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Inside the Game: New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams connections

Take an inside look at the connections between the Saints and Rams before the NFC Championship on Sunday, Jan.20.

New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams connections

  • Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips served as defensive coordinator of the Saints from 1981-85 under his father Head Coach Bum Phillips and handled interim coaching duties for the last four contests of the 1985 campaign
  • Saints Pass Rush Specialist Brian Young was a fifth-round draft pick of the Rams in 2000 and played for them from 2000-03
  • Rams Defensive Line Coach Bill Johnson is a Monroe native who played at Northwestern State and coached at his alma mater, McNeese State and Louisiana Tech and served in the same position with the Saints from 2009-16. Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen also served on the same coaching staff with Phillips and Johnson in Atlanta
  • Rams Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer served on the New Orleans staff from 2008-12
  • Rams Scout Billy Johnson also served a post-graduate year as Tulane's long-snapper
  • Saints Special Teams Coordinator Bradford Banta played at USC and served on the same Detroit staff with Rams Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Barry in Detroit in 2008
  • Rams DL Michael Brockers played at LSU from 2010-11
  • Saints Defensive Line Coach Ryan Nielsen is a Simi Valley, Calif., native, who started 30 games at defensive tackle at USC from 1998-2001, finished his college playing career with 107 career tackles and was voted the team's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1999. He coached at his alma mater in 2002 as a graduate assistant and played for the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Avengers in 2004
  • Saints RB Mark Ingram and Rams LB Mark Barron won the 2009 BCS National Championship at Alabama as teammates in Tuscaloosa
  • Rams T Andrew Whitworth is a Monroe native who played at LSU and was a member of the team's 2003 national championship team
  • Saints DT Sheldon Rankins and Rams G Jamon Brown played together at Louisville
  • Rams DT Tanzel Smart is a Baton Rouge native who played at Tulane for Saints Senior Offensive Assistant/ Wide Receivers Curtis Johnson, who served as head coach for the Green Wave
  • Saints WR Michael Thomas prepped at Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Taft Charter (Woodland Hills, Calif.) HS, where as a senior in 2010, he caught 86 passes, 21 for touchdowns
  • Saints S Marcus Williams prepped at Eleanor Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.) HS and played with Rams CB Dominique Hatfield at Utah
  • Saints CB P.J. WIlliams played with Rams S Lamarcus Joyner at Florida State
  • Rams WR Mike Thomas played at Southern Mississippi
  • Saints Senior Defensive Assistant Peter Giunta was defensive backs coach for the Rams in 1997, then was the co-defensive coordinator during the 1998-1999 seasons and in 2000 was the defensive coordinator
  • Rams WR Brandin Cooks was New Orleans' first round draft pick in 2014 and played for the club in his first three NFL seasons
  • Saints RB Dwayne Washington prepped at Gahr (Calif.) HS.