Tag:Josh McDaniels
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 1:37 pm

Offseason Checkup: St. Louis Rams

Posted by Josh Katzowitz


Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups

The Rams were one of the most surprisingly successful squads in the NFL last season. Coming off a dreadful 1-15 season in 2009 – which netted St. Louis the 2010 No. 1 pick and, naturally, QB Sam Bradford – St. Louis won six more games than it had in 2009 and were a game away from taking home the NFC West division title and a postseason berth, falling instead to the Seahawks in the season finale.

But the biggest news since their loss to Seattle was the hiring of former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He’ll work closely with Bradfo

Quarterback, new offensive coordinator

While McDaniels helped current Chiefs QB Matt Cassel to a surprisingly good season the year he had to replace Tom Brady – who also got a little bit of McDaniels when he was in New England – and comes to St. Louis with a strong reputation as an offensive coordinator, Bradford will have plenty of work to do. The Rams will forgo the West Coast offense they ran last year and run more of a shotgun, spread-based scheme. This is where an offseason workout schedule would be helpful.

1. Wide Reciever
One of the most impressive accomplishments by Bradford last season was to throw for 3,512 yards to a corps of WRs that screams unknown and unproven (Danny Amendola, you’re our breakout star!!). The team lost Mark Clayton (patellar tendon) and Donnie Avery (ACL) while Danario Alexander missed eight games while undergoing a fifth (!) knee surgery. The acquisition of Randy Moss – if he would have let it happen – would have helped last year, but overall, the Rams really need help in this area.

2. Defensive Line
Surprisingly, the Rams weren’t terrible there last season, and much of that had to do with Fred Robbins and James Hall – who registered double-digit sacks for only the second time in his career at the age of 33. Overall, St. Louis ranked 19th in pass defense and 17th in run defense, and as you probably know, there’s a plethora of defensive linemen in the draft that could get a call from St. Louis (although drafting a WR in the first round makes more sense).

3. Defensive Backs
The Rams released standout SS Oshiomogho Atogwe, a defensive captain last year, because he was due an $8 million roster bonus Feb. 21. As a result, he left for Washington and left a huge hole in the St. Louis secondary. And while the Rams had high hopes in James Butler, he’s been plagued by injury and lost his starting spot. St. Louis probably won’t want to count on him.

The Rams still have plenty of holes to fill, but they also have young standouts on each side of the ball, particularly Bradford and MLB James Laurinaitis. In any other division, you’d say the Rams might struggle a bit and could feel good about themselves if they finish at .500.

But in the weak NFC West, they’ll be one of the favorites to win the division and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 12:49 am

Offseason Checkup: Seattle Seahawks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:

The Seahawks were subjected to much ridicule when they became the first team in playoff history to enter with a losing record (for that, we can thank the incredibly weak NFC West – not to mention the Rams, who fell to the Seahawks in Week 17 in a game that would have allowed St. Louis to win the division with an 8-8 mark).

But then, Seattle immediately thumbed its nose – and indirectly taunted the Giants and Buccaneers, both of whom missed the playoffs with 10-6 records – at the NFL by beating New Orleans (we can talk all day about how Seattle had an unfair advantage by getting to host an 11-5 team, but Seattle outclassed the Saints big time).

Seattle was a weird team to observe last season. The Seahawks were either pretty good (wins against the Chargers and the Bears attest to that), or they were absolutely horrid (remember the 33-3 loss to the Raiders and the 41-7 defeat to the Giants in consecutive weeks?). I never really got a handle on which Seattle team was going to show up each week, and I still couldn’t tell you whether the Seahawks were a good team last year. I kind of lean toward no, though.

Future franchise QB, Too much change

Matt Hasselbeck could return for another season, and honestly, that wouldn’t be a terrible decision, because he was decent enough last year for a 35-year-old quarterback. But his backup Charlie Whitehurst – who the Seahawks traded for last season – simply has not proved he’s a quality starter, and while third-stringer J.P. Losman started in Buffalo, there’s a pretty good reason he’s not doing it there anymore.

It seemed like coach Pete Carroll has turned over the roster about 15 times since he took over as head coach, and he’s lost a few assistants. At some point, there needs to be some roster and staff consistency, doesn’t there?

