Most of the names that have been tossed out as potential candidates for the Los Angeles Rams head coaching vacancy are those of the coaches or former coaches whose names always get tossed out in matters such as this.
At least one does not.
Thrown into the ring alongside the likes of Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh and Kyle Shanahan by Patriots executive and Fox Sports 1 analyst Michael Lombardi during his “Make Me Smarter Football’’ podcast this week was the name of – wait for it – former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.
That’s right, Greg Schiano.
You can almost hear the eyes rolling inside the heads of what’s left of those at One Buc Place who worked for Schiano, who became better known for where he set the thermostat in the team meeting rooms than for winning football games.
And with the understanding that Schiano and his agent have repeatedly privately campaigned with national media members to get his name mentioned for college jobs over the three years since he was fired, this time the guy doing the “selling” elaborated.
Lombardi believes Schiano has the chops to turn the Rams back into winners, largely because he believes that Los Angeles needs someone who is capable of building not just a good football team but an entire football organization.
Lombardi says Rams Executive Vice President of Football Operations and CEO Kevin Demhoff, who worked as an assistant to then-Bucs general manager Bruce Allen from 2005-08, is not that guy because he’s “not a football guy’’ and that Schiano can do what needs to be done in L.A.
“What you want is an organization built,’’ Lombardi said. “If you want to build the Rams you have to find someone who can … build the organization. Mike Shanahan can build an organization. Tom Coughlin could come in and build (an organization). Organizations win, not one guy wins.
“(That’s why) I would hire Greg Schiano. I would hire Greg Schiano because I think he got a raw deal in Tampa. Everybody ran him out of Tampa because he was mean to Josh Freeman. Well, where’s Josh Freeman now? Is Josh Freeman in the league? No.
“The guy (Schiano) built a program at Rutgers. Do you know how hard it is to win at Rutgers? Have you ever been to the great state of New Jersey? It’s hard to do that. Have you seen Rutgers won-loss record this year? It hasn’t been the same since (Schiano) left.’’
Lombardi makes some very good points, particularly about the need to rebuild the Rams organization. That is a necessity, and that in essence was what Schiano was brought to Tampa to do. But the reality is, Freeman controversy aside, Schiano lost 13 out of 14 games at the end of year one and the beginning of year two and was “dead man walking” for the final two months of the ’13 season.
He wound up rubbing too many people the wrong way and winning too few games but he probably learned a few lessons along the way from that will make him a better coach and executive the second time around.
The guess here is that this hire never happens, in part because Schiano is probably considered too toxic for the NFL and may be seen in some circles as a better fit for a college program.
That said, it would sure be interesting to see what he’d do to whip that franchise into shape. One thing we know for sure, the players would all have their toes on the line for calisthenics.