Friday, February 10, 2017

The Los Angeles Weekly Roundup

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Kurt Warner Elected Into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Rams QB KURT WARNER was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2017, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today. With Warner’s selection, the Rams now boast a total of 30 Hall of Famers – 18 of which spent a significant portion of their careers with the franchise.

“Kurt Warner will always be remembered as one of the NFL's most outstanding quarterbacks,” Rams Owner/Chairman E. STANLEY KROENKE said. “His journey from working the aisles of a grocery store to winning two NFL MVP awards serves as a reminder to never stop pursing your dreams. The Rams enjoyed an incredible run, which included our first Super Bowl title, in large part to his leadership and toughness. Off the field, he and his wife, Brenda, devoted their lives to serving others, and thousands continue to benefit from their outreach initiatives. For these reasons and many more, we congratulate Kurt and his family on this ultimate honor.”

Warner, a three-time finalist, was first eligible for enshrinement in 2015. His resume includes two NFL MVPs, four Pro Bowls, two First-Team All-Pro selections and a Super Bowl MVP trophy, which he earned after throwing for a Super Bowl record 414 yards in the Rams’ win over Tennessee.

In all, he made three Super Bowl starts (XXXIV, XLIII, XXXVI) and owns the top three Super Bowl passing-yard performances in Super Bowl history and ranks second in career Super Bowl passing yards. Warner is also one of just three quarterbacks in NFL history to start a Super Bowl for two different teams, joining Craig Morton and Peyton Manning.

During the 1999 campaign, as a member of the “Greatest Show on Turf,” Warner threw 41 touchdown passes, the most in franchise history. Two seasons later, he tossed 36 touchdowns – the second-highest output by a Ram.

The franchise finished in the top five in passing offense in five-consecutive seasons with Warner as the starting quarterback (1999-2003). Under his watch, the Rams also led the NFL in yards per game, passing yards per game and points per game for three-straight seasons (1999-2001). Warner also finished first in completion percentage after the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons – a category he led at the time of his retirement and currently ranks fourth all-time.

From 1999-2009, his time as a starter, he ranks fifth in passing touchdowns, fourth in passing yards and second in completion percentage.

The Class of 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Aug. 5 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
McVay Finalizes Coaching Staff

Rams Head Coach SEAN MCVAY announced today that his 18-member coaching staff is complete. 

“We have a great group of talented coaches that I’m very excited to work with this year,” McVay said. “They have a vast array of experiences and the qualities we are looking for as we build this staff. Their unique insight to the game will collectively make this team better as we prepare for the 2017 season.”

McVay previously announced WADE PHILLIPS as defensive coordinator on Jan. 19. Joining him as coordinators are MATT LAFLEUR who will oversee the offense and JOHN FASSEL who returns to the Rams for his sixth season as special teams coordinator. 

McVay’s offensive staff will consist of ANDY DICKERSON (assistant offensive line), AARON KROMER (offensive line), ZAK KROMER (offensive quality control), GREG OLSON (quarterbacks), SKIP PEETE (running backs), ZAC TAYLOR (assistant wide receivers), SHANE WALDRON (tight ends) and ERIC YARBER (wide receivers).

Making up the defensive staff are JOE BARRY (assistant head coach/linebackers), THAD BOGARDUS (defensive quality control), EJIRO EVERO (safeties), BILL JOHNSON (defensive line), AUBREY PLEASANT (cornerbacks), and CHRIS SHULA (assistant linebackers). TED RATH (strength and conditioning) rounds out McVay’s staff and will enter his first season with the team as the strength and conditioning coach. 

•    John Fassel (Special Teams Coordinator) – Served as the Rams’ special teams coordinator for the past five seasons where his units have consistently finished in the top tier of league rankings. Was Los Angeles’ interim head coach for the final three games of 2016. Led the Oakland Raiders’ special teams (2008-11) and served as an assistant in Baltimore (2005-07) prior to joining the Rams in 2012. Is the son of former Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel.

•    Matt LaFleur (Offensive Coordinator) – Entering his first NFL season as an offensive coordinator following a two-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16) coaching quarterbacks, where he concluded the 2016 season with an NFC Championship title. Held the same position with the Washington Redskins (2010-13) where he coached alongside McVay. First NFL coaching position came in 2008 where he served as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans (2008-09). Made five collegiate coaching stops over the course of his career which began in 2003 at his alma mater, Saginaw Valley State.

•    Wade Phillips (Defensive Coordinator) – Brings 39 seasons of coaching experience to Los Angeles, which includes 25 as a coordinator (seven teams) and nine as a full-time head coach (three teams). Previously held the same position with the Denver Broncos the past two seasons where he helped led the club to a victory in Super Bowl 50. Named Assistant Coach of the Year twice by the Pro Football Writers of America (2011 & 2015). Started his NFL career with the Houston Oilers under his father, Head Coach Bum Phillips.

