What does LA Rams new RB coach Ra’Shaad Samples bring to the team?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams coaching staff is still tweaking their final roster spots, but the team has finalized a couple of key offensive coaching roles. The team has lost offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to the Minnesota Vikings, where he assumes the team’s head coaching role. For his offensive coordinator, O’Connell has lured the LA Rams former tight ends coach, Wes Phillips, to join him on the Minnesota Vikings staff.

While there are more coaching positions to fill for the LA Rams to discuss, let’s limit this one to focus on how the LA Rams have chosen to fill the vacancies created by this chain of events?  For starters, we know that the Rams have since hired former University of Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen to be the new offensive coordinator. But the team has tapped former running backs coach Thomas Brown to take over as the team’s tight ends coach.

That move is intended to round out Brown’s coaching body or work, and position him to assume the role of offensive coordinator or even head coach in the near future. he will take over the role vacated by Wes Phillips. That, in turn, created a vacancy for the team at the running backs coaching position. And that created the opportunity to bring in Ra’Shaad Samples as the team’s new RB coach.

The interview went so well that the LA Rams are expected to hire Samples as their new running backs coach. So what should fans look for from Ra’Shaad Samples to bring to the team’s running game? Actually, quite a bit, despite the lack of deep experience.

More SMU than TCU guy

He’s been named as to 247Sports 30-under-30 list of the 30 top coaches who are under 30 years of age, as well as Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s 40-under-40 coaching list.

While he is being hired from TCU, he is more akin to an SMU coach. That means that he will have the low-down on NFL rookie hopefuls from Southern Methodist University like WR Reggie Robinson Jr., WR Danny Gray, and TE Grant Calcaterra. For that matter, he no doubt had reason to meet with and familiarize himself with Texas Christian University’s offensive tackle Obinna Eze.

One curious item to note is that the new running backs coach Ra’Shaad Samples crossed paths with LA Rams running back Xavier Jones at SMU in 2019. SMU’s offense was a very well-balanced attack in 2019, gaining 180.8 yards on the ground.

That is something that the LA Rams would love to replicate in their offense in 2022. By adding the insights of Samples in their backfield, while pivoting Coach Thomas Brown to coach the team’s tight ends, the team believes that may be the key to doing so.

How that will forge the LA Rams running back room, which is full of questions and uncertainties, is itself a work in progress. But the Rams are certainly lining up a young, energetic, and highly respectable coaching staff.  The LA Rams turned the positional coaches turnover in 2021 into a Super Bowl-winning coaching staff.

Perhaps the Rams’ loss of six more positional coaches will forge a coaching staff capable of defending their NFL Championship Title?

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