Rams lose special teams coordinator John Fassel to Cowboys

GREG BEACHAM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Special teams coordinator John Fassel is leaving the Los Angeles Rams for the same job with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Rams announced the decision of their former interim head coach Wednesday on Twitter.

Fassel is the second coordinator to leave Sean McVay's staff this week. McVay fired defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on Monday.

Fassel is headed to Dallas to join the new staff of Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy, who was officially hired by the Cowboys on Tuesday.

Fassel has been in charge of the Rams' superb special teams since 2012. He moved with the franchise from St. Louis to Los Angeles, and he served as the Rams' head coach for the final three games of the 2016 season after Jeff Fisher was fired.

Fassel then stayed on staff under McVay, the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. The contracts of Fassel and Phillips were up after the Rams finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs last month.

“His knowledge and understanding of critical game situations and his special teams play-calling have helped us rank among the best in the league in those areas,” McVay said in a brief statement posted on the Rams' Twitter feed.

Along with an infectious enthusiasm, Fassel has a well-regarded reputation for innovation. He installed a wide variety of fake punts to take advantage of the arm of Pro Bowl punter Johnny Hekker, a former high school quarterback.

Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, Hekker and long snapper Jake McQuaide were all selected for the Pro Bowl last season while the Rams won the NFC title.

McVay's staff is in upheaval after the Rams finished their third consecutive winning season of his tenure by missing the playoffs by one game.

The young head coach elected to fire Phillips despite a defense that consistently outplayed McVay's struggling offense all season, and McVay was unable to hang on to one of the NFL's most respected special teams coordinators.

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