St. Louis Rams – Blog

McDaniels Adds Sizzle

Posted by nickwagoner on January 19, 2011 – 2:55 PM

- After intense negotiations that featured a rollercoaster ride of will he or won’t he all day Tuesday, the Rams and Josh McDaniels finally committed to each other just before 5:30 Tuesday evening.

- As the Rams named McDaniels their new offensive coordinator, they sent a statement to the rest of the league that they are going to do everything possible to make this offense one of the league’s most explosive.

- In McDaniels, the Rams snared one of the league’s brightest young offensive minds. When he was offensive coordinator in New England, McDaniels helped Tom Brady and that offense reach heights never before seen in the NFL.

- Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said his respect for McDaniels made the young coordinator a natural fit.

““We are happy to announce that Josh will be a part of our staff,” Spagnuolo said. “I’ve always recognized that he is one of the top offensive minds in the NFL. We think he is a great addition to our organization.”

- Spagnuolo and McDaniels have had a number of battles through the years, none more so than the one that concluded the 2007 season in Super Bowl XVII when McDaniels had led the most prolific offense in league history to an undefeated season against Spagnuolo’s dominant Giants defense. In that memorable contest, it was Spagnuolo that came out on top but there’s no doubt that the mutual respect the pair walked away with for each other was abundant.

- Even this season, Spagnuolo and McDaniels squared off again when McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos in a Rams’ victory in Denver.

- Going back before those jobs, Spagnuolo and McDaniels had emerged as two of the hottest coaching names on the market following the 2008 season. The Rams had Spagnuolo and McDaniels high on their list much as the Broncos had McDaniels and Spagnuolo high on their list. Ultimately, Denver opted for McDaniels and the Rams selected Spagnuolo. Now, the pair will get their first chance to work with each other on the same side.

- McDaniels brings with him plenty of youthful energy but his arrival also will symbolize a shift in offensive philosophy. Since taking over as head coach, Spagnuolo’s teams have run the West Coast Offense favored by former coordinator Pat Shurmur. That offense focuses on the running game and short, quick passes designed to allow receivers the opportunity to make yards after the catch.

- McDaniels’ system is quite the departure from that scheme. While McDaniels also keeps balance in the offense, he prefers to stretch the field vertically and allow for big plays down the field.

- Here’s a small sample of some of the Patriots’ accomplishments under McDaniels…

-  2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady broke the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season (50) and led the league in passing yards (4,806) and passer rating (117.2). Brady also set franchise marks in nearly every major passing category, while WR Wes Welker set the franchise record for receptions in a season (112) and WR Randy Moss broke the NFL record for touchdown receptions with 23. The Patriots offense also posted the franchise’s highest average yards per rush in 22 seasons with 4.1 yards per carry and the team’s 17 rushing touchdowns were the second highest total in the previous 20 years.

Brady went to three Pro Bowls during his six seasons with McDaniels serving as his position coach.

- And if you’re skeptical about McDaniels has accomplished without the use of Hall of Fame players such as Brady and Moss, you need not look very far.

- In the 2008 regular season opener, Brady was lost to a season ending knee injury. The Patriots plugged in Matt Cassel, at the time a seventh-round draft pick out of USC, who was never even the Trojans’ starter in his time in Los Angeles.

- Cassel went on to lead the club to a 10-5 record as a starter. In his first season as an NFL starter, Cassel posted the third-best completion percentage in Patriots history (63.4) while passing for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

- That performance eventually landed Cassel the starting job in Kansas City and a mega-million dollar contract. He led the Chiefs to a playoff appearance in just his third season as a starter and second year with the Chiefs.

- Even in Denver the past couple of seasons, McDaniels has done more with less. The previously pedestrian Kyle Orton posted career numbers in McDaniels’ system.

- During McDaniels’ first season in Denver, QB Kyle Orton set career highs for pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and passer rating while tying his career low for interceptions. Orton’s 3,802 yards were the sixth highest for a season in Broncos history. 

- In 2010, the Broncos ranked seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game and finished 13th in total yards per game.

- So, what does all of that mean for the Rams?

- Clearly, in choosing to come to St. Louis, McDaniels had a very good idea of what was already in place. Few coordinators get a chance to step into a job where a franchise quarterback is already in place. In Sam Bradford, that’s precisely what McDaniels has in St. Louis.

