The Los Angeles Rams are having a very successful season. Sean McVay, ever the deflector of credit, praises the surrounding staff and players. Although McVay deserves a significant amount of the credit as the head coach, there is some truth to his deflections. If you break it down, the areas where the Rams have seen some of the most improvement are at the quarterback, offensive line, and running back positions. In true Mcvay fashion, let’s share the praise of these successes.
McVay is often praised as the quarterback guru. He is credited for the drastic turn-around of once faltering rookie quarterback, Jared Goff. A name less often attributed to Goff’s success is Rams quarterback coach, Greg Olson. Olson’s coaching experience can be traced all the way back to the early nineties where Jon Kitna at Central Washington University. From there he went on to help develop Drew Brees at Purdue University.
In 2001, he saw Jeff Garcia throw a career-high 32 touchdowns for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2004 Olson took over play-calling duties for the Detroit Lions in the final four games in which the offense averaged 403.6 yards per game. Fastward to 2006 and 2007, Olson was the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. In 2006, Rams were the third-ranked passing offense, averaging 247.6 yards per game. The Rams, under Olson’s tenure, were just the fourth team in NFL history to produce a 4000 yard passer, with Marc Bulger, a 1500 yard rusher, with Stephen Jackson, and two 1000 yard receivers, with Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce.
The list only gets more impressive. Olson saw quarterback Josh Freeman throw for nearly 9000 yards in three seasons. He coached a rookie quarterback Derek Carr to 3270 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. He coached second-year quarterback Blake Bortles to 4428 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Jacksonville Jaguars went from the 32nd ranked offense, in 2014 to the 14th ranked offense in Olson’s first year there, 2015. Does that sound familiar, Rams fans?
It is safe to say that success has followed Olson in his time in the NFL. It would also be safe to assume he deserves some credit for the success of second-year quarterback Jared Goff.
One of the most noticeably improved positions for the Rams is the offensive line. Last year the Rams offensive line allowed 49 sacks. At this point in the season, that number is 24.
Aaron Kromer is the Rams offensive line coach, and as such, he can be attributed to the great improvement they have seen there. Unsurprisingly, Kromer played offensive tackle for Miami University where he graduated and became an offensive line coach. He then went on to coach the offensive line at Northwestern University.
In 2002 to 2004 Kromer’s first years as an offensive line coach in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, he produced two, three-time pro bowlers for the team, the Raiders also went to a Super Bowl in that time. In 2009 Kromer was the offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints. Under his tenure as OL coach, the Saints sent five players to a combined nine Pro Bowls and tied for the fewest sacks in the league with 96. The Saints won Super Bowl XLIV with Kromer as their offensive line coach. In his time with the Chicago Bears, Kromer helped create the second-best scoring offense in the NFL with 445 points. That Bears team beat records for yards, touchdowns, passing yards and first downs.
Kromer is another coach who deserves praise for the turn-around of, arguably, one of the worst aspects of last year’s team, and possibly the worst offensive line production in Rams history.
Todd Gurley made a splash in his rookie debut. In 13 games, Gurley ran for 1106 yards and 10 touchdowns. That is no easy task for any running back in the NFL, for a rookie, it is an even more daunting task. Last year, Gurley’s production dropped drastically. 16 games, 886 yards, 6 touchdowns.
Skip Peete, Rams running back coach, isn’t new to Rams staff, but to say he is thriving under coach McVay is an understatement. Peete’s past success is great, coaching players like Tyrone Wheatley, LaMont Jordan, Demarco Murray, Ladanian Tomlinson, and Matt Forte to great success. One of the most impressive things this year, however, is the success he has had with Gurley out of the backfield.
Last year, Gurley claimed he wanted to improve on and be a part of the passing game.
“It’s cool getting more involved in the passing game,” Gurley said
This year, Gurley has over 680 receiving yards. With 1187 yards rushing this year, that number is very impressive. With the help of coach Peete, Gurley and the Rams running backs are setting goals and hitting them. From a down year with less than 900 rushing yards to a potential MVP running back.
Sean McVay has been absolutely amazing at turning this team around. He deserves Coach of the Year for the things he has been able to improve upon with this team. His, “We, not me,” culture has brought great success. It is time that fans and media start to follow suit and look at everyone that has made this team a success this year. It requires more than just a good head coach to turn things around in potentially historic fashion, the way this team has. These are just a few of the improvements to this Rams team. Give credit to the entire coaching staff, after all, that’s what Sean McVay would do.