1. Franchise QB
Could Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb be that quarterback? The Seahawks would have to give up, at the very least, a first-round draft pick (and probably a mid-round pick as well) in order to trade the Eagles, but Kolb could very well be the guy to replace Hasselbeck. Emphasis on the word “could” because Kolb, as far as I’m concerned, still has much to prove as a starting QB. And if Seattle doesn’t get Kolb (and can’t re-sign the unrestricted free agent Hasselbeck), what the heck happen

2. Offensive consistency
wks fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates after just one season, probably because they averaged less than 300 yards of total offense per game and perhaps because they thought they could get Josh McDaniels to take that job. Instead, they hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Darren Bevell to replace Bates and former 49ers head coach Tom Cable as the OL coach. Maybe that will work. And if not, Carroll won’t have a problem looking for a replacement.

3. Cornerback help
Seattle allowed 11 passes of 40-plus yards last year, and though that wasn’t necessarily always the fault of the 30-year-old Marcus Trufant and the underwhelming Kelly Jennings, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Seattle takes a defensive back in the first round of the draft. The top-two CBs in the draft (Prince Amukamara and Patrick Patterson) surely won’t be around by the time the Seahawks pick at No. 25, but Colorado’s Jimmy Smith is a definite possibility.

For a playoff team, the Seahawks have soooooo much room to improve. RB Marshawn Lynch (who, you’ll recall, did this against the Saints) was serviceable after landing in the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle signed WR Mike Williams to a three-year extension near the end of the season. But the offensive line needs help (the team has used 15 (!) players on the left side of the line in the past three years), and the Seahawks could forgo a cornerback and draft a lineman in the first round.

That said, remember the Seahawks play in the weakest division in football. So, you could mark them down as favorites to win the NFC West, and you actually have a pretty good chance of being correct. But this team, like last year’s squad, could be very flawed. And it might not be very good.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: March 23, 2011 10:35 pm

McDaniels will double as Rams QB coach

Posted by Andy Benoit

No surprise here: the St. Louis Rams will not employ a quarterbacks coach in 2011. Instead, new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will handle the job.

“We're going to head that way, at least this year,” Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo said, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And I think it's a good thing. Josh has done it that way before. I think it's terrific that Sam (Bradford) will get the direct how-to-do-it, everything Josh is thinking.

"Now, you can put a quarterback coach in there and it works fine, but for the first year of absorbing it...I feel real comfortable because Josh has done it this way. Josh is really efficient with his time and his work. And when they finally get together, I just think it'll be good."

McDaniels has pulled this double duty for most of his NFL career. He held onto the quarterbacks coach title in New England even when acting as the team’s de facto offensive coordinator. In Denver, his brother Ben was quarterbacks coach.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Category: NFL
Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:18 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 6:30 pm

Teams tampering with Mike Sims-Walker?

Posted by Andy Benoit
M. Sims-Walker (US Presswire)
The best veteran wide receiver available on the open market this offseason will likely be Mike Sims-Walker. But the soon-to-be former Jaguar is not on the open market just yet. Which is why eyebrows are raised by the tweet from Charlie Bernstein of FOX Sports saying Sims-Walker has been contacted by the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans.

If true, this contact would classify as tampering. Tampering is like underage drinking: against the rules, but very difficult to police. With players sharing agents and everyone in the NFL knowing everyone else, it’s nearly impossible to not violate the letter of the tampering rule.

That said, like underage drinking, there are repercussions when a known violation has occurred.

NFL Offseason
From a football perspective, the Rams’ interest in Sims-Walker makes sense. Even if Donnie Avery can fully recover from his ’10 knee injury and free agent Mark Clayton re-signs (Clayton is also recovering from a serious knee injury), Sims-Walkers’ possession type skills could still be of great service. In new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system, three-and four-receiver sets are standard.

Sims-Walker would offer to McDaniels the same kind of skill set that Brandon Marshall did in Denver.

As for the Texans, they have a reliable compliment to Andre Johnson in Kevin Walter, but it’s time to replace the gifted but wildly inconsistent Jacoby Jones.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:46 am

NFL isn't taking any chances at last minute

Josh McDaniels was thwarted in his attempt for some last-minute coaching before the CBA expires (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As coaches and players try to figure out a way to get around the “no contact whatsoever” rules they’ll live under once the CBA expires, the NFL is cracking down on what they can and cannot do before the lockout occurs.

