3 Members of Rams Organization Viewed as Rising Stars

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images Sean McVay is still viewed as a rising star in the NFL.

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Rams have been one of the top organizations in football in recent years.

Since their move to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams have made the playoffs in four of six seasons. They’ve won the NFC twice and after losing in the Super Bowl in the 2018 season, they avenged the loss in 2021 to win their first Super Bowl since moving back to Los Angeles.

It obviously takes a lot of talented people within an organization to have sustained success over a six-year period to help win a Super Bowl. Not only did the Rams have several talented players that contributed to that, but they also had numerous talented people on the coaching staff in the front office to make that happen.

Some of those non-players who helped Los Angeles reach great heights in recent years are also relatively young, too. The Athletic included three people from the Rams organization in its annual NFL 40 under 40, which identifies 40 non-players around the league who are thought to be rising stars.

Sean McVay is One of Five Head Coaches on the 40 Under 40 List

The first Rams on the list shouldn’t be much of a surprise. McVay, who’s 36, is already one of the most accomplished coaches in the NFL. McVay’s helped the Rams make the playoffs four times in his five seasons as head coach, spearheading a seven-win turnaround when he became the team’s head coach in 2017.

When the Rams hired McVay, he became the youngest coach in the NFL’s modern era. The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones couldn’t help but marvel at what he’s done in his five years in Los Angeles.

“Maybe we should just name this list after McVay, who’s making his third appearance on it and has created the blueprint for success for other under-40 coaches,” Jones wrote. “The hallmarks of that plan? Have a clear offensive vision, a magnetic personality, endless energy, a deep connection with players and an eye for coaching talent. (McVay’s staff is deep with young coaches, as you’ll see below.)”

Not only does McVay already have great on-field success, but he’s also helped his assistants land top jobs, too. Four of McVay’s former assistants hold head coaching jobs in the league, and three of them (Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, Bengals coach Zac Taylor, and Chargers coach Brandon Staley) are included on the 40 under 40 list.

“It’s a long-running joke that working for McVay is the quickest way to land a head coaching job, but his ability to keep finding and developing high-level coaches is impressive as well,” Jones wrote.

2 Lesser-Known Members of the Rams’ Organization Made the Cut

As teams continue to pluck coaches from McVay’s staff, Jones identified someone who could be the next head coach hired from McVay’s coaching tree: Defensive line coach and run game coordinator Eric Henderson.

Jones praised the 39-year-old assistant coach’s ability to get the best of his unit, especially during the Super Bowl run this past season.

“He might be under the radar publicly, but not among his NFL coaching peers, who voted him the John Teerlinck Defensive Line Coach of the Year last season,” Jones wrote. “Henderson received high marks from his peers for his ability to teach and connect with superstars such as Aaron Donald and Von Miller to grinders like Greg Gaines. His group had 50 sacks in the 2021 regular season, third-most in the NFL, but turned it up even more in the playoffs. The Rams had 12 sacks in the postseason, including seven of Burrow in their Super Bowl win.”

Henderson’s worked his way up the coaching ranks over the last decade. He began his coaching career with Georgia Military College, a junior college, in 2012 as an outside linebackers coach. He had a three-year stint as a graduate assistant with Oklahoma State starting in 2013 before heading to UTSA to become its defensive line coach in 2016.

Henderson made the leap to the NFL in 2017, joining the Chargers’ staff to become the assistant defensive line coach. He made the cross-town move in 2019, joining the Rams for the position he holds now.

The other member of the Rams who made the list is vice president of football and business operations Tony Pastoors. The 34-year-old was credited by Jones for helping the Rams make the moves that allowed them to add several star players in recent years.

“In the past year, he has helped the Rams swing the trade for Von Miller (which required the Broncos picking up much of Miller’s salary) and worked out the money for quarterback Matthew Stafford’s new contract,” Jones wrote. “Most recently, he figured out, along with general manager Les Snead, how to make Aaron Donald the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback while also extending wide receiver Cooper Kupp on a deal that includes $75 million in guarantees.”

Unlike McVay, it’s easy to think that Henderson and Pastoors might not have long-term futures in Los Angeles. Henderson is currently working under Raheem Morris. The Rams’ defensive coordinator is already viewed as one of the top head coaching candidates for 2023, which could mean Henderson gets promoted soon. But with the way McVay assistants have been hired, Henderson might only need a couple of seasons of coordinator experience before getting a head coaching job.

Pastoors has been with the Rams since 2010, working under general manager Les Snead since 2012. Pastoors has obviously helped build the Rams into a Super Bowl winner with Snead and could be loyal to the organization he’s worked with since graduating college. Former Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes became the Lions’ general manager in 2021, though, which could indicate that teams are looking at Los Angeles’ front office to hire their next general manager.