Option IV: Former Rams DC Brandon Staley
There is no way that the LA Rams can rifle through candidates for a new defensive coordinator role without the discussion about bringing former Rams DC Brandon Staley back to the fold. I don't think that I am the only one who felt that Staley's one-and-done chapter as the LA Rams DC had run its course by any means. When Staley was hired as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, it felt as though many accomplishments were left undone on the Rams defense.
Let's tackle the elephant in the room from the start. Staley's defense with the LA Rams was superb, but it was not as flawless as some memories may portray it to be. The Rams were vulnerable over the middle, a weakness that became incredibly obvious against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs. The Rams would lose by a score of 32-18.
Can you ever truly go back? I do not have a good answer to that question, nor do I know how to qualify or quantify the likelihood that Staley could replicate his former stellar success. Keep in mind that Brandon Staley inherited a supercharged secondary, a formidable pass rush, and a defense that had been steadily improving.
Staley did indeed put his thumbprints all over that defense, one that was noted for incredible halftime adjustments that would put the Rams back in the hunt for victories despite early game struggles. Perhaps Staley is a prime candidate, if only to see how his second half defensive adjustments work alongside starting quarterback Matthew Stafford's ability to engineer fourth-quarter comebacks and game winning drives.
But this is not the same defense that Staley left. This is a young and energetic group of players who are less about subterfuge and camouflage and more about snarling and getting in your face. Could Staley work his magic with an almost entirely new group of players on the Rams roster?