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DBs coach/pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant adds assistant head coach to title

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant was one of two internal candidates for the team's defensive coordinator job, alongside linebackers coach/pass rush coordinator Chris Shula.

The job ultimately went to Shula, but when McVay was discussing the decision, he said both men were both "going to be instrumental in leading our team moving forward."

Indeed, that proved to be the case, as Pleasant recently added assistant head coach to his title, McVay confirmed Tuesday.

"It's truly earned," McVay said. "Obviously, you guys know how highly I think of Aubrey. He's been here six out of the eight years. When he came back, his presence was immediately felt. But when I think about what that assistant head coach represents, it's a leader, it's a teacher, it's a mentor, it's a connector, a guy that, like I had mentioned to you guys a couple minutes ago, he's done some stuff with the rookies where he's teaching about the culture. He's obviously a really close friend, but he has earned that role based on the effect and influence where… you guys have heard me say before, 'Great leaders influence and effect positive change with people they're around, situations they're a part of.' He's checking both of those boxes and he's a great leader. He's just got a really great way about himself."

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Pleasant rejoined the Rams for his second stint with the team last season; in his first stint, he served as cornerbacks coach from 2017-20. However, as McVay alluded to, their friendship and partnership goes back further than that, having worked together on the Washington Commanders staff from 2013-16.

Last season, defensive backs accounted for nine of Los Angeles' 10 interceptions, led by three each from safety Jordan Fuller and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

In Pleasant's first stint, Rams cornerbacks ranked second in the NFL in interceptions (28), led the NFL in interception return yards (496) and led the NFL in interceptions returned for touchdowns with five. Marcus Peters (2019) and Jalen Ramsey (2020) both earned First-Team All-Pro recognition under Pleasant's guidance during that span.

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McVay said Pleasant getting the role of assistant head coach was one of the "cooler moments" he's been a part of because of the way players and coaches reacted.

"When we announced it to the team, it was one of the cooler moments I've been a part of because of the authentic excitement from the players and from the coaches because it was earned, and it was cool to be able to surprise him and see the authentic appreciation," McVay said. "But like I said, it's been earned and I'll lean heavily on him. And it's something that I'm really happy for Aubrey, but I can't say enough about how much he's earned the right to be called assistant head coach."

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