Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thoughts from McDaniels' conference call
By Mike Sando
A few highlights and observations from Josh McDaniels' conference call with reporters following his hiring as the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator:
- McDaniels emphasized the need for a balanced offense and defined that balance as forcing defenses to play the run and the pass. This issue will be one to watch all season. The Rams are becoming Sam Bradford's team offensively. They should expect to become a pass-oriented team in a pass-oriented league. But Steven Jackson needs to be a focal point, too.
- McDaniels, speaking from Denver, said he spoke with Bradford and Jackson over the phone Tuesday night. Asked specifically about Bradford, McDaniels called the quarterback intelligent and on his way to becoming a great player. He called Jackson "unique" and said a great player can warrant getting lots of touches.
- McDaniels struck a humble tone and indicated hiring a quarterbacks coach or any other assistant was not his decision.
- Asked about the Rams' perceived lack of a deep threat, McDaniels said coaches must bring out the best in their players. He pointed to Brandon Lloyd as a player people had written off before Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards. McDaniels acknowledged that teams will not uncover a player such as Lloyd every season. He said he wanted to study the Rams' existing personnel before commenting further.
- Pressed about the video scandal that played a role in his firing in Denver, McDaniels said the Rams covered the subject briefly during his interview. He said it was well-documented and "in the past".
- McDaniels downplayed the transition to a new offensive scheme. He said too much can be made about language and terminology. He suggested there could be some carryover from the previous playbook and that players can "figure out what you want them to figure out. ... It will be exciting to figure out what we want this offense to be."
- McDaniels said he signed a two-year contract. That lines up with the four-year deal coach Steve Spagnuolo signed before the 2009 season.
Those were the highlights. The main theme, I thought, was the tone of humility McDaniels struck in deferring to Spagnuolo and expressing gratitude for the opportunity. That tack will serve him well as he tries to fit into a new staff, repair his image and possibly reemerge as a head-coaching candidate in the future.