In a strategic move within their coaching roster, the Los Angeles Rams have elevated Chris Shula to the role of defensive coordinator, stepping into the vacancy created by Raheem Morris's departure. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Shula, previously the team's pass rush coordinator and linebackers coach, will now helm the defense.
This transition comes as Morris takes on the head coaching position with the Falcons, leaving the Rams in search of a new defensive leader. Head Coach Sean McVay conducted an extensive search for his replacement, considering both external prospects like ex-Commanders coach Ron Rivera and internal talent.
Among the internal candidates, Shula and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant were notable contenders.
Shula's Steady Rise
Shula, the progeny of the legendary Don Shula, has been on a steady ascent within the NFL coaching echelons for nearly a decade.
His tenure with the Rams spans seven years, during which he progressed from assistant linebackers coach to his latest role. In 2022, he was named pass game coordinator, and in 2023, he took on the role of pass rush coordinator.
Renowned for his contributions over the years with the Rams, Shula's competence has been acknowledged beyond the team, with the Dolphins expressing interest in him for a similar position. However, the Rams were keen on retaining the 37-year-old within their ranks.
Fox Sports' Peter Schrager highlighted Shula's exceptional performance during his interview, suggesting that his appointment will be well-received by the team's coaching staff. In addition to filling the defensive coordinator position, the Rams are reportedly considering internal candidates for other vacancies.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports revealed that assistant defensive line coach AC Carter is being evaluated for a more prominent role. Carter, who entered the NFL coaching scene in 2022 with the Broncos, made a significant impact with the Rams, notably aiding rookie Kobie Turner in achieving a team-high nine sacks last season.
This series of internal promotions underscores the Rams' commitment to cultivating leadership from within, leveraging the existing strengths of their coaching staff to maintain continuity and build on their defensive strategies.