Late last week Rob Ryan to the St. Louis Rams was all but done. Both sides had agreed on a contract (via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com) and they were preparing to move ahead with the hire. It was believed the organization would announce the hire of Ryan as defensive coordinator and Frank Bush as linebackers coach.
The Bush hire happened and was announced this morning, according to the team's official Twitter account. But the Rams released a statement about the non-hire of the 50-year-old Ryan: “After extensive discussions involving defensive philosophy, the Rams and Rob Ryan agreed that he was not the right fit for the defensive coordinator position.”
So, that's that apparently. The hire initially raised questions regarding the future of St. Louis' defense, considering Ryan has run a 3-4 defensive scheme for the majority of his career and is obviously more comfortable calling plays from a system that has been ingrained in him for the last four years.
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes in his column that Jeff Fisher has a strong history of assembling a staff that is going to get a long and work well together:
Fisher has a history of putting together a cohesive staff and knows how important it can be to the workplace. Morale is important. Working together as a team is important. Fisher fired linebackers coach Blake Williams because the young coach (age 34) didn't play well with others.
There's no reason for Fisher to force Ryan onto the rest of the Rams' defensive staff if they don't believe in the same philosophies. That's just like jamming a square peg into a round hole—St. Louis could continuously try to make it work, but in the end it would falter.
Early on in the hiring process, it was believed that the Rams would possibly look inside the organization for Blake Williams' successor. Chuck Cecil, Dave McGinnis and Mike Waufle were all viewed as potential replacements. However, it is clear Coach Fisher wants to hire someone on the outside that would add to his all-star staff.
The most recent rumored name is Dick Jauron. Less than an hour ago, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted out his name as a potential hire:
Rams expected to reach out to recently fired Cleveland defensive coordinator Dick Jauron for their now vacant DC job.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) January 29, 2013
Obviously no deal has been discussed or is imminent between the two sides, but they will send out a feeler to see if the interest is mutual.
Over the course of the past few years, Jauron has taken on some taxing jobs that didn't always end well. Most recently, from 2011-2012, he was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and from 2006-2009 he was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
As the defensive coordinator for the Browns, he had one top 10 finish in total yards and one top 10 finish in points allowed. Both of those finishes came in 2011 as Cleveland's defense regressed big-time in 2012.
They quickly went from one of the top defenses in the NFL to one of the league's cellar dwellers. 2012 brought a 23rd overall finish in yards and a 19th overall rank in points allowed. Injuries and an inefficient offense doomed Jauron's unit in his final season.
His defenses' performances in Buffalo didn't help him either. They never finished above 14th and were always viewed as "average" to "below average." They made some definite strides from year to year, but they were never able to take that next step.
The team's rush defense really held them back during that four-year span. In 2006 his team had the 28th worst rush defense. In 2007 they had the 25th worst rush defense and in 2008 they had the 22nd worst run-stuffing defense. And 2009 was the worst season of all—the Bills were 30th against the run.
It's hard to tell if Jauron is indeed the right hire for the Rams, but based on the numbers he is an average candidate at best. Yet Coach Fisher is great at maximizing talent and has his hands all over the defensive side of the ball.
Which in turn may make the Jauron hire sexier than it appears at face value. Moreover, he believes in the same philosophies and runs a 4-3 scheme, just as Fisher prefers.