NFC West: Rock Gullickson

Sizing up NFC West coaching staffs

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
7:26
PM ET
A few notes on NFC West coaching staffs after the St. Louis Rams announced theirs for 2012 in a news release Tuesday:
  • The Rams are not listing suspended defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on their staff. They did not mention him in the news release. They did not list a defensive coordinator. Coach Jeff Fisher and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis will presumably take the lead. Secondary coach Chuck Cecil has also been a coordinator.
  • Williams' son, Blake, coaches the Rams' linebackers.
  • The Cardinals have 3-4 fewer assistants than the other teams in the division. I've noticed that to be the case in recent seasons. Staff sizes can vary. Arizona has one more than the NFL listed for New England heading into the most recent Super Bowl.
  • Every team in the division has an assistant head coach. Two serve as offensive line coaches. Another coaches special teams. Assistant head coaches might earn more money than they otherwise would, but the title does not distinguish them from other assistants in relation to hiring protocol. The title affords no additional protections against losing an assistant to another team, in other words.
  • Paul Boudreau is the Rams' offensive line coach. His son, also named Paul, is assistant special teams coach. They are not Paul Sr. and Paul Jr., however. It's not yet clear how the Rams intend to differentiate between the two. Middle initials?
  • Niners offensive assistant Michael Christianson is also coordinator of football technology.

The chart lists full-time assistants, not interns or administrative assistants. Strength-and-conditioning coaches aren't involved in football strategy, but I have listed them.

Sizing up NFC West coaching staffs

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
3:33
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MIAMI -- With the Seahawks announcing their 2010 coaching staff, I went through every NFC West team's staff to produce a chart allowing for easy comparison.

It's pretty clear the Cardinals do more with less than the other teams in the division. They have fewer assistants than the other teams in the NFC West.

In most cases, I have recreated official titles for each assistant coach. That explains why the Cardinals have no offensive coordinator listed (Russ Grimm coordinates the running game, Mike Miller coordinates the passing game and Ken Whisenhunt calls the plays). I did not create a special category for 49ers receivers coach Jerry Sullivan (he also carries the title senior assistant). Seattle's Carroll is also executive vice president. I did not create an extra category to reflect that title.

I have listed no offensive line coach for the Cardinals. Grimm handles those duties. The 49ers do not list a defensive quality control coach, but clearly someone must break down the upcoming opponents' offensive video (I am checking to see which assistant handles those duties). Update: Outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver handles those duties. Also, I updated the chart to reflect Curtis Modkins' departure from the Cardinals to become Buffalo's offensive coordinator. Ray Brown is the new assistant offensive line coach in San Francisco.

The Rams are expected to hire a receivers coach after Charlie Baggett left. They could hire an assistant offensive line coach to replace Art Valero, who took the same job with Seattle. The 49ers might need to find a new offensive quality-control coach (Shane Day is interviewing with the Bears to coach quarterbacks for Mike Martz).

The Rams and Seahawks list special assistants to the head coach. These are largely administrative positions.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune provides observations suggesting Matt Hasselbeck's back problems are no longer an issue. Boling: "When the Seahawks gathered for their team stretching drills, I saw one contortion that would convince even the most skeptical fan that Hasselbeck is fully recovered. The players lay face-down on the grass, arms out to the side. They lift their left leg back up into the air and rotate it around to touch the ground on the right side of their body. Then they roll back and do the opposite with the other leg. It looks impossible for any vertebrate mammal other than yoga instructors."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com takes a look inside the Rams' revamped weight room. Strength and conditioning coaches Rock Gullickson and Chuck Faucette oversaw a quick overhaul after new coach Steve Spagnuolo hired them. Wagoner: "The Rams donated the outgoing equipment to local fire and police academies and those organizations came quickly to pick up the goods. Within a week, the order had been placed and the old equipment had cleared out. With no players around, Gullickson and Faucette had hoped to have a new beginning waiting for them in the weight room upon their return. In the record time of 27 days, the makeover was complete and the Rams returned to a completely re-designed weight room."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers will find a way to get "X" receivers Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree on the field together if both command playing time. Barrows: "Having said that ... Keep in mind that Crabtree [foot] won't be able to practice with the team until training camp. So he's not only a rookie learning how to play against big, physical cornerbacks, he's also getting a late start on the learning process. In other words, there's no guarantee he'll be a starter in Week One. Something else to keep in mind ... Very rarely does a receiving corps make it through an entire season unscathed."