•    Joe Barry (Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers) – Now in his 16th NFL season, including four as a defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins (2015-16) and the Detroit Lions (2007-08). In his first stint coaching linebackers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he helped lead the team to their first championship with a 48-21 win over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

•    Thad Bogardus (Defensive Quality Control) – Joins the Rams for his fourth season as an NFL assistant. Started his NFL career in 2014 with the Buffalo Bills as a defensive quality control coach and went to the Denver Broncos for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Began his career as a graduate assistant at Ball State (2012-13).

•    Andy Dickerson (Assistant Offensive Line) – Enters his 11th NFL season and sixth with the Rams after serving as an assistant for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. Also worked in operations for the New England Patriots and played offensive line at Tufts University in Boston.

•    Ejiro Evero (Safeties) – Begins his first season with Los Angeles after spending 2016 as the defensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers. Spent five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-2015) as a defensive assistant, offensive assistant and quality control coach. Name is pronounced e-JEE-row EV-uh-row.

•    Bill Johnson (Defensive Line) – Coached defensive line for nearly four decades and boasts 16 years of NFL experience. Comes to Los Angeles from New Orleans where he developed the Saints defensive line for eight years. Served in the same role with the Denver Broncos (2007-08) and the Atlanta Falcons (2001-06). Son, Billy, is entering his fifth year with the Rams as an area scout.

•    Aaron Kromer (Offensive Line) – Was the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line coach the last two seasons and prior to that, served as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears (2013-14). Other NFL stops include the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders. Coached nine years on the collegiate level prior to entering the NFL ranks.

•    Zak Kromer (Offensive Quality Control) – Comes to Los Angeles after coaching in the same capacity for the Buffalo Bills during the 2016 season. Prior to joining the Bills, he was a student assistant for the University of Oklahoma’s football team.

•    Greg Olson (Quarterbacks) – Joins the Rams for his second coaching stint with the club where he previously served as an offensive coordinator from 2006-07. Resume includes nine seasons as an offensive coordinator in the NFL with four franchises and 30 years total of coaching experience. 

•    Skip Peete (Running Backs) – Veteran of 18 seasons as an NFL assistant returns to Los Angeles for his second season. His previous coaching stops include coaching running backs for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and Oakland Raiders. His father, Willie, was a longtime college and NFL coach, and his brother, Rodney, played 16 seasons as an NFL quarterback.

•    Aubrey Pleasant (Cornerbacks) – Coached with McVay at the Washington Redskins for four seasons beginning in 2013. Started his NFL career as an offensive assistant in Washington before transitioning to a defensive quality control a year later. Became the Redskins’ assistant defensive backs coach in 2016.

•    Ted Rath (Strength and Conditioning) – Enters his ninth NFL season and first with Los Angeles after spending 2016 with the Miami Dolphins as the club’s strength and conditioning coach and the previous seven seasons with the Detroit Lions in the same capacity (2009-15).

•    Chris Shula (Assistant Linebackers) – Hired as a defensive quality control by the San Diego Chargers in 2015 and previously served as defensive coordinator at John Carroll University. Played college football with McVay at Miami (Ohio) and is the son of former Bengals Head Coach David Shula and grandson of Don Shula, Hall of Fame head coach of the Colts and Dolphins.

•    Zac Taylor (Assistant Wide Receivers) – Comes to Los Angeles after spending 2016 as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Began his NFL coaching career coaching quarterbacks for the Miami Dolphins staff in 2012 and was named offensive coordinator in 2015. His brother, Press, is an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.

•    Shane Waldron (Tight Ends) – Was a member of the Washington Redskins’ staff last season and served as the team’s offensive quality control coach. His other professional football coaching experience includes the wide receivers for the Hartford Colonials (UFL), and tight ends and offensive quality control for the New England Patriots.  

•    Eric Yarber (Wide Receivers) – Most recently coached wide receivers at UCLA dating back to 2012 after two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five seasons in the NFL overall. Other coaching stops include the Seattle Seahawks, Oregon State, San Francisco 49ers, University of Washington and Arizona State. Was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1986 and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXII.
Rams Sign Eight Players to Futures Contracts

The Rams on Tuesday announced the signing of eight players to Reserve/Futures contracts.
Futures Contracts Players:
DB Jerome Couplin (William & Mary)
LB Cassanova McKinzy (Auburn)
LB Reggie Northrup (Florida State)
DB Kevin Peterson (Oklahoma State)
WR Brandon Shippen (Temple)
DB Kevin Short (Fort Scott CC)
RB Brandon Wegher (Morningside)
TE Bryce Williams (East Carolina)
All eight players were part of the Rams practice squad for some portion of the 2016 season.
A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Football team, and Political Science.