Following Raheem Morris’ departure to become the new head coach for the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay had to find his replacement.
McVay is used to replacing members of his coaching staff as they’re typically in high demand across the NFL, but finding a new defensive coordinator is a tall task considering what Morris was able to do during his time in Los Angeles.
Normally, McVay hires externally for his coordinator position, but this time around he stayed in-house as he promoted Chris Shula as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Shula served as a coach for several defensive position groups, but now gets the opportunity to call the defense on his own.
As for whether or not he does his work on the field or in the booth on game days, Shula will consider what makes the most sense for Ernest Jones and the rest of the defense, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic:
New Rams DC Chris Shula hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll call games from the booth or the field, saying he wanted that eventual decision to be collaborative with ILB Ernest Jones as the green dot player. Says whatever is best for Jones and the other players, he’ll do.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) February 6, 2024
Defensive coordinators will typically call games from the booth as it gives them a better view of how an opposing offense is lining up and how the defense is positioned. However, Shula being on the field would allow more real-time communication with players like Jones and make him more accessible to players should they have suggestions or questions.
Under McVay, the Rams organization as a whole has predicated itself on being collaborative and Shula is operating in the same manner. Although it’ll be his first time in a defensive coordinator role, he’s managed multiple personnel groupings and learned under some of the best like McVay and Morris.
Shula may be unproven, but McVay’s earned the benefit of the doubt because of his ability to identify coaching talent.
Rams hire Giff Smith as defensive line coach/run game coordinator
Aside from Morris, McVay also needed to look for a new defensive line coach/run game coordinator after Eric Henderson accepted a role with USC to become their new co-defensive coordinator.
Following his previous hiring practices, McVay decided to go with Giff Smith. Smith has multiple decades of coaching experience and recently served as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.