Frank Cignetti has a Chance to Prove his Worth


Frank Cignetti Jr. has a real opportunity to make a name for himself in the NFL. The St. Louis Rams hired Cignetti as their offensive coordinator after former coordinator Brian Schottenheimer departed for the University of Georgia. Cignetti has no prior offensive coordinator experience at the NFL level, and has more than plenty opportunities to prove himself.

Cignetti started gaining notoriety as a coach in 2002, where he served as the offensive coordinator for Fresno State, who once scored over 50 points in four consecutive games. Cignetti then spent time with the University of North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.

The Rams however, did not hire him until 2012, where they asked him to fill a vacant quarterback coaching spot. Cignetti spent 2012-2014 coaching Sam Bradford and the many backups who replaced him, and Jeff Fisher and Les Snead were impressed enough to promote him to offensive coordinator.

There are plenty of opportunities to succeed for Cignetti. The Rams offense has not been relevant for almost a decade, and fans are still not very fond of the job Schottenheimer did. Cignetti can succeed by simply using what the offense has given him, and impress everyone. Here are some examples:

Nick Foles

The obvious help that Cignetti will receive is the talented Nick Foles. Schottenheimer had to work with backup quarterbacks the last two seasons, which probably hurt him in many ways, but Cignetti doesn’t have to worry about that. Cignetti has a leader who can carry a run first offense, and possibly become the face of the franchise.

How can he make Foles successful? Easy. Just let Foles do what he came here to do. Foles is used to a much more complicated offense, so taking a step back to a pro style traditional offense will be a breath of fresh air. Don’t ask Foles to be Peyton Manning, and he will do fine. Anything is an improvement over what St. Louis has seen the past two years.

The Run Game

This  one is easy as cake. With Tre Mason already proven as a solid starter, and the addition of superstar Todd Gurley, all Cignetti needs to do is draw up some simple run plays for his new massive offensive line to wreak havoc for the star-studded running back squad. Don’t over-complicate it here, there are young linemen who are still learning, so just let them use their size to man handle everyone. Then let Gurley work.

Tavon Austin

One huge complaint about Schottenheimer was his inability to make use of the former eighth overall pick. Schottenheimer chose to run Tavon up the middle in a single back formation to get the ball in his hands. That did not settle with fans well. Cignetti now has the task to handle this burden, and it really is simple to fix.

Just hand him the ball for God’s sake.

Tavon averaged 6.2 yards a rush last year, so why not hand him the ball more?  Austin has had a great offseason thus far, training hard and impressing coaches and media by running crisper routes, and making catches in traffic. Tavon already put in the extra work, all Cignetti has to do is give him the ball.

Defensive Relief

There is pressure on the Rams offense for sure, but that pressure is slightly lifted when you have one of the top defenses in football. For example, when Seattle goes three and out, no one thinks, “great, now we will be down TWO scores” or “Oh Please God help us”, they think something more like, “Oh well, we shall have the ball again soon.” or “Maybe our defense can put up the points our offense couldn’t”.

The Rams now have that type of defense, who can give Cignetti second chances, and allow him to fix mistakes made on previous drives.

Cignetti has a real chance to prove his worth, if Cignetti succeeds, nobody will even remember that he had plenty of help behind him. If Cignetti gets the Rams to a winning season, he will simply be remembered as the coach that revamped the team, and will endow a career of success in the NFL from there on out.

Next: Signing Nick Foles Long-Term Might be the Right Option

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