Jeff Fisher is one of the most well-liked coaches in the NFL, and the Rams are thinking of signing him to an extension. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea.
There’s just one problem: Fisher has just six winning seasons in 21 years as an NFL head coach – and none since 2008.
“He runs an antiquated system,” Rams analyst D’Marco Farr said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The way he thinks about football is the same way Pete Carroll thinks about football: defense first. But this is where the comparison stops: Who is Pete Carroll lining up at quarterback? Russell Wilson. He’s got a guy that’s on the ascent to become elite. Now, Jeff Fisher threw everything he had behind Sam Bradford when he took the job. They thought Sam Bradford was going to be able to open up the offense, throw the ball around the yard, and have the same ascension on his way to becoming that elite quarterback. Well, we all know about Sam Bradford and what he does to a football team when he gets hurt.”
The team implodes.
“Jeff Fisher, since he’s been in St. Louis, has been scrambling at quarterback,” Farr said. “It’s been patchwork, patchwork, patchwork. When you’re overmatched every single Sunday for the most part at the quarterback position, to be ale to come up with one game under .500 has been a miracle. I’ve called every single game since Jeff Fisher has been the head coach of the Rams. I’m telling you, every single game – save for the London debacle – they’ve been in every single one of these games. They’ve had a chance to win and they failed. They blew it. They missed it. But I’ll tell you this: every single Sunday, the other team had the better quarterback, for the most part.”
The Rams hope that their No. 1 overall pick, Jared Goff, can change their fortunes under center. But if he does, it likely won’t be this year.
“Case Keenum, right now, is the starter,” Farr said. “He’s the guy that finished the year last year and the offense kind of came to life when he was under center, and it made you wonder what would have happened had Case Keenum been the starter in Week 1. Nick Foles, that whole experiment was a bust. It was a disaster. I’ve never seen a quarterback play as bad as Nick Foles did early. I’m not trying to kick him when he’s down, but it’s just true. I’ve never seen a quarterback play that bad. The way Case Keenum finished up last season, he has a chance to start in 2016. But Goff is going to be the guy at some point.”
Farr said that Goff, like all spread quarterbacks coming out of college, is “a project.” It’s going to take him time to get adjusted to the league. That’s fine – just as long as the Rams are winning.
“The longer you can sit him out until he’s ready, the better,” Farr said. “But that all depends on what Case Keenum is doing in front of him.”
The Rams, by the way, haven’t had a winning season since 2003. That was okay in St. Louis in that fans kept showing up for games. That won’t be okay in Los Angeles, even with so many West Coasters on cloud nine right now.
“There are a lot of L.A. Rams fans here that never gave up hope on the football team, never gave up hope that possibly the team could return home,” Farr said. “I’m seeing both sides. It’s painful in St. Louis right now. I have a lot of friends there. I have a lot of ex-friends there. When they found out that I went back to L.A. and I’m actually still working for the team, some people just kind of wrote you off. Stan Kroenke is the enemy, the Rams are the enemy, and if you’re with them, you’re part of the enemy. I get it. It’s painful on both sides, but as players, there’s not much we can do about teams moving. That’s beyond our job description, so you have to get along with it. But seeing these pope here, seeing them with L.A. Rams gear, seeing the Coliseum decked out in L.A. Rams colors and all that sort of stuff, and seeing those people go berserk again – older people (in their) 70s and 80s that are crying that never thought they were would see the L.A. Rams again – and then to see them run out on the field and beat the Cowboys in a preseason game, it’s been amazing to watch. It’s sad on one end, but it’s been amazing on this end to watch.”
Just how long that feeling of goodwill lasts remains to be seen.
“The one thing that we know you can’t be in Los Angeles is average or below average,” Farr said. “They will just turn on you. There’s too much to do – Disneyland, the beach. No one wants to be associated with a team that’s not winning. So I think they know what the job is out here and what it entails. You have to keep winning. You have to keep that buzz going. You don’t get a chance to let it drop. You can’t win seven games total in three seasons or it’s going to be bad news. You’re going to have to contend for a playoff spot year in and year out. You’re going to have to accept that as players and as a coaching staff. I think they’re getting that across to the players. I think the coaching staff understands that. So everybody has to up their game now.”