Rams Welcome Back a Familiar Face on Defense: Report

Sean McVay

Getty Sean McVay on October 9, 2022 in Inglewood.

Sean McVay has already made two outside hires for his 2023 Los Angeles Rams coaching staff in new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and offensive line coach Ryan Wendell. But on Thursday, February 16, he’s luring back a familiar face.

First reported by ESPN NFL insider Field Yates, the Rams are welcoming back former cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant as defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator — who was one of McVay’s first coaching hires back in 2017.

“An assistant coaching return: the Rams are hiring Aubrey Pleasant as their DB coach/passing game coordinator, per source,” Yates posted. “Pleasant returns to L.A. after serving as the Lions DB coach/passing game coordinator and then a consultant for the Packers for the second half of 2022.”

Aubrey Pleasant With Lions & Past Success Under Sean McVay

Pleasant is coming back out west after two stints in the NFC North.

He was fired by the Lions on Halloween 2022, per the Detroit Free Press’s Dave Birkett. Birkett added “Pleasant is a good coach. I don’t have any doubt he’ll land on his feet. He was part of the reason Jeff Okudah has played so well this season. Lions also are 1-6, have the worst defense in the NFL and their secondary just got shredded [against the Miami Dolphins]. He’s the first sacrificial lamb of the year.”

But with the Rams, he tasted his most success there under McVay. His 2017 CB unit intercepted half of the Rams’ 18 total team picks during their NFC West title run. In 2018 during the run to the NFC title, the Rams CBs picked off the same number with nine of 18 aerial takeaways.

Notable cornerbacks he coached were Troy Hill and helping turn him into a valuable nickelback, Marcus Peters who scored three touchdowns off interceptions in a Rams uniform, Darious Williams who produced a career-best four interceptions in 2020 and Jalen Ramsey for the remainder of 2019 and during his All-Pro nod of 2020.

In his 2017-2020 run with the Rams, five different Rams cornerbacks recorded at least two interceptions under Pleasant. Now, he’s anticipated to have an expanded role in his second stint with the Rams and this time, collaborate with fellow defensive back whiz Raheem Morris while also working with one more addition to the coaching staff room.

Rams Also Hired Former College Football Head Coach

Also on board is former University of Washington head coach Jimmy Lake, with the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reporting Thursday that Lake is heading to the Rams.

The Rams hired former University of Washington head coach Jimmy Lake to a spot on Sean McVay’s staff, per sources. Lake’s title is TBD; he has mostly coached defensive backs, including with the Bucs and Lions from 2006-11 before returning to college,” Pelissero reported.

Rams insider for The Athletic Jourdan Rodrigue mentioned on Thursday that Lake was seen in the Rams facility as guest of Morris.

“Jimmy Lake visited with the Rams as a guest of Raheem Morris in the off-season just to pick the brains of some on staff (they usually host a few college coaches). He has been connected to them for an assistant coaching role since about mid-January, as I reported at that time,” Rodrigue said.

Lake produced a 7-6 record with the Huskies after taking over for Chris Petersen. However, he was suspended then eventually fired in 2021 after being seen shoving and hitting a player on the sidelines during a game.

Lake will return to the sidelines after a year off plus make a return to the NFL, as he was the defensive backs coach in 2010 and 2011 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Morris was head coach. He’s likely to have a role in the secondary next to Pleasant as Jonathan Cooley left to accept the defensive backs/cornerbacks coach position for the Carolina Panthers.

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