and they tend to indicate he's legitimately considering stepping away from the grind that is coaching in order to spend more time with his family. Owner Stan Kroenke and general manager Les Snead must now await McVay's potentially franchise-altering decision. Should McVay indeed step away, the Rams would be forced to embark on an unprecedented head coaching search deep into the month of February, and possibly beyond. The options would remain limited, but we've identified three candidates the Rams could consider should the unthinkable occur.
RAHEEM MORRISRAMS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR The search for McVay’s successor would likely begin in-house before seeking out and interviewing candidates outside the organization. Luckily for the Rams, they possess a few worthy applicants on McVay's current staff. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris would immediately become a legitimate candidate after doing an exceptional job with a star-studded defensive unit that helped power the Rams to Super Bowl LVI. A two-time former head coach with 59 games of regular-season experience, Morris has a proven track record as a respected leader that's done an excellent job repairing a previously damaged reputation throughout his second act. Morris won his second Super Bowl on Sunday after previously winning his first Lombardi Trophy as a member of Tampa Bay's coaching staff in the early 2000s. Morris nearly won another Super Bowl while serving as Atlanta's assistant head coach and wide receivers coach in the Falcons' unfortunate 28-3 meltdown in Super Bowl LI against the Patriots. Morris later did a nice job while serving as Atlanta's interim head coach in 2020. Morris has an excellent relationship already in place with the Rams' brass and would represent the most seamless transition imaginable.
THOMAS BROWNRAMS ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/RUNNING BACKS COACH Sticking with our in-house theme, assistant head coach and running backs coach Thomas Brown may be the most underrated member of McVay's sought-after staff. Brown joined McVay in 2020 and quickly rose through the ranks while immediately earning McVay's trust and stamp of approval. The 35-year-old Brown is an ascending coach that's already interviewed for head coaching vacancies around the league. He certainly projects as a future head coach and his opportunity could arrive sooner rather than later should McVay step down. Promoting the offensive-minded Brown would represent the best-case scenario for a Rams organization that surely would want to maintain the offensive identity McVay has brilliantly built throughout the years. Brown also possesses a strong relationship with quarterback Matthew Stafford, as the two were actually teammates with the Georgia Bulldogs for two collegiate seasons (2006-07). Brown was a sixth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft and played three years professionally. His background as a player helps him relate to a locker room he's fully capable of commanding. Sticking the course should be the ultimate goal for Kroenke and Snead, and Brown would help the Rams achieve as much of that as possible in McVay's absence.
DAN QUINNCOWBOYS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Dan Quinn served as one of the more popular candidates for several teams across the 2021 head coaching cycle. Quinn ultimately opted to return to Dallas to serve as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator in 2022 after presumably failing to land the job he truly desired. Quinn's decision to remain in Dallas could possibly be swayed should a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arise in Los Angeles. Should the Rams venture outside the organization, Quinn would likely be viewed as a strong candidate. A plethora of teams showed interest in hiring Quinn in recent weeks, and the former Falcons coach may represent the best option that marries continuity with a strong new presence of leadership. The defensive-minded Quinn previously employed Morris in Atlanta and would likely retain Morris as Los Angeles' defensive coordinator. Quinn is also plenty familiar with Los Angeles' offensive scheme after hiring current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator in Atlanta. Shanahan's offense is rooted in the same principles as McVay's, and Quinn would likely hire an offensive coordinator capable of keeping the current system in place. Finding a coach from the shared Shanahan-McVay tree that isn't already in a starring role elsewhere (Zac Taylor, Kevin O'Connell, Mike LaFleur, Matt LaFleur, etc.) may prove to be difficult, but Quinn could always promote coach Brown to offensive coordinator if push comes to shove. Some outside candidates could include Tennessee Titans offensive line coach Keith Carter and 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, both of whom previously worked for Quinn (and Shanahan) in Atlanta.
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