The Los Angeles Rams defense added another piece to an already explosive group. Their addition did not come on the field, but rather on the sideline as Hall of Fame linebacker and former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary has joined the Rams coaching staff.
Singletary broke the news in a radio interview (courtesy of CBS Chicago), and the Rams later confirmed his role. It has not been announced where he will impact the Rams defense – but it is easy to speculate he will have a role with the linebackers after his career both on the field and in coaching.
His return from a two-year hiatus comes at the perfect time for Los Angeles, who will be working with starters in at least two new roles entering 2016. With Alec Ogletree making the full-time move inside and Mark Barron likely making the full-time move down to linebacker, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and linebackers coach Frank Bush will need an extra set of eyes to solidify that group.
Singletary could also play a pivotal role in the development of the wealth of young linebackers on the Rams roster. They currently have five rookies and one first-year player on the roster, plus two second-year players. This inexperienced group is likely going to have to play a role in 2016, meaning their learning curve will be extremely sharp.
Singletary’s fiery coaching style mixes well with Williams’, and should help speed up the learning curve for players such as Josh Forrest, Bryce Hager and others.
The biggest role that Singletary could play is helping Ogletree learn how to play inside linebacker. As a member of the historic Bears defenses of the 1980’s, Singletary was one of the top inside linebackers. He played with great vision and instincts. His ability to teach Ogletree this, combined with Ogletree’s size and athleticism could lead to a smooth transition.
If Ogletree can slot in smoothly behind Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, the Rams’ defense can continue to be one of the best in the NFL. As his role is more defined, Singletary’s importance in Los Angeles will grow. If he can work with the young linebackers and bring them along, he could be the most important defensive addition in 2016.