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Rams still searching for offensive coordinator

1/22/2015

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With Adam Gase officially headed to the Chicago Bears to become their offensive coordinator, the St. Louis Rams are down one more possible candidate for their vacancy for the same position.

The Rams never even got to interview Gase but, as we reported Tuesday night, if he had made it out of Chicago, things would have gotten serious with the Rams. Alas, Gase never made it out of Chicago.

Which leaves the Rams still searching in an ever-thinning pool of candidates. To this point, they've also expressed interest in Green Bay quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt and Indianapolis special assistant Rob Chudzinski. But the Packers and Colts denied the Rams permission to interview either. Although Chudzinski's contract with the Colts is up next week, Indianapolis could look to increase his role to keep him and, barring that, the Rams could have competition from San Francisco for his services.

Among other known prospects, the Rams also missed out on Greg Roman and Kyle Shanahan, who took the coordinator jobs in Buffalo and Atlanta, respectively. So what's left for the Rams?

Well, there's now only one known outside candidate remaining in the form of former Buffalo offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett has spent time with the Rams in the past 24 hours. For those unfamiliar with Hackett, here's a quick scouting report from ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak:

"Hackett took some heat from fans and reporters the past two seasons for a Bills offense that was among the NFL's worst. An energetic, young coach, Hackett began the 2013 season running an up-tempo, option-style system that he and Doug Marrone brought along from Syracuse. Slow development from EJ Manuel -- hampered by multiple knee injuries his rookie season -- forced Hackett to slow the pace and narrow the scope of his game plans by the end of his first season. Manuel never emerged this past season, leading to Kyle Orton taking over his job by Week 5. The carousel at quarterback -- the Bills had five different starters between 2013 and 2014 -- and a reliable defense led Hackett to be more conservative with the offense than he wanted. At best, he's a bright offensive mind who was strapped by a brutal quarterback situation in Buffalo. At worst, he was in over his head with the Bills and might need more time as a position coach before he's ready to return as a play caller."

There are those around the league who believe Hackett better fits the best case of that scenario, but it also leads to the question of whether he'd be inheriting a situation in St. Louis much better than the one he's leaving in Buffalo. The Rams quarterback situation has no obvious solution aside from hoping for health from quarterback Sam Bradford and some major repairs are needed on the offensive line.

Beyond Hackett, the Rams also still have in-house candidates like tight ends coach Rob Boras and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti. And given the secretive and deliberate approach Rams coach Jeff Fisher has taken to the whole process, it wouldn't floor anyone if he had a surprise candidate or two up his sleeve.