Interesting week for former Rams coaches

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
1:30
PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- Three former prominent St. Louis Rams coaches found more work this week in some form or another, each under different and intriguing circumstances.

Linehan
Linehan
In Dallas, former Rams head coach Scott Linehan was named the team's play caller. Yes, that's his official title.

In Baltimore, former Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was moved from a defensive consultant position to secondary coach.

And of course, former Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was hired by the Rams to be their defensive coordinator. All of that in just a few days time.

For as strange as some of those moves seem on the surface, the only one that doesn't make much sense in my eyes is the Cowboys adding Linehan.

Spagnuolo
Spagnuolo
It's not outrageous that Dallas hired Linehan. He has a long history as an offensive coordinator. Of course, he's not the offensive coordinator. Linehan is walking into a job as the offensive play caller on a staff that already has a coordinator in Bill Callahan and a head coach with offensive background in Jason Garrett.

For now, at least, all three of those coaches figure to be in place next year. It's a strange situation and one that has led to plenty of head scratching. Beyond that, Linehan's track record running offenses is questionable when you look beyond the basic numbers. Linehan's success as a play caller has largely been based on having a strong-armed quarterback and an elite wide receiver.

In Minnesota, Linehan had Daunte Culpepper throwing deep to Randy Moss. In Detroit, it was Matthew Stafford tossing it up to Calvin Johnson. Even in St. Louis, the Rams had Marc Bulger throwing to Torry Holt in the first couple of years of Linehan's tenure.

The Rams' offense in 2006 was by far the best of his tenure with the team but it also functioned at its best when offensive coordinator Greg Olson was handling play calling duties. When Linehan reclaimed those duties, the offense sagged.

[+] EnlargeGregg Williams
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyGregg Williams' return to St. Louis is the strangest hire involving former Rams coaches this week, but it also makes the most sense.
Likewise, Linehan has a history of ignoring the running game. The good news for Linehan in Dallas is he will have a talented quarterback and receiver combo in Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but it's not like that duo has struggled to produce. The onus will fall on him to find ways to get the most out of the rest of his offense or this verse will be the same as the first.

Meanwhile, the man who replaced Linehan is taking on a much lower profile job with the Ravens. Spagnuolo made his bones in the league as a secondary coach, moving up through the ranks to Giants defensive coordinator after coaching the secondary as part of his tenure in Philadelphia. Like Linehan, Spagnuolo's tenure in St. Louis was not successful and he was unable to right the ship as defensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2012.

Spagnuolo was able to step away this year and now is back in a comfortable spot with Baltimore. His role won't require him to focus on anything but coaching up the secondary, and he should be able to settle back in and do just fine.

We've covered plenty of how Williams fits in with the Rams. It's a natural fit, one that has been more than two years in the making. While the circumstances of Williams' hiring are the strangest of the three moves, it's also the most logical and the one that should make the biggest difference.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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