ST. LOUIS — According to assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, the St. Louis Rams' committee approach to coaching the defense has worked well so far.
After defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, Rams coach Jeff Fisher opted to spread out the defensive coordinator's duties to several coaches.
McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and linebackers coach Blake Williams, Greg Williams' son, have all handled the job at various times.
"It has been seamless,'' McGinnis said. "This defensive playbook, this defensive philosophy, this defensive system originated in Jeff Fisher's office, so we know that. We have a unique situation here in that we have coaches who have not only been in this system for a long time and seen it evolve, we also have players who are now coaching who played in this system. Jeff did a meticulous job of putting this staff together for a lot of really, really smart reasons. One of them being everybody is in tune with what we are doing.''
McGinnis, who has been a head coach as well as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, is the most likely choice to call plays on game days, but he said that decision has yet to be made.
"Not yet,'' McGinnis said. "That's up to Jeff. But, believe me, we will get it handled. We have enough experience on this staff and enough expertise, and with Jeff's leadership, that's covered.''
Fisher said putting together a good game plan is more important than who calls the plays.
"The most difficult part of the week is putting the plan together,'' Fisher said. "Calling a defense and those kind of things is not as difficult as putting the plan together and being right and adjusting. We are more than capable of doing all three of those things.''
Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said he wouldn't be surprised if the team goes the entire season without having one man responsible for defensive play-calling because so many assistants are so knowledgeable with the defense.
McGinnis said Laurinaitis is the right man for making sure Fisher's defense, which is based on the Buddy Ryan 46-defense made famous by the Chicago Bears, operates properly.
"He's the perfect middle linebacker for this defense,'' McGinnis said. "You know the ultimate linebacker for this defense when it started evolving was Mike Singletary. I was with Mike for seven years, and the quarterback of the defense is the middle linebacker. And in this system, he has to be so in tune, he has to be right in the defensive coaches' scheme. He has to understand it and know it from a lot of different angles. We could not have asked for a more perfect middle linebacker to install this system than James Laurinaitis.
"I interviewed him at the NFL combine when he came out. I loved him then, and I love him even more now. He's exactly what you need.''
McGinnis doesn't see the Rams' coordinator-by-committee approach as being unusual.
"I don't think it's unique,'' McGinnis said. "We're going to call a defense and make them punt. On your mark, get set, go.''
Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said the defensive coaches have stressed being aggressive.
"They are installing in our minds that it is an attack defense,'' Quinn said. "Don't worry about reading, just attack. Attack and react. Get to the ball. That's the main objective. Get to the ball, get turnovers and get the ball back to our offense.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.