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says linebacker Jeff Ulbrich has enjoyed each of his roles with the team over a decade-long run with the 49ers. Special-teams coach Al Everest: "For a guy to be going into his tenth season with the same team, going through free agency with him making the decision to stay and for the Niners to keep him is a great tribute to him. He is what football is all about. He prepares well, he has fun, and he's a great learner. He learns his techniques and plays with those techniques. He knows his assignments and has fun doing it. He's a real pleasure to coach."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com recognizes the late Pat Tillman and other veterans on Memorial Day. Urban: "A great day off, for sure, but also important as a time to remember. Almost everyone is connected to someone in the military. My late grandmother was one of the first women Marines for our country, and if you are reading this blog, you almost certainly feel linked to Pat Tillman. Tillman is one of the famous soldiers, not like my grandmother, for instance, or the father of Cardinals fan Jerry Jones, a World War II vet named Chester."

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFC West coaching staffs are mostly complete after the Rams assigned titles to Frank Leonard, Paul Ferraro, Andre Curtis and Clayton Lopez.

The chart shows which coaches retained their titles from the end of last season (gray shading) and which coaches are new to their current roles (yellow shading). The Cardinals could face additional changes if they fill vacancies from within.

Title Cardinals 49ers Seahawks Rams
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt
Mike Singletary
Jim Mora
Steve Spagnuolo
Off. Coord.
(open)
Jimmy Raye
Greg Knapp
Pat Shurmur
OL Russ Grimm
Chris Foerster
Mike Solari
Steve Loney
QB (open)
Mike Johnson
Bill Lazor
Dick Curl
WR Mike Miller
Jerry Sullivan
Robert Prince
Charlie Baggett
RB Maurice Carthon
Tom Rathman
Kasey Dunn
Sylvester Croom
TE Freddie Kitchens
Pete Hoener
Mike DeBord
Frank Leonard
Def. Coord.
(open) Greg Manusky
Gus Bradley
Ken Flajole
DL Ron Aiken
Jim Tomsula
Dan Quinn
Brendan Daly
LB Bill Davis
(shared)
Zerick Rollins
Paul Ferraro
DB Teryl Austin
(shared)
Tim Lewis (shared)
Special Teams
Kevin Spencer
Al Everest
Bruce DeHaven
Tom McMahon

All four offensive line coaches remain in their roles from last season (subject to change if Russ Grimm becomes the Cardinals' offensive coordinator). Every other core staff position features at least one change in the division.

The 49ers and Rams have the largest staffs with 20 members apiece, counting head coaches. The Seahawks reduced to 18 after moving assistant offensive line coach Mike DeBord to tight ends and eliminating the job of assistant special teams coach John Jamison. The Cardinals have 13 coaches, a number that figures to rise by at least three.

The 49ers and Rams have full-time administrative assistants assigned to their head coaches. The Cardinals do not formally list an assistant strength and conditioning coach, although Pete Alosi does help John Lott in that area.

(Read full post)

Rams' coaching staff grows by three

February, 9, 2009
2/09/09
5:41
PM ET

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:

(Read full post)

Sizing up NFC West coaching staffs

February, 5, 2009
2/05/09
4:20
PM ET
Title Cardinals 49ers Seahawks Rams
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt
Mike Singletary
Jim Mora
Steve Spagnuolo
Off. Coord.
Todd Haley
Jimmy Raye
Greg Knapp
Pat Shurmur
OL Russ Grimm
Chris Foerster
Mike Solari
Steve Loney
QB Jeff Rutledge
Mike Johnson
Bill Lazor
Dick Curl
WR Mike Miller
Jerry Sullivan
Robert Prince
Charlie Baggett
RB Maurice Carthon
Tom Rathman
Kasey Dunn
Sylvester Croom
TE Freddie Kitchens
Pete Hoener
Mike DeBord
(unnamed)
Def. Coord.
C. Pendergast Greg Manusky
Gus Bradley
Ken Flajole
DL Ron Aiken
Jim Tomsula
Dan Quinn
Brendan Daly
LB Bill Davis
(shared)
Zerick Rollins
(unnamed)
DB Teryl Austin
(shared)
Tim Lewis (unnamed)
Special Teams
Kevin Spencer
Al Everest
Bruce DeHaven
Tom McMahon

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFC West coaching staffs are mostly complete. The chart provides a general overview showing which coaches are primarily overseeing key areas.

Some coaches have fancy titles. I'll list those below. Including those titles in the chart would have served them but not us.

