Rams Rumors

Patriots Hire Jedd Fisch

The Patriots are making a high profile addition to their coaching staff. New England is hiring Jedd Fisch to fill an as of now unspecified role on their coaching staff, a source told Jim McBride of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).

The Patriots are hiring him away from the Rams, where Fisch served as a senior offensive assistant under Sean McVay for the past two seasons. Right before joining the Rams, he was the offensive coordinator and then interim head coach at UCLA. Fisch has never been a full-time head coach, but he’s held a number of prominent assistant jobs. He served as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator for a couple of years a handful of seasons ago, and he’s still only 43. He also served as Jim Harbaugh’s passing game coordinator at Michigan for two years.

Josh McDaniels currently serves as New England’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, so it’s possible Fisch is coming on under a similarly vague title that he held in Los Angeles. The Patriots have once again had some turnover on their staff, with special teams coordinator and receivers coach Joe Judge landing the head job with the Giants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/21/20

We’ll keep track of today’s reserve/futures deals here:

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Tennessee Titans

Joe Barry Rejects USC, Stays With Rams

About a decade after leaving USC, Joe Barry had a chance to return to the school. ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry reports (via Twitter) that Barry declined USC’s offer to become their new defensive coordinator. Instead, the 49-year-old has signed a new contract with the Rams to remain their associate head coach/linebackers coach.

Barry served as USC’s linebackers coach back in 2010, but he’s otherwise held NFL jobs since 2000. He had a stint as the Lions defensive coordinator (2007-2008) and Redskins defensive coordinator (2015-2016), and he joined the Rams coaching staff back in 2017. Barry has a Super Bowl ring from his time on the Buccaneers coaching staff.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/12/20

The Vikings added a group of players on reserve/futures contracts today, and we also missed some of the Rams’ from earlier in the week. For a primer/refresher on what exactly these deals entail, click here.

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

Polite is the most well-known of the bunch. A highly regarded talent, he fell to the Jets with the 68th pick this past draft because of off-field concerns. He was shockingly cut by New York despite being an early third-round pick, and eventually ended up on the Rams’ practice squad.

Rams To Hire Kevin O’Connell As OC

The Rams are hiring assistants at a blistering pace. Just minutes after it was reported they’d be bringing in Brandon Staley to be their defensive coordinator, we now have word on their new OC. Los Angeles is hiring Kevin O’Connell, formerly of the Redskins, as their new offensive coordinator, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). 

There was some initial speculation that Washington would keep O’Connell, but Ron Rivera elected to hire Scott Turner instead. O’Connell instantly became a hot name, and was linked to the Eagles and the Browns‘ OC openings. O’Connell was hired by the Redskins as quarterbacks coach right after Sean McVay left Washington, and he moved quickly through the ranks.

Before this past season he was promoted to offensive coordinator, and he earned a lot of praise for his work with Dwayne Haskins down the stretch. Both McVay and O’Connell worked under Jay Gruden with the Redskins, so the connection was there. McVay was unhappy with his staff after the Rams missed the playoffs last year, electing not to retain Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator and to hire a real OC.

O’Connell is only 34, and is highly regarded in most circles. If all goes well in Los Angeles, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s a head-coaching candidate before too long. He started his career as a player, bouncing around a handful of teams as a journeyman quarterback from 2008-2012.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Hire Brandon Staley As DC

The Rams have a new defensive coordinator. After electing not to retain the legendary Wade Phillips, Los Angeles is hiring Broncos outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley to be their new DC, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapoport notes that a deal still needs to be worked out, but that it’s going to happen. Albert Breer of SI.com was the first to tweet that a deal was close. In a follow-up tweet, Rapoport notes that Staley flew out to Los Angeles yesterday and spent the day with head coach Sean McVay. Staley had been with Vic Fangio for a while, as he served as his outside linebackers coach for two years with the Bears before following Fangio to Denver.

It’s a bit of an outside the box hire, as Staley hadn’t been batted around as a hot name previously. There were reports that McVay wanted more innovation and scheme-emphasis from his defensive staff, so that’s what Staley will be expected to provide. Prior to joining Chicago, Staley had served as the defensive coordinator at John Carroll University, a D3 school.

He also briefly served as DC at James Madison, and got his start as a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois back in 2006. The Rams also saw special teams coordinator John Fassel leave for Dallas, and there will be a fair amount of turnover on McVay’s staff when all the dust settles.

Rams Want Stan Drayton As RBs Coach

  • Cleveland is the only team with a head-coaching vacancy, but the dust has yet to settle for plenty of assistant coaches. There are still a lot of openings around the league, and it looks like a bidding war is brewing between the Rams and Cowboys. Both Los Angeles and Dallas are fighting to make Stan Drayton their next running backs coach, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com (Twitter link). Drayton is currently the run-game coordinator at Texas. Brandt notes that Drayton coached Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, which explains the Cowboys’ interest. It’ll be interesting to see whether he picks Sean McVay or Mike McCarthy.

Joe Barry To Interview For Rams’ DC Job

Rams linebackers coach/ assistant head coach Joe Barry will speak with Sean McVay on Thursday about the team’s defensive coordinator vacancy, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). If he doesn’t get the promotion, Barry could likely pivot to USC, where he likely has an opportunity to become their defensive coordinator.

Barry served as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016, overlapping with McVay in D.C. In 2017, he joined up with McVay in Los Angeles and served under Wade Phillips. The Rams parted ways with Phillips after the season, leaving that job vacant.

The Rams are also looking into offensive coordinators, a search that could lead them to Redskins coach Kevin O’Connell. They’ll also need to hire a new special teams coordinator after John Fassel left for the Cowboys.

In 2019, the Rams allowed 22.8 points per game and 339.6 yards per contest, putting them in the middle of the pack in both categories.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Lose John Fassel To Cowboys

  • Shifting to McCarthy’s Cowboys staff, the team is expected to hire Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to the same position, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Fassel’s contract was up. The second-generation NFL coach will relocate to Dallas after spending eight seasons with the Rams. Fassel came over from the Raiders in 2012, when Jeff Fisher took over in St. Louis, and stayed on with Sean McVay‘s team for three seasons. Fassel served as Rams interim HC in 2016, after the franchise fired Fisher. The Rams are losing their DC and ST coordinators, with Wade Phillips also out of the picture.