Coaching Carousel 2016: Los Angeles Rams Offense

A detailed look at the impact of Frank Cignetti's departure and the promotion of Rob Boras to offensive coordinator.

Boras to Sleep?..Let's Hope Not

I'm not going to be mad at you if you don't know who the name Frank Cignetti.

I'm also not going to be mad at you if the name Rob Boras doesn't roll off your tongue.

But here's the thing, Cignetti was the Rams offensive coordinator for most of 2015, but was fired with four games remaining. Rob Boras took over play-calling and the Rams finished 3-1 which earned Boras the permanent position of Offensive Coordinator.

Who is Rob Boras?

Boras is 45 years old and hails from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. After attending DePauw University, he became the college's offensive line coach for two seasons before becoming an assistant under John Mackovic through his departure (1997). After one forgettable (3-7) season as head coach at Benedictine University, Boras joined John Robinson at UNLV for four seasons -- coaching the offensive line and serving as the offensive coordinator in his final two seasons. His NFL career began in 2004 as the Bears tight ends coach -- a position he held for six years. He would serve in the same role for two seasons in Jacksonville (2010-2011) and four seasons in St. Louis (2012-2015); until his aforementioned promotion to OC.

Boras' Bosses (NFL Offensive Coordinators)

  • Terry Shea (2004)
  • Ron Turner (2005-2009)
  • Dirk Koetter (2010-2011)
  • Brian Schottenheimer (2012-2014)
  • Frank Cignetti (2015)

This isn't exactly a who's who of NFL offensive masterminds. Koetter comes closest to fitting that bill, but hardly makes up for the uninspired offensive stylings of Boras' other mentors.

If there are three words I would use to describe Boras' offensive mentors, they would be:

  1. Varied (A mix of West Coast and Air Coryell disciples)
  2. Conservatism (Turner, Schottenheimer and Cignetti ran VERY conservative versions of their respective systems)
  3. Ineffective

Can Boras Break Free of His Mentors' Shackles?

Boras' lack of experience as an offensive coordinator is cause for concern, although plenty of coaches have made that jump successfully. Schematically it seems as though Boras' is going to build off the existing system, which would best be defined as part of the Air Coryell coaching tree. It's no surprise that the organizational mandate is to build the offense around Todd Gurley and the running game -- Head coach Jeff Fisher has made that crystal clear. Ultimately whether Boras can outshine his mentors will come down to his players and assistant coaches; does he have the horses?

  • Mike Groh, Passing Game Coordinator -- The Rams hired Groh (from Chicago) to help Boras manage the passing game. Boras will call the plays but Groh is going to be the lead man in rebuilding the league's worst passing attack. His main task will be getting 1st overall pick Jared Goff ready for prime time
  • Quarterback Jared Goff -- The Rams boldly moved up from the middle of the 1st round to secure Goff's services. Although not official, Goff will like be the full-time starter
  • Running Back Toddy Gurley -- Gurley is arguably the league's best pure running back; although he was dominant for much of 2015 and the Rams offense was still putrid
  • Offensive Line -- Our own Matt Bitonti ranks the Rams' offensive line 28th; hardly a ringing endorsement
  • Wide Receivers and Tight Ends -- The Rams added a quartet of rookies -- TEs Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway and WRs Mike Thomas and Pharoah Cooper -- to bolster the depth, but none are expected to be immediate impact players. The veteran receivers are unchanged from last year's struggling offense.

Conclusion: Baby Steps and Realistic Expectations

The Rams are rebuilding an offense from the ground up and have a rookie quarterback, two rookie tight ends and two rookie receivers that are expected to play roles. While they have an offensive cornerstone in Toddy Gurley, the offensive line remains a major question mark. Rob Boras is learning on the job, and his coaching pedigree doesn't point to stardom (outside of a few years with Koetter). Rams fans and fantasy owners should be open to improvement, but recognize that it's going to be another season or two before this team fields a competitive NFL offense.

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