The LA Rams have tapped a young and limited-experience positional coach to lead the defensive in the reports of hiring LB Coach/Pass Rush Specialist Chris Shula as the team's new defensive coordinator. That not only creates a void at the former LB Coach's role, but it also leaves a wake in the category of one more experienced coach on the defensive side of the football.
The first positional coaching hire is over. Filling the huge shoes of former DL Coach/Run Game Coordinator Eric Henderson is bound to fall short of lofty expectations. Coach Henny was a unicorn, a leader on the football field, a high football IQ in the office, and a motivator and a quality gentleman off the football field.
No matter how accomplished and qualified new DL Coach/Run Game Coordinator Giff Smith may be, he will need a great deal of time to effectively check all of the boxes for Rams fans who want an effective replacement for Coach Henny. Almost immediately, the qualities of Giff Smith are fundamentally different than those of Eric Henderson. There is no trademark infectious smile. There is a bit less passion and urgency in his voice. Those will be stark differences.
But at the same time, there is undeniable expertise and thoughtfulness in his words, his diction, and his presence. If stoicism in a DL Coach is an admirable trait, and I think that it is, Giff Smith could be the poster child of that quality.
Giff Smith weighs his words. He says what he means and means what he says. That is vital to a defensive line group that is counted on to grind for weeks in OTAs and training camp, only to be met with double and triple teams when they finally get onto the playing field. The DL Coach needs to be brutally honest with his players, because the world of NFL defensive linemen is brutal.
I think this is a great hire, as solid as the Rams hiring of RB Coach Ron Gould in 2023. Now, let me share what I've dug up on the guy so far: