Divisional losses could be Rams' gain

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The news that Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is taking over as the head coach of the New York Jets should be well received in St. Louis.

Bowles' departure from Arizona represents the second sizable loss for an NFC West division foe this offseason after the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh parted ways right after the season. For the St. Louis Rams, both of those departures are good news.

In just two years as the Cardinals' coordinator, Bowles' defenses gave the Rams fits more often than not. In four meetings, the Rams' offense mustered just 286.8 yards per game, 3.6 yards per carry and 14.2 points per game. Rams quarterbacks managed a lowly 20.3 QBR in those games while being sacked 12 times and throwing six interceptions. Included in those meetings, Bowles' defenders managed two interceptions returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery for a score and a safety.

The Rams were 1-3 in those games with the win coming in the only game in which they had a good offensive performance, the 2013 season opener in St. Louis. It's probably no coincidence that effort was the one game in which the Rams were led by a healthy Sam Bradford at quarterback. It was also Bowles' first game as a coordinator and the Rams were running the since scrapped wide-open offense they were trying to implement at the time.

In the other three matchups, the Rams started Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis and Shaun Hill at quarterback. In those meetings, the current three-game losing streak for St. Louis, the Rams' offense averaged 260.3 yards per game, 3.92 yards per carry and 10 points per game. Bowles' penchant for blitzing gave those Rams quarterbacks fits.

While Arizona should be able to bring back most of its defensive talent, the Cardinals now face the task of finding a good fit who can fill his shoes. Dick LeBeau has been rumored as one possibility but Arizona can ill-afford to lose the aggressive approach that Bowles had so much success with.

Bowles' exit to the East might not be the last bit of good news within the coaching carousel for the Rams. Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn remains a strong candidate for other openings, and also could be on his way out.

Of course, attrition around the division won't help the Rams more than hiring a creative and talented offensive coordinator and improving the roster at quarterback and on the offensive line.