Coveted McDaniels believes Rams the right fit
The coaching carousel can spin wildly in the NFL, with rumors and reports often fueled by agents trying to get the best deal they can for their clients.
So it was during a roller-coaster day Tuesday that began with reports saying talks had broken off between the Rams and potential offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and ending with McDaniels agreeing to be the coordinator that replaces Pat Shurmur, who was hired last week to be head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
McDaniels interviewed for the job Saturday, and contract discussions then began. He had been previously interviewed by the Minnesota Vikings. Just when it appeared that a deal was close, reports surfaced that the division-rival Seattle Seahawks had fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates after one season and were courting McDaniels.
Was that merely an effort to create leverage for McDaniels, so he would get the contract he wanted, and put pressure on the Rams to keep him from going to Seattle? Perhaps.
The initial reports of negotiations hitting a snag also contained the belief that it was the Rams' fiscally conservative approach that was creating issues. However, other reports claimed the two sides were about $200,000 apart, not a tall mountain to climb when it comes to landing a desired coordinator.
The length of McDaniels' deal is two years, but that could have been an issue if he had been hoping for a three-year deal because Spagnuolo has two years remaining on his original four-year contract.
Whatever the issues, they were settled, and the Rams will move forward with an offensive scheme different than the one the team has been learning for the last two seasons.
After Shurmur left, Spagnuolo addressed the possibility that the offense could end up being different with quarterback Sam Bradford at the controls.
He said, "We've got to get the right person, whoever that is. There's more than one guy with any offense. But if you're talking about the quarterback, Sam's pretty flexible to anything. And the one thing about the offense that we did have, it was very flexible. It asked the quarterback to do a lot of different things."
After the hiring of McDaniels, Spagnuolo said, "Everybody wants to do that and tag these different ... this is the Rams offense, so we'll put it into that. We talked a lot about that. I think there's going to be a natural mesh here. Keep the things you really like and what you've been doing well and everybody's comfortable with, you add a little bit of something else, and I think it's always great to have a little bit of zip and juice or something new. We all go around as coaches looking for new ideas. You do that every year."
McDaniels agreed, saying, "There are certain things they did well that we'll run again."
As for a change in terminology, he said, "Players are usually pretty tough and can handle things in terms of learning."
McDaniels was also excited about coming to work for Spagnuolo, a coordinator he faced in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season when Spagnuolo's Giants defense found a way to stop McDaniels' Patriots' offense.
Said McDaniels, "He's got a great vision for what he wants his football team to look like. He's got a great plan, and I think that that's always very important. When you're talking about competing in the NFL, you want to be somewhere where you know what the direction is, you know what's expected of you. He laid that out very clearly to me and I'm looking forward to working for him and being a Steve Spagnuolo guy."
He is also antsy about working again after being fired as Denver's head coach during the 2010 season, and didn't know what might happened after reaching a settlement with the Broncos on the $6.9 million remaining on his contract.
"I talked often with my wife about wanting to find the right fit for me. I didn't know what it was. But I knew after visiting Saturday I had found it."
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