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McGinnis could be the key to Rams lack of coordinator

Dave McGinnis, Jeff Fisher

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, left, talks with assistant head coach Dave McGinnis during the NFL football team’s rookie minicamp Saturday, May 12, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


As soon as St. Louis defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended by the NFL for his role in the Saints bounty case, folks wondered who the Rams would hire to replace him.

The answer turned out to be no one, and that suits the Rams just fine.

Head coach Jeff Fisher has instead split the job between three coaches: Veteran assistant Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and linebackers coach Blake Williams (Gregg’s son).

“It has been seamless,’' McGinnis told Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat. “This defensive playbook, this defensive philosophy, this defensive system originated in Jeff Fisher’s office, so we know that. We have a unique situation here in that we have coaches who have not only been in this system for a long time and seen it evolve, we also have players who are now coaching who played in this system.

“Jeff did a meticulous job of putting this staff together for a lot of really, really smart reasons. One of them being everybody is in tune with what we are doing.’'

There are several pieces in place that could help the plan work. One is middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who McGinnis compared to Mike Singletary for his ability to run things on the field.

But the key might be McGinnis himself.

The 60-year-old assistant shrugged off the suggestion he was the natural choice to call plays.

“That’s up to Jeff,” he said. “But, believe me, we will get it handled. We have enough experience on this staff and enough expertise, and with Jeff’s leadership, that’s covered.”

Widely respected throughout the league for his X and O acumen, it’s that kind of understated demeanor that makes McGinnis somewhat rare. He’s smart enough to do coordinator work, without being hung up on the titles.