Friday, January 11, 2008

The Art Vandelay Era begins

Apparently, there's nothing wrong with the Rams coaching staff that can't be fixed by hiring on MORE Scott Linehan cronies. The St. Louis Rams welcome Art Vandelay, ER, Valero, hired apparently on the strength of having worked on the Louisville staff with Linehan from 1999-2001 as offensive line coach. You know, that legendary Louisville program that went 1-1 in Liberty Bowls with Linehan at OC.

I crunched some numbers from the UofL football website: though quite subject to error, my findings were that Louisville gave up a sack every 16 pass attempts and averaged a sack-adjusted 4.52 yards a rush under Linehan and Vandelay. You'd take 4.5 a rush in the pros any day; the rough average is 4.0. A sack per 16 attempts is pretty average in the NFL, though Marc Bulger will take it; he was dropped once every 11 dropbacks last year. Of course, how well college numbers translate to the pros in the first place is a whole other issue.

Also subject to error, going through NFL draft history at, (what happened to the awesome site? Is it dead?), I found no Louisville offensive linemen coached by Vandelay who were drafted, and only found two linemen he's ever coached who were drafted. (Karl Nelson and Bruce Reimers at Iowa State, where he coached in 1983.)

So, let's say you're Scott Linehan, browsing for offensive line coach candidates. Do you go after Mike Solari, whose Chiefs line was one of the top two or three of this decade? Do you go after Hudson Houck, an offensive line coaching legend who coached Hall-of-Famers at USC? Who built the dominant Rams offensive line of the 80s and the dominant Cowboys offensive line of the 90s?

Or do you hire a coach who's never coached offensive line in the pros, never really developed a pro lineman prospect in college, and hasn't coached offensive line at any level in six years?

Sigh. From his resume (which probably won't be at much longer), Art Vandelay sounds like he'd be a fine tight ends and fullbacks coach, and God knows the Rams need help in those areas. But he's here to coach offensive line, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence he'd be any improvement over the unjustifiably-fired Paul Boudreau. His main qualification? FOSL.

I'd just as soon he stick to imports and exports myself.

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