Stock lands with Rams after 'Skins let him go

The master of the special teams turnaround, veteran NFL assistant Mike Stock will be asked to enact a dramatic improvement again, this time with the St. Louis Rams.

Updated: January 24, 2004, 11:51 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The master of the special teams turnaround, veteran NFL assistant Mike Stock will be asked to enact a dramatic improvement again, this time with the St. Louis Rams.

Stock, 64, fills the Rams' special teams vacancy, created when the Rams opted last week not to renew the contract of Bobby April, who had stewarded the St. Louis kicking game for the last three seasons. Stock interviewed Friday with coach Mike Martz and an offer was quickly made to the 14-year NFL veteran.

Described by Martz as "hard-nosed" and "tough," Stock coached the Washington Redskins' special teams units for the last three years. Although high-regarded by Washington officials, Stock was not asked to be a part of Joe Gibbs' new staff.

The Redskins special teams scored three touchdowns during Stock's tenure, but they also surrendered three scores. Still, the Washington kicking game demonstrated a dramatic improvement under Stock, widely known as a stickler for details.

St. Louis allowed 10 special teams touchdowns under April but, in his defense, the club never developed continuity from year to year in the kicking game. And in 2003, April was not even coaching the kickoff coverage teams, a chore that fell to some of the club's defensive assistants.

Before joining the Washington staff, Stock was with the Cincinnati Bengals (1987-91) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1995-2000). He was named the NFL's special teams coach of the year for the 1997 season.

A veteran of 39 years in the coaching ranks, Stock has a considerable college resume, with stints at seven different schools, including five seasons as head coach at Eastern Michigan (1979-83). He had a brief professional career as a running back with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL in 1961.

St. Louis has one more coaching vacancy, for a linebacker assistant, and that is expected to be filled by Kansas City aide Joe Vitt once his contract with the Chiefs expires. The Chiefs have declined requests by the Rams to speak with Vitt, but the matter will become moot when his current deal runs it course this month.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.