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Monday, February 9, 2009
Rams' coaching staff grows by three

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' coaching staff is tied for the largest in the NFC West after the team added Clayton Lopez, Andy Sugarman and Derius Swinton in moves announced Monday.

The hirings give the Rams 20 coaches, counting head coach Steve Spagnuolo. That matches the 49ers' total. The Seahawks have 18. The Cardinals have 14 after losing offensive coordinator Todd Haley and firing defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

The Rams' and 49ers' totals are higher in part because both teams list their head coaches' administrative assistants -- Bruce Warwick in St. Louis and Bill Nayes in San Francisco -- as staff members. The Rams listed 20 coaches entering last season as well.

Lopez, a Seahawks assistant from 1999 to 2003, joins the Rams as a defensive assistant. A specific title was not given. His background is in the secondary. The Rams have not named a secondary coach. Lopez coached with new Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole in Seattle.

Sugarman, a former Lions and 49ers assistant who was out of the league in 2008, will serve as offensive quality control coach. Swinton spent the past two seasons at the University of Tennessee. He will serve as quality control coach for special teams. Quality control coaches tend to work extremely long hours logging formations, personnel groupings and a long list of other parameters while breaking down video of upcoming opponents, among other often underappreciated duties.

The Rams have not named coaches at tight end, linebacker or secondary. Andre Curtis and Paul Ferraro were hired as unspecified defensive assistants. The Rams have also hired Frank Leonard as an unspecified offensive assistant.

Full Rams staff below:

Head coach Spagnuolo; assistant head coach/quarterbacks Dick Curl; assistant to the head coach/football operations Warwick; offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur; offensive line coach Steve Loney; assistant offensive line coach Art Valero; receivers coach Charlie Baggett; running backs coach Sylvester Croom; offensive quality control coach Andy Sugarman; defensive coordinator Ken Flajole; defensive line coach Brendan Daly; defensive quality control coach Matt House; special teams coach Tom McMahon; special teams quality control coach Derius Swinton; strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson; and assistant strength and conditioning coach Chuck Faucette. Curtis, Ferraro, Lopez and Leonard do not have titles yet.