- Now, Bradford had one of the most productive seasons by a rookie signal caller in league history. It took some time for him to get adjusted to Shurmur’s system but once he got the handle on it, he performed well. Now, Bradford will be asked to start over again which one can argue will slow his progress. While there’s certainly truth in that it will take Bradford time to learn a new system and, especially, new verbiage, it’s not like he was in the WCO for 10 years. It’s only one year of work in the other system so unlearning it wouldn’t be as tough as it would had he been doing it for a decade.

- Bradford has all the tools to succeed in McDaniels’ system and there’s little doubt that he will once he gets his mind around all the concepts. Keep in mind, Bradford is one of the hardest working guys on the team. He loves the details and the film work that goes into his job. He’ll work extremely hard to get the hang of it.

- All of that said, there’s one reasonable concern for Bradford and the rest of the offense in learning a new system. The impending possibility of a lockout could severely limit the amount of time Bradford gets to work with McDaniels and his teammates this offseason. That doesn’t mean he can’t take the playbook home and get cracking on it right away but it does mean he wouldn’t have much guidance in it while the lockout is going on.

- As for the running game, the Rams struggled to find consistency last year but McDaniels has proved in the past that he can rev the running game up. For starter Steven Jackson, it could mean less carries but more touches. McDaniels likes to use his backs in the passing game and Jackson has been an adept receiver out of the backfield. There’s little doubt that will continue.

- In a more big picture sense, the addition of McDaniels could also signal an emphasis on adding weapons and playmakers to the offense to fully maximize his abilities. There was a time when the Rams hired a big name offensive mind in Mike Martz as offensive coordinator. That same year, they went out and traded for Marshall Faulk, drafted Torry Holt and signed Trent Green and Adam Timmerman.

- It remains to be seen if the Rams would go on a similar offensive spree – especially considering the looming CBA issues – but don’t be surprised if, with McDaniels, Jackson and Bradford in place as well as two talented young tackles, the Rams go out and look to add more toys to the offense.

- That’s all for now. Back with more this afternoon. Spagnuolo is scheduled to discuss McDaniels at noon and McDaniels will participate in a conference call at 4.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 3 Comments »


3 Responses to “McDaniels Adds Sizzle”

  1. By greg beach on Feb 2, 2011 | Reply

    hi, been a rams fan sence the middle fifties, i’m surprised I,m writing this but such is tech. Been through quite a few rams QBs, besides Curt, I believe, Sam will be the all time record setter. Of course barring injuries. I think couch Spag will equal Dick V.

  2. By Rachel Stivers-Stewart on Feb 3, 2011 | Reply

    POSTED FOLLOW-UP RESPONSE THURSDAY (2-03-11, 11:25 AM)

    PREFACE: Nick, during the Rams’ offseason my plan was/is to continue to access stlouisrams.com to stay informed as an avid Rams fan while taking a break from submitting responses on From The Sidelines Blog, especially as this is an extra busy time of year as I step up my trail running training in preparation for an early April competition. However, like a football magnet, I am compelled to offer the following “freestyle” comments, cheer and affirmation! I recommend that you pour yourself a cup of coffee as it’s another lengthy follow-up chapter!

    SO, NICK, WHEN AND WHERE IS THE PARTY??!! I continue to see and hear the “SIZZLING” from the praiseworthy news reported above as well as in related Headlines articles, videos/audio and photographs on stlouisrams.com. I also continue to RELISH the “SEASONED” TEAMWORK FLAVOR OF RAMS FOOTBALL along with a LINGERING AROMA OF ST. LOUIS BARBECUE! In RAM NATION, we can all move to the rhythmic beat of the “Celebration” ballad as sung by R&B performers, Kool & The Gang.

    While singing along to “Celebration” with Kool & the Gang via compact disc, we can all kick up our heels and go both “horizontal” and “vertical” in celebration of our forward moving, ascending “rock solid” St. Louis Rams football team! Yes, vertical stretch patterns, various daring moves and big plays definitely fit in with a football team’s instituted adventurous, analogous performance theme(s) of heavy-duty “rock climbing & mountain climbing”.

    As an uplifting musical scale can energize one to scale an obstacle and excel, I arranged the following selected Kool & the Gang “Celebration” lyrics as a resounding celebratory event sample: “Yahoo! This is your celebration . . . Celebrate good times, come on . . . Let’s celebrate . . . There’s a party goin’ on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years so bring your good times and your laughter too . . .Come on and celebrate, good times, tonight . . . Celebrate good times, come on ’cause everything’s gonna be all right . .. Let’s celebrate . . .”

