Rams could call defense by committee all year

2012-06-15T00:20:00Z Rams could call defense by committee all yearThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 15, 2012 12:20 am  • 

Nearly three months since the St. Louis Rams lost their defensive coordinator, coach Jeff Fisher appears to be in no hurry to define roles among the handful of people capable of filling the void.

Fisher believes if the game plan is sound, it doesn't matter who makes the calls.

"The most difficult part of the week is putting the plan together," Fisher said Thursday. "Calling the defense and those kinds of things is not as difficult as putting the plan together and being right and adjusting. We're more than capable of doing all three of those things."

The coordinator work has been handled at various times by assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and linebackers coach Blake Williams, the son of suspended Gregg Williams, exiled indefinitely for his role in the Saints bounty scandal.

Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis wouldn't be surprised if the Rams go the entire season without having one man responsible for game-day play-calling, because so many assistants are well-schooled in the defense.

Laurinaitis finds media curiosity about the coordinator question somewhat humorous.

"They're no dummies, they know you guys are out there trying to figure out all the secrets," Laurinaitis said. "It's funny how they all think similarly. They all know the purpose behind it is to be aggressive."

McGinnis, Cecil and Fisher have been NFL defensive coordinators, and Williams absorbed the Fisher system growing up. McGinnis is the logical game-day choice because he has no specific position responsibilities, but said nothing's been decided.

"That's up to Jeff, but believe me, we will get that handled," McGinnis said. "You've got enough experience on this staff and enough expertise, and with Jeff's leadership that's covered."

McGinnis described it as a unique staff because of all the experience, but didn't think it would be unusual if the roles remained undefined on Sundays.

"I don't think it's unique," McGinnis said. "I mean, we're going to call a defense and make them punt. On your mark, get set, go."

Laurinaitis gets much of the responsibility. He's led the Rams in tackles all three of his NFL seasons, and McGinnis called him a "perfect" middle linebacker for the system.

"He has to be so in tune, I mean, he has to be right in the defensive coaches' skin," McGinnis said. "I interviewed him at the combine when he came out and I loved him then, and I love him even more now because he's exactly what you need."

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