For Ejiro Evero, coaching safeties for the Rams represents a bit of a homecoming. Having grown up in Southern California, he's glad to be back in the area. But that doesn't mean he's sleeping in his childhood bedroom.
"I grew up in SoCal but it was way inland — Rancho Cucamonga ain't nowhere near the ocean," Evero said in a recent interview with a laugh.
Still, Evero is glad to be coaching on a staff under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and headed by Sean McVay. Having known McVay for eight years, Evero said he believes in the head coach and feels like he's got special coaching abilities. That relationship was one factor in Evero coming to Los Angeles, but that didn't mean McVay would hire Evero on the spot.
"The thing he told me as soon as he got the job was, 'Hey, look man, you're my boy, I love you, you're great. But we're not doing any favors here. This isn't a charity. We need to bring the best people in here,'" Evero said. "And I'm like, 'Hey, that's exactly what I want. I don't want any favors. I want to come in there because I can get the job done. And I'm going to be the best guy for the job.' So that was the starting point."
And when it comes to Phillips, Evero said he's looking gleaning some of the defensive coordinator's considerable knowledge and experience.
"Obviously, his track record is unprecedented," Evero said. "And the ability to work with him — I can't wait to get to know him more and learn his schemes more and all that."
One aspect of Evero's job that is a bit different than some of the other position coaches is how closely he'll be working with cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant. In any defensive set, the corners and safeties must work in tandem. Pleasant and Evero know this and are already on the same page when it comes to setting up how they'll implement Phillips' scheme.
"That's the one thing that's good about 'E' and I, is that we've known each other — obviously, both of us have been friends with Sean for a while," Pleasant said. "But it's very important that when you split the defensive backs room, and you don't make it a DBs coach and an assistant, or if you go corners and safeties — you've got to be family. You've got to have continuity."
What helps in the continuity aspect is both Evero and Pleasant have worked under former Buccaneers head coach — and current Falcons assistant head coach — Raheem Morris. A former college defensive back himself, Morris has coached defensive backs for Tampa Bay, Washington, and Atlanta. In that way, Evero and Pleasant already have a common base of knowledge to pull from.
"We're not always going to agree on the way we want to see it," Pleasant said. "But we have to make sure that when we walk out of our room, it's one voice, one sound. So when we walk in there with the players, it's the same thing."
As for the players with whom Evero and Pleasant will work, Evero said he's encouraged by his film study of what the Rams already have in place when it comes to safety talent.
"We're not coming into a situation where it's a bare cupboard and we've got to completely rebuild this thing," Evero said. "We've got players here. And, obviously, we've got to do more. We've got to get more out of them. But we're excited about that. And we think we really have success, and we can have it a lot quicker than people think."