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Rams search currently has a narrow focus

The Los Angeles Rams are currently looking at assistant coaches to fill their head coaching vacancy, but Mike Florio wonders if the Rams will go after Jon Gruden or Sean Payton.

NFL coaching searches have three general categories of potential candidates: (1) current NFL assistant coaches; (2) former NFL head coaches; and (3) current college head coaches.

For the Rams, two of those three categories apparently aren’t in play, at least not currently.

I don’t see that as being an active part of our search,” Demoff said regarding whether the team will consider current college head coaches, via Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register. “I think our focus right now is assistant coaches in the NFL who are likely to be head coaches.”

As noted by Hammond, the candidates linked to the job include Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Bills offensive coordinator/interim coach Anthony Lynn, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay, Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Jaguars offensive line coach/interim coach Doug Marrone, and Panthers assistant head coach Steve Wilks.

Demoff’s remarks suggest that the Rams won’t be pursuing former head coaches like Jon Gruden or current head coaches like Sean Payton. However, when Demoff says the “focus right now” is on current NFL assistants, the implication is that the focus can can change.

As to Gruden, he has one more game in his current ESPN gig. After Saturday, will his “intention” to not coach change?

As to Payton, who has denied any interest in leaving the Saints, the Rams as a practical matter shouldn’t activate the launch sequence for securing Payton’s services until they have otherwise conducted a normal search. Once the Rams begin talking to the Saints about what it would take to acquire Payton’s services, a presumption will arise that he’s the choice -- which will make it hard to get other candidates (including at least one minority candidate) to interview for the job.

So, for now, the Rams are looking at current assistant coaches. But it doesn’t mean the focal point won’t change once they have checked that box.