The Rams have begun the search for their next head coach, with the club reportedly interviewing Panthers assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Steve Wilks for the position on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Rams C.O.O./E.V.P. of Football Operations Kevin Demoff sat down with Rams insider Myles Simmons and Voice of the Rams J.B. Long to discuss the interview process and all that it entails to find a new head coach.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview.
Q: How do you feel about where the Rams job stacks up against other teams?
A (Demoff): "I think the job is very attractive. But I think it's going to take the right fit. There are also going to be people who, there are some coaches who may say, 'I want to coach in Los Angeles.' There are some coaches who may say, 'I prefer to be in a smaller market.' I think all of those factors come in. It's individualized for us, and it's individualized for each of the coaching candidates — how they prioritize the way the world works. You may have a coach from a certain area of the country who wants to get back there. I would love, at this point, if all of the coaching candidates were from Southern California and wanted to get back here. But that's not the case.
But I think as the jobs stack up, I'm sure there are positives and I'm sure there are negatives. Quite frankly, if you have an opening, there are negatives. That is why you have an opening. The key is, what are the positives to your job? How do people view it? And I think when you look at us, the first thing people look at is ownership. Stan's commitment to Los Angeles, the project that we're doing at Hollywood Park, the fact that he's been a patient owner in all sports. When you look at not only the Rams — I think people point to that — but you look at Arsenal and the run that Arsène Wenger's had, and you look at the Nuggets and the run that George Karl [had] — you have a history of veteran coaches who have had a long time and the people have done that."
Q: Many of the NFL assistants the Rams are reportedly interested in played the Rams in the 2016 season. Is part of why you're casting such a wide net to get honest, candid feedback about where the roster is?
A: "Well I think there are two reasons you do it. The first is, you want to know what everybody thinks about our football team. This is your best chance to learn about your football team, your organization that you're going to get — ever. These people are walking in and telling you, hey, I've played against you, I've studied your team. This is what I think your strengths are, this is what I think your weaknesses are. You'd be a fool not to try to get as much of that opinion as possible — to try to get away. … Al Davis used to have coaching searches that went on for three, four weeks because he wanted to talk to everybody about every player on his team. And some of it was just informational, and some of it was, you were a real candidate.
"I think for us, the way it's a different era now — you can't just do informational interviews. You have to identify who you want, talk to them, and have them be real candidates. But it is helpful, as you've mentioned, that nine of the 11 guys that we've been linked with have played us because they have experience. And when you talk to guys, maybe it's a team who blew us out. Maybe it's a team we played twice and split with. Maybe it's a team that came down to the very end and we made a mistake, and they say, 'Hey, that's your fatal flaw.' You learn a lot about your football team. And it's easy to walk in and say, hey, Aaron Donald, Johnny Hekker are really good players. But what you find out is… maybe you're the 32nd-ranked offense. We liked some of your talent, but maybe your scheme wasn't there. Or maybe your scheme was there, but your talent wasn't there. Those are the questions that we're trying to get to the heart of and people do give you great information there. And then you can go build that back and filter."
Q: What are some of the traits that you prioritize, or would like to see in the next head coach?
A: "We talked about this at the press conference — it's leadership. It's getting the most out of the 53 guys, the 10 practice squad players, the training staff, the equipment staff, working hand-in-hand with personnel. It's leading the organization. And the one thing, I think you look at the past few years — Jack Del Rio going to the Radiers probably wasn't the most talked about hire of that cycle. Jack Del Rio's done a really good job developing Derek Carr and that franchise to where they've gone. It's a defensive coach taking a good, young offensive player and making him better. Dirk Koetter getting promoted in Tampa and the improvement Tampa made. When you look at Tennessee, Mike Mularkey and the improvement they made. I think if you look at John Harbaugh coming out of nowhere and how that hire's done — there's so many different ways to get this right, and the formula that works that people look at. But I think the common trait that you find in all of them is leadership. There isn't the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball, special teams coach, a college coach — there is no silver bullet in head coaching. You can study all the numbers and the analytics — if everybody knew the one formula to get, you would go do it."