The 49ers have two coaches assigned to linebackers and two assigned to the secondary:

  • Jason Tarver is a defensive assistant/outside linebackers. Vantz Singletary is coaching inside linebackers. Coach Mike Singletary and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky are former NFL linebackers, so the 49ers have that position covered.
  • Vance Joseph and Johnnie Lynn are both listed as secondary coaches.

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

The Seahawks and Cardinals do not list administrative assistants as part of their staffs. Bill Nayes and Bruce Warwick fill those spots for the 49ers and Rams, respectively.

The following team-by-team list includes all the fancy titles, plus some coaches who did not appear on the chart:

(Read full post)

Coaching staff update: Rams

February, 3, 2009
2/03/09
12:58
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams are close to completing their coaching staff under Steve Spagnuolo. I've been keeping track of the hires as they become official.

Here's where the Rams stand on coaching hires (2008 employers and job titles in parenthesis):

Head coach: Steve Spagnuolo (Giants, defensive coordinator)

Assistant head coach/quarterbacks: Dick Curl (Chiefs, quarterbacks)

Assistant to the head coach/football operations: Bruce Warwick (University of Tennessee, assistant athletic director for football operations)

Offensive coordinator: Pat Shurmur (Eagles, quarterbacks)

Offensive line: Steve Loney (Rams, offensive line)

Assistant offensive line: Art Valero (Rams, running backs)

Receivers: Charlie Baggett (University of Washington, receivers)

Tight ends: open

Running backs: Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State University, head coach)

Offensive assistant, title undetermined: Frank Leonard (Kansas State University, tight ends)

Defensive coordinator: Ken Flajole (Panthers, linebackers)

Defensive line: Brendan Daly (Vikings, assistant defensive line)

Linebackers: open

Secondary: open

Defensive assistant, title undetermined: Andre Curtis (Giants, defensive quality control)

Defensive assistant, title undetermined: Paul Ferraro (Vikings, special teams)

Defensive quality control: Matt House (Panthers, assistant special teams and assistant strength and conditioning)

Special teams: Tom McMahon (Falcons, assistant special teams)

Strength and conditioning: Rock Gullickson (Packers, strength and conditioning)

Assistant strength and conditioning: open

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic visits Anquan Boldin's hardscrabble hometown about 170 miles from Tampa. Boldin's old coach says chasing rabbits through sugarcane fields helped make the young receiver more agile.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says farewell to Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, who is likely playing his final game for Arizona.

Mark Faller of the Arizona Republic checks in with Phoenix-area products Lyle Sendlein and Deuce Lutui. Both are starting on the Cardinals' offensive line.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has stepped up his game for the playoffs.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Karlos Dansby as saying the Cardinals need to step up and pay their top players, including Dansby himself. Dansby: "The world is watching right now, man. Everything has to change. If you want to commit to changing and to winning and being a winning organization, you have to do the right things. It's a test."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals face a tough obstacle in Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals are looking inward as they prepare for the Steelers' defense.

Also from Urban: The Cardinals are guarding against getting stale with so much time between games.

More from Urban: Safety Adrian Wilson represents the Cardinals' tough road to the Super Bowl.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune says the 20-point barrier is key for Arizona. The Cardinals are 0-4 this season when they fail to exceed 20 points. The Steelers are 12-1 when they hold opponents to 20 points or fewer.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune examines the Cardinals' appetite for trick plays.

Also from Bordow: He checks in with Cardinals backup quarterback Matt Leinart.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind cites a report suggesting the Steelers might use the Wildcat offense against Arizona.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times lists the Seahawks' franchise players. The list includes Marcus Trufant, Josh Brown, Shaun Alexander, Walter Jones and Joey Galloway. He also lists former transition player Steve Hutchinson.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Jaguars receiver Reggie Williams wouldn't mind signing with the Seahawks this offseason.

Also from Williams: Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thinks Seattle has enough talent to contend for the Super Bowl next season.

John Morgan of Field Gulls continues his look at potential free agents of interest for the Seahawks. Albert Haynesworth takes his turn.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates the situation with Steve Spagnuolo's first Rams staff. Sylvester Croom, Rock Gullickson and Matt House are coming to St. Louis.

Judd Zulgad of Access Vikings says the Rams have hired Minnesota assistant defensive line coach Brendan Daly.

VanRam of Turf Show Times looks at some of the names associated with the Rams on various mock drafts.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with new 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, who confirms he has accepted the job. Raye says the 49ers need to find a fullback. He also expects to install an offense similar to the one Norv Turner ran in San Francisco.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News provides testimonials from Jackie Slater and Tony Richardson. Both speak out in favor of Raye.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has signed a contract extension through the 2010 season, as expected.

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