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Rams couldn't resist adding Jeff Garcia to coaching staff

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Upon promoting Frank Cignetti Jr. to offensive coordinator back in February, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher set out to bring some new blood to Cignetti's vacated quarterbacks coach position.

Fisher sought fresh ideas from someone outside the building, a rare occurrence in St. Louis since Fisher took over in 2012, especially on the offensive staff. In fact, before Brian Schottenheimer's departure to take the coordinator job at the University of Georgia, the Rams had the same offensive position coaches and coordinator three years running under Fisher.

Beyond some new ideas, Fisher also wanted to find a quarterbacks coach who came with playing experience in the league. He winnowed the choices to former NFL quarterbacks Chris Weinke and Jeff Garcia. Fisher came away duly impressed with both young coaches, neither of whom had substantial NFL coaching experience before Fisher came calling.

In the end, Fisher opted for Weinke, who had a longer history working with quarterbacks at IMG Academy. There, Weinke trained quarterbacks of all shapes, sizes and styles, which Fisher figured would make for a good fit as the Rams revamped their depth chart at the position.

But even after hiring Weinke, Fisher couldn't shake the feeling that he might be missing out on a talented young coach in Garcia. When Garcia called Fisher to thank him for the opportunity that went to Weinke, Fisher set about figuring out how to get Garcia on the staff too.

Finally, as much of the NFL world convened in San Francisco for the spring owners meetings last month, the news broke that Fisher had hired Garcia as an offensive assistant. A couple of weeks later, the Rams confirmed the move and clarified that Garcia would actually be working with wide receivers in his new role.

“We interviewed two people for the quarterbacks position, that’s Chris Weinke and Jeff Garcia," Fisher said. "When I was done with Jeff, I just felt like he’s got some special qualities and characteristics -- one of those guys you want on your staff. It took us a little bit longer, but what we’re going to do is move Jeff into the receiver room with Coach (Ray) Sherman and really, he gives a different perspective. He gives that quarterback perspective to the receivers, which I think is helpful.”

Garcia won't be bringing much coaching experience to the mix in St. Louis. He spent last season as quarterbacks coach for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. But it wasn't so long ago that Garcia was playing quarterback in the NFL. He did it for 12 years and he ran a quarterback coaching academy in San Diego after retiring from the league.

For an offense in need of fresh ideas, Garcia figures to have plenty.