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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Shurmur's departure puts Rams on clock

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams' periodic offensive struggles this season invited questions.

How much had to do with talent? How much had to do with the job Pat Shurmur was doing as offensive coordinator?

Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren cast his vote Thursday by naming Shurmur the team's new head coach. Clearly, Holmgren thought the Rams' offense was in good hands with Shurmur. I would tend to agree even though it's tough to know what kind of head coach Shurmur might become after only two seasons as the Rams' coordinator. Holmgren will be there to mold him, a big asset. And the fit was natural.

The Rams have known for about a week that Shurmur might be leaving. They should be able to name a replacement relatively quickly, I would think, based on some of the key characters' connections to agent Bob LaMonte. LaMonte counts among his clients Shurmur, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and multiple coordinating candidates, including Josh McDaniels and Brad Childress among them.

Sam Bradford's presence as the Rams' quarterback makes the coordinating job attractive. The team has already invested in its offensive line. Running back Steven Jackson provides balance. The team needs more talent and improved health at wide receiver. Developing tight end Mike Hoomanwanui should be another priority.

Earlier: More than a dozen thoughts on Shurmur's potential departure.