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Missing coordinator far from only problem for Rams' defense

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

The newly released audio of Gregg Williams’ profanity-laced speech the night before the Saints’ divisional playoff loss to the Niners has sent shudders through cyberspace and triggered widespread demands that the Rams’ new defensive coordinator be banned for life from the NFL. But our sources in St. Louis tell us that the Rams have given no indication — at least yet — that they will immediately fire Williams, who has already been suspended “indefinitely” by commissioner Roger Goodell.

As it stands, we hear the Rams continue to plan on a collective effort to replace Williams this season that will definitely involve head coach Jeff Fisher and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis and also more than likely involve Chuck Cecil, the new DB coach and a former defensive coordinator with the Titans, and Blake Williams, the new LB coach who also happens to be Gregg Williams’ son, creating what sources believe will be an “obviously awkward” situation. “The big thing is determining who will be calling the plays, which is not known yet,” said one source. “But I think it will probably end up being either Fisher or McGinnis.”

A much bigger problem at the moment, though, is finding enough starters for the defense, with nobody close to the team really having a clue as to who should currently be listed first on the depth chart at the DT spot alongside free-agent addition Kendall Langford or at weak-side linebacker. Chris Chamberlain, last year’s starter on the weak side, signed with the Saints, and the Rams currently have only four LBs under contract (starting MLB James Laurinaitis, Josh Hull, Justin Cole and free-agent pickup Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who figures to start on the strong side). “I guess they’re planning on finding those starters in the draft,” the source said. In addition, we hear Bradley Fletcher, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury, is far from being etched in stone as the starting cornerback opposite free-agent addition Cortland Finnegan.

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