    This opportune, enviable recent hiring of Josh McDaniels as our Rams’ new clairvoyant Offensive Coordinator, and who may also serve as Quarterbacks Coach which I further approve as a fan, definitely calls for a CELEBRATION! Through stlouisrams.com, becoming familiar with Coach/Coordinator McDaniels’ professional experience and accomplishments has been a football pleasure as well as the informative introduction to his “balanced and aggressive” multiple attack scheme in expanding our Rams’ established system of offense. Across the miles, this expressive Ram Nation fan extends a warm welcome to Josh McDaniels, his wife and children and wishes this new Ram Clan family a smooth relocation and “at home” feeling in St. Louis.

    Retiring Assistant Head Coach / Quarterbacks Coach, Dick Curl certainly is deserving of a meaty RETIREMENT RECEPTION for his influential field of work, positive influence and lasting impression. Nick, as recollected in your 1-19-11 Headline article entitled “Quarterbacks Coach Curl to Retire,” Rams’ Franchise QB Sam Bradford attributed to an indicated large degree his progressive field comfort level to Coach Curl during his successful transition from college to the NFL as a starting Rookie quarterback. QB Bradford described Coach Curl as having been “extremely helpful just getting me to where I am right now. He’s one of the main reasons that I’m as comfortable as I am today.” It was also neat to see and hear Coach Curl and QB Bradford interact on the sidelines during this Website’s “Sound FX: Sam Bradford” posted video on 1-25-11 that highlighted the Rams’ team win in Week Eight.

    As we know, QB Bradford had a most impressive 2010 Rookie year and his solid NFL gridiron performances culminated with a record-setting season in key categories and landed him with the honor of being one of “five finalists for the 2010 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award.” Since voting concluded at 9 p.m. ET on 2-01-11, we will find out from today’s press conference in North Texas who voting fans have selected!

    Yes, I voted Sam Bradford “Rookie of the Year” based on football performance factors as the St. Louis Rams’ starting quarterback from the preseason throughout the entire regular season of his first NFL playing year of 2010. As we know, snap back ability is a must for an athlete so it was marvelous that Bradford took every snap in all 16 games of the regular season with his vigorous Rams’ offensive unit. As heard during offensive coordinator McDaniels’ Conference Call posted 1-19-11 and with content read in the “McDaniels Excited to Get to Work” Headline article, I liked McDaniels’ quarterback assessment of Bradford that exemplifies the interplay of connection and circumspection. “I know he’s a guy that is going to give you a chance every Sunday and he’s going to work hard; (he’s) extremely bright; he’s going to help you put your players in the best position to be successful because that’s what he does. He brings a mental side to the game and obviously the physical traits and talents that he has are very outstanding as well . . .”

    In that same conference call and article, I liked how offensive coordinator McDaniels’ described Rams’ MVP veteran RB, three-time Pro Bowler, Steven Jackson. “I really think Steven is a unique player. I know from competing against him that he is very unique and multi-talented. He can beat you in the running game; he can beat you in the passing game, and he can create long plays. He takes great care of the football . . .”

    As a Super Bowl XLV kick-off week side note, Nick, how about that colorful, star-studded Pro Bowl contest televised on FOX Sunday (1-30-11) where the NFC beat the AFC 55-41?! It was fun hearing telecaster Terry’s jocular canoe transport tale during the lighthearted pregame conversation, viewing the game with the surrounding paradisiacal Hawaiian scenery and watching our Rams’ RB Steven Jackson perform with his signature edge and score a 21-yard touchdown run, which was replayed during Pro Bowl highlights on ESPN’s SPORTSCENTER Monday. Fortunately, pictured in the Monday Sports section of a local newspaper in my geographical area was an article from The Associated Press with an awesome artful photo of Jackson running through an AFC defender on his way to the end zone! As an amplification, I read in the Tuesday Sports section of USA TODAY NEWSPAPER the published NFL Pro Bowl four-quarter game summary with team/player statistics, which I find interesting.

    Nick, your compiled action-packed game stories of the Rams’ 2010 season in a four-part “Season In Review” series as currently featured on the home page of stlouisrams.com were/are momentous along with the accompanying endeavoring photographs personifying winning edge competition. Like the numerous smash hit video interviews with different Ram individuals on this website, so are the featured “A Week in the Life” with Steven Jackson documentary short videos that direct the spotlight to an athlete’s personable, healthful, and instrumental approach, which is gratifying and motivating.

