Coming off a disappointing 9-7 season in which they did not advance to the playoffs, the Los Angeles Rams opted to shake up their coaching staff this offseason.
The organization officially announced head coach Sean McVay’s supporting cast for the 2020 NFL season on Tuesday, most notably filling the vacant offensive coordinator role with Kevin O’Connell and hiring Brandon Staley to replace former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
O’Connell took over offensive coordinator duties for the Washington Redskins last season while Staley served as the Denver Broncos outside linebackers coach.
It was Staley’s first and only season with the Broncos, who joined head coach Vic Fangio’s coaching staff after being hired away from the Chicago Bears. Fangio had previously served as the defensive coordinator in Chicago.
Fangio, one of the league’s most respected defensive minds, regularly praised Staley during their time together with both franchises. Having such an endorsement stood out to McVay, who noted during the introductory press conference that he is impressed with Staley’s NFL background, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“When you look at the system, especially with the success that a Vic Fangio-led defense has had over the course of a really elongated period of time, Vic is a coach that I really respect and hold in high regard,” McVay said. “When you listen to the things he says about Brandon Staley, when you listen to the people that I’ve come in close contact with that have been around him, when you look at the background, it’s impressive.”
Despite Staley’s limited NFL experience, his strong relationship with Fangio over the last three seasons was enough to convince McVay that he is a suitable successor to Phillips.
Staley recently commented on his new position with the Rams and revealed that the team will continue running a 3-4 defense going forward. That bodes well for the current players under contract, who won’t have to adjust to a new scheme next season.
While Staley received his first NFL opportunity a mere three years ago, he has already worked with some of the league’s premier defensive players. He has coached the likes of Khalil Mack and Von Miller, getting the best out of them en route to Pro Bowl seasons.