Turnover in the NFC West: All Three Cardinals Division Rivals Lose Coordinators

The Seahawks fired their offensive coordinator, while the 49ers and Rams saw their defensive coordinators accept head coaching jobs in the past week.
Publish date:

This past week has seen substantial turnover on three of the four NFC West coaching staffs.

On Thursday, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Salah agreed to join the New York Jets as their head coach. He will be bringing San Francisco passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur with him as offensive coordinator.

Sunday night, the Los Angeles Chargers hired Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be head coach.

Last Tuesday, the Seattle Seahawks fired offensive play-caller Brian Schottenheimer.

Salah had been calling the defensive plays for San Francisco since 2017.

The 49ers allowed the eighth-fewest points in the league last season and the second-fewest yards en route to winning the NFC West. They allowed 30 points in two playoff wins before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers quickly named replacements promoting run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel to offensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Demeco Ryans to defensive coordinator.

Staley was in his first season with the Rams in 2020, and he led the NFL’s top defense in points and yards. 

Both coordinators got the better of the Cardinals this season down the stretch. Arizona needed a victory in either of its final two games to reach nine wins, which would have been good enough for a playoff berth. 

In Week 16 against San Francisco, the Cardinals were held to 350 yards of offense and just 12 points in a 20-12 loss at home.

In Week 17, Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray was injured in the first quarter against the Rams and did not return until the final quarter, putting the offense in a tough situation. In turn, the Rams defense had command all game, holding Arizona to seven points. The only Cardinals touchdown stemmed from a drive that started at the Los Angeles 14-yard line following an interception.

Schottenheimer had been the Seattle offensive coordinator for three seasons, and in each his units have been top-10 in the league in scoring. However, after scoring 34 or more points in six of their first eight games, they failed to reach 30 in all but one game during the second half of the season.

After scoring 26 or fewer in each of the last four games, including a 30-20 loss to the Rams in the wild-card round of the playoffs, Seattle decided to move on.

The offseason is young for the four NFC West teams, none of which will perform in next week’s NFC Championship Game. But, with several big coaching moves already, three of the teams may run a bit differently in 2021.