Fired, hired, un-hired, Ryan-Singletary-Jauron — ah, no.
Jeff Fisher’s search to replace the Williams’ duo took some time, but the roulette wheel finally stopped on Tim Walton. Walton was the Detroit Lions secondary coach and held responsibilities for third-down packages.
Prior to the NFL, Walton spent time at both LSU and Miami, where he coached 13 players who were eventually drafted into the NFL, including five first round picks (Patriots S Brandon Merriweather, Seahawks CB Kelly Jennings, Giants CB Kenny Phillips, Redskins S LaRon Landry and Cardinals S Antrel Rolle).
Fisher offered Walton a job last offseason with the Rams, but ultimately turned it down to stay with Detroit. Gunther Cunningham, Detroit’s defensive coordinator was ecstatic, “He’s a confidant. He does a lot of things with me on the sidelines. He’s the best defensive backs coach I’ve ever worked with.”
By the Numbers:
Detroit ranked 10th in the NFL on 3rd down last season (36.5%)…down from 32.7% in 2011, which ranked 3rd in the NFL.
St. Louis ranked 13th (37.6%) last season.
Walton’s group had a promising 2011 with 16 interceptions (3 for TD), but 2012 was a revolving door.
According to Pro Football Focus, only one player played more than 600 snaps, while 11 players played at least 100 snaps. The Lions’ pass defense was 24th in passer rating against, and PFF rated them 19th as a pass coverage unit.
Walton found himself working with recycled players like Ron Bartell and youngsters Don Carey and Jacob Lacey in 2012.
Walton found success with cornerback Chris Houston, and developed the hard-hitting safety Louis Delmas. Unfortunately injuries have plagued Delmas, who has played just over 1000 snaps in his four-year career.
Why it makes sense.
The Rams have a plethora of talented secondary players. Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson both had strong rookie campaigns and Cortland Finnegan offers a staple to build around.
Walton will likely have two new safeties to work with. Craig Dahl, ha, is a goner, and Quintin Mikell is likely a cap casualty. St. Louis is less than $2 million under the cap next season, but they could get another $9 million by cutting Mikell.
Known as a strong teacher, Walton will play a pivotal role in the growth of the Rams’ promising secondary unit.