Bradford, Rams need succession plan

Thoughts while St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur remains a candidate to land in Cleveland as the Browns' head coach:

  • If that happens, the Rams will want to have quarterback Sam Bradford's best interests in mind as they consider a successor for Shurmur;

  • Keeping Bradford in the same system for a long time should be the goal;

  • Name the best quarterbacks in the league and you'll find that just about all of them own multiple years in the same system;

  • Bradford has only one year in Shurmur's offense, so a scheme change at this point would not require throwing out years of accumulated knowledge, and it's possible Shurmur's offense isn't the best fit for Bradford anyway;

  • Hiring former Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress to succeed Shurmur would allow for basic scheme carryover;

  • Childress has never been known as a master play-caller, a reminder that the Rams should not hire for the sake of continuity alone;

  • Hiring former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels as coordinator could send the Rams down a path of coordinator instability similar to the one San Francisco followed (against its will) after drafting Alex Smith first overall in 2005;

  • Bradford is better than Smith, so let's not get carried away with comparisons if the Rams do change systems early in Bradford's career;

  • Bradford might play well enough in 2011 to launch his next coordinator -- whether Shurmur or a McDaniels type -- into consideration for a head-coaching job;

  • The Rams need a better succession plan than they one they brought into this season;

  • Hiring a quarterbacks coach who projects as a future coordinator could protect the Rams from instability issues in the future, even if it requires promising the job to him should the coordinator depart;

  • McDaniels' offense might fit Bradford quite well; picture Tom Brady working from the shotgun with three-plus wideouts at his disposal;

  • Agent Bob LaMonte represents Shurmur, McDaniels, Childress, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and Browns president Mike Holmgren, among others; taking away Shurmur from Spagnuolo makes more sense for LaMonte, in theory, if he can deliver a high-profile coordinator to Spagnuolo in return.

I've put together a chart showing the 49ers' coordinators since 2005.

2005-10 San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinators