Thomas Brown Leaves The Rams To Become Panthers OC

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thomas brown

Just think how many coaches the Los Angeles Rams would have lost if they’d had a winning season.

The latest departure from Sean McVay’s coaching staff is assistant head coach/tight ends coach (remember, assistant coach titles are dumb) Thomas Brown who accepted the offensive coordinator post with the Carolina Panthers last week.

Brown, 36, had spent the last three seasons as the Rams running backs coach and tight ends coach. He was also the Rams ‘assistant head coach’ starting in 2021.

Assistant coach titles really don’t mean that much. It’s not like Brown never talked to Matthew Stafford, you know what I mean? But it’s a resume line that helps assistant coaches move up to jobs like offensive coordinator (coordinators also make more $$ than position coaches).

Brown joins the staff new Panthers coach Frank Reich is putting together. He’s an Atlanta native, and Carolina is much closer to home for him then LA.

The Rams already lost offensive coordinator Liam Coen who went back to the University of Kentucky to be their play caller (I still think that was a mutual decision). NFL whisperer Albert Breer said the Rams were going to shift Brown back to running backs coach from tight ends coach had he stayed. Could that be performance based? Who knows? Neither the Rams TEs or RBs were all that hot in 2022.

Here’s what the Rams are losing and what the move means.

The Thomas Brown File

Brown was a stud running back for the University of Georgia, helping them win the 2005 SEC Championship and left with 2,646 yards in his career.

He was picked by the Falcons in the sixth round, got hurt in pre-season and put on IR. He was then waived and picked up by the Browns briefly.

I’ve seen a lot of reports on Brown that said he had an NFL career. Sorry to be that guy, but no, he really didn’t. He never had a carry in a regular season NFL game. He had 17 carries for 82 yards for the Falcons in pre-season and a TD.

But give Brown a lot of credit, because as soon as his playing days were done, he started coaching.

It’s All Who You Know

Brown started off as strength and conditioning coach back at Georgia for a year, then his resume reads like the perfect climbing-the-ladder chart.

He coached running backs at Chattanooga in 2012, then went to Marshall in same role in 2013. In 2014, he went to Wisconsin where he worked with Melvin Gordon.

Brown comes back to Georgia in 2015 as running backs coach and who’s on the Bulldogs roster? Sony Michel. So that’s the Brown-Rams-Michel link.

In 2016, Brown becomes offensive coordinator at the U working for former Georgia coach Mark Richt (Georgia connection). Miami is good, going 9-4, 10-3 and 7-6 in three seasons, but Richt retires, and Miami passes over Brown for the job going with Manny Diaz (who didn’t last).

Brown must step back and goes to South Carolina as their RB coach. McVay gives him a call in 2020 to be the Rams running backs coach and he wins a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2022…along with running back Sony Michel.

Why Do The Rams Lose Coaches?

It’s truly a testament to McVay and his reputation that the Rams keep losing so many coaches. My belief is it’s because McVay brought in a staff that is a lot like him, young, energetic, and capable of relating to NFL players in 2023.

Brown has built a strong coaching resume over the years and has a Super Bowl ring to prove it. He was probably in a situation where it was time for him to make the jump to a coordinator post (and earn some coin) but there was no spot in Los Angeles for him. The Rams hired Mike LaFleur to be offensive coordinator. It looks like Raheem Morris is going to stay as defensive coordinator and maybe Brown was like “I already coached your running backs Sean, let me move on.”

What Do The Rams Do Now?

Give McVay credit too for not standing in the way of his assistant coaches finding better jobs.

The Rams still list a whopping 15 assistant coaches on their web site, and that’s not counting McVay and the three coordinators.

The 1966 Green Bay Packers, the team that won the first Super Bowl, had six assistant coaches under Vince Lombardi. The 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went 17-0, the NFL’s only perfect team had six assistant coaches.

So McVay has a ton of options to pick from of guys who are already on staff and who want to bump up their resume as a position coach. A few names to keep in mind would be current Rams offensive assistant (another dumb assistant coach title) Nick Jones, passing game coordinator Chris Shula and offensive assistant Jake Peetz.

Jones was a teammate of Brown at Georgia and has coached tight ends in the past. Shula is the grandson of the 1972 Dolphins coach (connection) and has mainly worked with linebackers in his career. Peetz has been a quarterback coach and running backs coach with the Raiders.