Chris Shula, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, will be the Los Angeles Rams’ new defensive coordinator, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The individual talked to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday because the team has not yet announced the elevation of Sean McVay’s longtime assistant and college teammate.

Chris Shula succeeds Raheem Morris, who was named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons after winning a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator.

Chris Shula and Sean McVay were teammates at Miami of Ohio, and Shula has served as McVay’s assistant since the head coach’s first season with the Rams in 2017. Shula even resided in McVay’s home when they first relocated to the West Coast.

Shula, 37, has coached Los Angeles’ linebackers in a variety of roles for all but one of his seven seasons with the organisation. He was promoted to pass game coordinator in 2022 while coaching the defensive backs, and he became the Rams’ pass rush coordinator last season while coaching the linebackers.

McVay has hired Shula as his fourth defensive coordinator, following Wade Phillips, Brandon Staley, and Morris, who led the Los Angeles defence for the last three seasons.

Shula is the son of former Cincinnati Bengals coach Dave Shula. His grandfather, who died in 2020, became the winningest head coach in NFL history during his tenures with the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins.

McVay evaluated numerous candidates for Morris’ position, but chose to promote the longest-tenured member of his coaching staff after another offseason of high turnover among his assistants.

The Rams must make many new hires after losing at least five assistants, including quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, who will be Morris’ offensive coordinator in Atlanta, and respected defensive line coach Eric Henderson, who has moved on to USC.

Shula takes over a defence that outperformed almost everyone’s expectations this season despite losing Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd, and nearly all of its starting secondary to the Rams’ cost-cutting tactics following their dismal Super Bowl title defence in 2022.

Los Angeles Rams offseason news and notes - Revenge of the Birds

Los Angeles ranked 20th in the league in yards allowed this season and 12th against the run, yet the team won ten regular-season games and advanced to the playoffs for the seventh time under McVay. Aaron Donald received his sixth All-Pro selection, while rookie nose tackle Kobie Turner and edge rusher Byron Young were unexpected standouts.

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