    As observed, individual and collective workmanship continue to illuminate the St. Louis Rams as an industrious franchise, organization and team, which keeps Ram Nation fans, such as myself, inspired and encouraged with enriching experiences. When I attended the 12-26-10 Fan Appreciation Game at the Edward Jones Dome, upon arriving, I was glad to obtain the game program entitled RAMS INSIDER. Since then I have been perusing it with enjoyment and becoming more informed with certain aspects!

    Under the Table Of Contents, “The Leadership of the Rams” was listed so I turned to page 44 that also had “RAMS BRAINTRUST” at the top of the page with featured photographs of Executives, Billy Devaney, Steve Spagnuolo and Kevin Demoff. From your written article, Nick the following quote from Kevin Demoff, as executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer, bespeaks the Rams’ appealing workmanship, “We all believe in the same vision for the Rams which is a team of character, and talent and players who this town will believe in, and we’re well on the way to our plans and our goals, but I love working at that everyday – it’s a joy coming to work.” Following that was your statement, Nick, “That joy is one shared by Devaney and Spagnuolo, who also are entering their second years as part of the Rams braintrust triumvirate.” (Rams Insider Magazine, December 19, 2010 – December 26, 2010, p.44).

    As I listened to the previously mentioned media conference call with Rams’ new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and read your posted reports, Nick, I heard and sensed from him key workmanship attributes, alignment with the Rams’ vision, plans and goals and his professional commitment to do his part with best practices in contributing to the team and a winning result. Genuineness and joy were apparent in McDaniels’ communication during the conference call that included his voiced eagerness to get started working in St. Louis and looking forward to talking with all of the Rams’ players as he stated, “It’s important to build those relationships as soon as you can.” Yes, McDaniels conveyed an optimistic coaching “stance and start”!

    Thus, I can see what led Rams’ Executives and Staff to make this personnel decision with Coach Spagnuolo sharing the following remarks from his posted 1-19-11 press conference. “Josh McDaniels will be the new offensive coordinator here . . Again, I kept coming back to Josh as the best fit for our team and our offense. I think he’s going to be a great fit for the Rams going forward. He’ll join what I think is a high quality offensive staff.”

    So, Nick, have you worked up an appetite with all this hearty Rams football talk?! I sure have! Speaking of hunger, it was great to hear the 1-10-11 posted interview “Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo Interview” where he sat down with you to discuss “the second half of the season (of 2010) and expectations moving forward.” As Coach Spags stated about our team of Rams, “It’s in there; the hunger is there; the fire is there . . .” This fan fully agrees with that as our Rams are an industrious team who persevere through challenges in all three phases understanding that a variety of crowning moments and the life experiences that lead to crowning opportunities are worth the effort, teamwork and reward.

    In regard to Super Bowl XLV, it is an exhilarative build up week with all the extensive media coverage for this colossal championship game! Of course I will be watching the Super Bowl on FOX including televised pregame coverage/specials and postgame coverage on both FOX and ESPN, pregame coverage starting very early on Sunday! I wish both opposing teams well as they are the AFC/NFC champs, and therefore, Super Bowl approved for this 2-06-11 XLV championship matchup! Which team will best execute on the field while facing adversity, win and be “crowned” world champions?!

    As the upcoming 2011 NFL regular season schedule shows our Rams playing both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, this St. Louis Rams fan remains positively “fired up” with “TEAM RAMS” 2011 GOAL as articulated by Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo during the posted 1-10-11 interview. “There is only one team at the end that finishes with that win and that crown and that’s what we are all in this business to try to achieve. We start now working on trying to make it to the 2012 Super Bowl and win . . . So, that’s our goal right now.”

    “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life . . .” -James 1:12 NASB

    Respectfully & Prayerfully, Rachel Stivers-Stewart, RAMS FAN IN NEBRASKA

  3. By Oschool1946 on Feb 4, 2011 | Reply

    ok my comment will be real short,still looking for a QB coach,How about Kurt Warner i know he does’nt have any coaching exper. but he could read a def.fast and i really believe he could help Sam B. do the same hey coach Spags. i’m sure he gave you a headach a few times, besides i think the Rams have the 2nd or 3rd youngest team in the NFL i’m sure he could help you to keep those young players in line, what do you think coach Rams Fan since 1957 in L.A.CA

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