Rams consider defensive coordinators for head coaching job as Gregg Williams reportedly heads to Cleveland

The Rams’ search for a new coach continued Saturday in New England but hit a snag before it could move to Atlanta.

Rams personnel interviewed New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. However, snowy weather prevented the group from traveling from Boston to Atlanta, where they planned to interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The Falcons’ window for allowing interviews ended Saturday, so the Rams would need to work with the team to possibly interview Shanahan before the Falcons’ Jan. 14 playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Otherwise, the Rams would have to wait until the following week.

Along with a new coach, the Rams apparently will have a new defensive coordinator.

Gregg Williams, who has held that position for three seasons, has agreed to become defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, replacing Ray Horton, according to multiple reports. The Browns fired Horton on Saturday night, the Associated Press reported.

Experience as defensive coordinators is what sets Patricia and Vance Joseph apart from the majority of other known candidates in the Rams’ search for a head coach.

With the Rams coming off two consecutive seasons as the NFL’s worst offense, most of the assistants whom they have interviewed or will meet with are offensive coordinators.

McDaniels and Shanahan are currently the most high-profile, but Washington’s Sean McVay and Arizona’s Harold Goodwin interviewed last week, and Buffalo interim coach Anthony Lynn and Jacksonville interim coach Doug Marrone are expected to be interviewed this week.

Like Carolina secondary coach Steve Wilks, who interviewed last week, Patricia and Joseph both schemed against the Rams this season and came away with victories.

Patricia, 42, was an offensive lineman and studied aeronautical engineering in college and worked as an engineer before beginning his coaching career at the college level. He joined the New England staff in 2004, and held various positions before he was named defensive coordinator in 2012.

The Patriots ranked eighth in the NFL in defense this season, giving up 326.4 yards per game. They gave up only 15.6 points per game, fewest in the NFL.

On Dec. 4, the Patriots defeated the Rams, 26-10, at Gillette Stadium. The Rams gained only 162 yards, and rookie quarterback Jared Goff faced constant pressure.

Joseph, 44, is in his first season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator. He also has coached in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.

The Dolphins’ defense ranked 29th in the NFL this season, giving up 382.6 yards per game. They gave up 23.8 points per game, which ranked 18th. 

On Nov. 20, Joseph and the Dolphins went up against Goff in his first start. Miami limited the Rams to 227 yards in a 14-10 victory at the Coliseum.

The Rams could meet with Joseph next week after the Dolphins play Pittsburgh in Sunday’s AFC playoff game.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

 

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