3 reasons why Assistant HC Jimmy Lake will surprise folks this season
By Bret Stuter
When the LA Rams hired Jimmy Lake as their Assistant Head Coach, the team was investing in 2024 as well as 2023. Right now, the LA Rams appear to be content with waiting for the 2023 NFL Draft to fill up to 45 open roster spots. While that means very inexpensive players, it also means an overwhelming number of players who will need extra coaching to get them NFL-ready for the 2023 NFL season. So where will the extra oomph of coaching come from?
In terms of the very young and inexperienced secondary, the LA Rams have the right coaching resources in place. For starters, the team rehired Aubrey Pleasant, who will fill the role of Defensive Backs coach. He will work with Secondary Coach Chris Beake, who was the team's inside linebacker coach in 2022. Throw in Jimmy Lake, and the LA Rams coaching staff has a trio of defensive back specialists to help their pass defense find some proficiency this season.
But is this all just more pre-season hype to make a team facing future uncertainty feel better for itself? I don't think so. Jimmy Lake is one of the coaches who has a great work ethic, who has a solid track record, and who has the NFL-caliber experience to help the LA Rams defense improve. How so? Let's take a quick review of what he brings to the table:
Reason III: He has a fine eye on defense
If you want to add another coach who shares the same defensive philosophy as Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, then Jimmy Lake is your guy. He worked alongside then Defensive Backs coach Raheem Morris in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and then as Defensive Backs coach for Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris in 2011-12. During his DB coaching, the Bucs had six defensive backs intercept a pass in 2011, and nine different defensive backs pick off a pass in 2012.
Reason II: He can help fast track secondary growth
The LA Rams defensive success will depend heavily upon how quickly the team can fast-track the growth of young defensive backs into NFL-competent competitors. Right now, the team's most experienced defensive back is Jordan Fuller, a player who is entering his fourth NFL season. That suggests that the Rams entire secondary roster will be players on their rookie contracts, if not outright NFL rookies.
Coach Lake was the former DB Coach, Defensive Coordinator, and Head coach of the Washington Huskies. During his tenure, he keep constant communication and a keen eye on the Seattle Seahawks secondary, one of the best pass defenses at the time. It was that cross-pollination that helped him to coach up some of the best college defensive backs at the time. Now, the Rams hope to tap into that proficiency to give their young defensive backs access to a fast track to NFL success.
Reason I; He is a former NCAA head coach who can take over for Raheem Morris
A succession plan equates to big business expenses for leading businesses worldwide. In fact, more than $370 billion is spent but companies are dissatisfied with the results. For the LA Rams, a succession plan for the coaching staff is a badly needed investment, because the team has been riddled with other NFL teams hirings of their coaching staff to the point where the team has to reassemble a coaching staff from only a handful of prior year's veteran coaches.
For the past two seasons, teams have shown heightened interest in hiring Rams DC Raheem Morris to a head coaching role. Should that happen, who will step up for the team as a new defensive coordinator?
It seems to me that in hiring Jimmy Lake, the Rams have infused a bit of succession planning into their coaching staff. Since Lake has lengthy and deep history with Raheem Morris, the Rams are trying to keep an eye on continuity for their defense, Should Morris get hired away, Lake has the same style of defense that should constitute a seamless transition for the Rams. And thanks to his proficiency with defensive backs, that defense should be expected to excel at pass defense.
The bar for the LA Rams defense cannot be very high this year, if due to nothing else than the Rams have eradicated veterans and will field a very young defense in 2023. Should they exceed expectations, you can thank Assistant Head Coach Jimmy Lake as one of the reasons. After all, he was hired to help this team win, and I believe that is exactly what he will do.