As reported by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, there were at least two instances when the league stepped in and foiled coaches trying to cram in last-minute instructions to players before the CBA is finished.

1) Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wanted to meet with players in February so he could talk about some of the changes he’s going to make to St. Louis’s offense, but, according to King, “the league told the Rams they couldn't do anything they wouldn't do under normal circumstances, and ruled that normal circumstances would have coaches and players not meeting 'til at least March.”

2) Another team wanted to mail DVDs to players with reminders about how to work out in the offseason. Apparently, it would have been nothing more than technique reminders, but the NFL said no, because, as King writes, there is “too much of a chance for something like that to end up in a court case, if one ever were filed by the union, with the NFLPA saying players were being pressured by the team to work out during the lockout.”

Basically, NFL players will have to be self-disciplined to work out during what could be a long holdout. Because the NFL won’t allow them any help from their teams.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 24, 2011 6:46 pm

Spags a big fan of McDaniels

From Eye on Football staff report

INDIANAPOLIS – When Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was looking to replace departed offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur – who, as you know, landed the head coaching job in Cleveland – he wanted to find a replacement who he would hate to face off against on the opposite sideline.

That’s why, he told reporters during his NFL combine news conference today, he went after recently-fired Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels.

“In the Rolodex in my head, I tried to think of the guys who were toughest to defend, guys I’ve gone against,” Spagnuolo said. “Josh jumped right out there.”

Spagnuolo respected the work done by McDaniels in regard to Patriots QB Tom Brady and Chiefs QB Matt Cassel – McDaniels worked with both as the offensive coordinator in New England – and Spagnuolo admitted McDaniels’ success with that duo is a major reason he wanted to hire him.

The fact McDaniels was unimpressive as a head coach obviously didn’t sway Spagnuolo’s mind. And why should it? McDaniels, thus far in his career, is a much better coordinator than a head coach.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:02 am

Fox: Broncos will go back to 4-3

John Fox said he'll switch Denver's defense to the 4-3 scheme (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Broncos coach John Fox is switching things up in Denver. Namely, his team’s defense.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Fox said he’s switching the 3-4 defense played under Josh McDaniels the past two years back into the 4-3 employed by Mike Shanahan for the 14 years he coached.

The move isn’t a big surprise, considering the Broncos were last in the league in 2010 in scoring defense and total defense and because Fox ran the 4-3 in Carolina.

"We're going to be a multiple-front defense, but I think we'll make the commitment to the 4-3,” Fox told the paper. “The transition from the 3-4 to 4-3 is much easier than going from the 4-3 to 3-4, I will say that. So we feel pretty confident about that switch."

What does the move mean for players like Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, who had established themselves as effective outside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme? Well, they both most likely would return to their original positions as defensive ends. The Broncos, who pick No. 2 in the upcoming Draft, also could select Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers to help complement Dumervil and Ayers.

The linebackers who would stay in that position – for instance, D.J. Williams, Wesley Woodyard and Mario Haggan – also would have to readjust to a scheme that doesn’t require them to rush the passer quite as much.

Said Fox: "We're working through that with our personnel people, both our pro and college.”

No word yet on what Champ Bailey thinks of this idea.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: February 5, 2011 5:43 pm

Lloyd on Fox, McDaniels, Tebow and his late bloom

Posted by Will Brinson

We made our way to the Playboy Super Bowl party at the Bud Light Hotel last night, and we ran into a few celebrities.

Not gonna lie -- there were a lot of celebs at the Playboy party. But the best interview we pulled, in my humble opinion, was Brandon Lloyd of the Denver Broncos.

Lloyd's obviously stoked about his current situation -- he went from being a receiver who'd never topped 750 yards in a single season (his high was 733 in 2005 with the Niners) to one of the most prolific wideouts in the NFL in 2010 as he piled up 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns for Denver.

We chatted with him about John Fox coming into Denver, Josh McDaniels leaving (and what he can do for St. Louis), Tim Tebow's leadership in the huddle and why he's succeeded so late in his career.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com