What's so special about LA Rams new ST Coordinator?
By Bret Stuter
If you have been following the LA Rams coaching staff losses and additions, you know that one of the big vacancies left to fill on the Rams staff is the role of ST Coordinator. That role was last held by veteran ST Coordinator Joe DeCamillis. In fact, since the LA Rams parted ways with John "Bones" Fassel, the entire special teams' play has been somewhat fluid.
The team lost placekicker Greg "The Leg," Zuerlein to the Dallas Cowboys, no doubt following Fassel. Assistant ST coach Matt Daniels followed Fassel to the Cowboys as well. The team also lost long-snapper Jake McQuaide to the Cowboys as well. In 2022, the LA Rams waived punter Johnny Hekker, who promptly signed to play for the Carolina Panthers on a three-year contract.
The LA Rams may have more positions to fill, but they have checked the box on a very important hire. Rams rumors are surfacing per NFL Insiders Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero that the LA Rams intend to hire former Assistant ST Coach Chase Blackburn as the team's new ST Coordinator. That is well timed, as the ST Coordinator will have plenty to say over who the LA Rams draft on Day 3.
The first wave of information about this guy is not exactly compelling data. In fact, it's a bit of a head scratcher. If the LA Rams want to excel at special teams, shouldn't the team focus upon getting a ST coordinator from a successful program? The surface data of Blackburn's special teams are a bit . . . ordinary.
That brought two lines of thinking to the forefront.
The first thought was that LA Rams are not the type of organization that just hire a guy because he is a smooth-talking candidate in the interview process. In fact, interviewing in front of head coach Sean McVay is almost a thesis paper of sharing all of the football information that the coach has amassed over his career. So a candidate who has some explaining to do with the past performances of his ST unit that failed to meet the objectives (presumed to be playing well) would have to be discussed and explained at length.
But then a second thought occured to me. Special teams are not a homogenous unit. Rather, it falls under the NFL umbrella category of 'All Other,' in that it is anything that happens on the football field that is not offense or defense. That means, it is kickoffs and coverage, punts and coverage, punt returns, kickoff returns, and field goals. Any one of which could 'derail' the overall performance of a special team ranking. So let's break down what the LA Rams are likely looking for, and what Chase Blackburn brings to the table: