A look inside the coaching career of one of the most overrated coaches in NFL history
The inevitable has happened. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has finally gotten his wish and has moved the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles. There are tremendous financial implications that come with this move, but Kroenke should really focus more on the on-field future of the Rams; they have been mediocre at best for over a decade and the LA market has not been known for being that supportive of mediocre sports franchises.
Since the Rams have moved to Los Angeles, there have been rumors swirling that Jeff Fisher will get an extension due to his ties to LA (he’s from Los Angeles and played for USC). This would be an absolute disaster for the Rams. Not only should the Rams not extend Fisher, they should fire him. The Rams need a clean slate and a team that fans can get excited about — this starts with getting rid of Fisher.
Many Rams fans have voiced their displeasure with Fisher’s coaching, mainly through social media. Yet the Rams’ front office seems to think that Fisher is a mustached Bill Belichick. He is an old-school, hard-nosed head coach who also played in the NFL. He’s also built up a lot of goodwill off of one Super Bowl appearance a decade and a half ago. This is a case (although fairly mild case) of Ken Whisenhunt syndrome. Whisenhunt was finally fired by the Titans this season after losing 31 of his last 35 games as a head coach.
Fisher is the David Copperfield of the NFL. He’s been able to give the illusion of being a good coach in the NFL for over two decades. In fact, among coaches with 20 or more seasons of NFL head coaching experience, only two have made it to the playoffs fewer times than Jeff Fisher: Curly Lambeau and Weeb Ewbank.
Ewbank and Lambeau are both Hall of Famers who coached during eras before the playoffs were expanded. Ewbank won three titles in the NFL (including Super Bowl III). Lambeau won six. Fisher hasn’t had nearly the accolades of the above men and is coaching in the era where there are more playoff teams. In fact, he has had four consecutive losing seasons with the Rams, going a combined 27-36-1. In 20 years, no head coach has gone without a winning season in his first four years with a team and not been fired. The last coach to accomplish this feat, ironically, was Jeff Fisher with the Tennessee Titans.
You might be thinking to yourself: “Before Jeff Fisher started coaching the Rams, the Rams were a dumpster fire of a football team. Mediocrity is better than a dumpster fire.” However, Fisher’s mediocre record with the Rams is deceiving as well. Let’s look below the surface.
During the Fantasy Football season, I referred to guys who were on bad teams that got yards and touchdowns at the end of blowouts as ”Garbage Time Kings“. Their final stat lines might be respectable, but if you watched or followed the game, those yards and touchdowns often had very little impact on the final outcome.
The true “Garbage Time King” of coaching is Jeff Fisher. Even though the Rams have pushed .500 in each season under Fisher, they always play themselves out of contention around Week 12 and then inexplicably kick it into another gear when all they’re playing to ruin their draft position for the upcoming draft.
Fisher’s record through 11 games in each season as Rams head coach:
They can’t seem to start off the season hot, and then they finish strong, giving fans false hope at the end of the season and allowing Fisher to maintain his illusion of being a good head coach.
Along with Fisher’s mediocre record, his stubborn coaching style is keeping the Rams from ever becoming a major contender. The modern NFL promotes passing and higher-scoring offenses, but Fisher is intent on having the Rams play early 20th century football. Instead of telling his children bedtime stories, I bet Fisher makes his kids watch old black and white footage of Jim Thorpe running the ball for the Canton Bulldogs.
Fisher’s coaching style is also affecting personnel decisions negatively. He and the Rams GM have not made an attempt to bring in a franchise quarterback (unless you count Nick Foles) or a big play receiver, instead bringing in “his guys”. Over the last few seasons, he’s brought in the likes of Kenny Britt, Cortland Finnegan, and Jared Cook. Britt has been serviceable but both Finnegan and Cook have been disasters.
Overall, I believe the Rams have potential. Remember, this past season, they swept the Seahawks and beat the Cardinals in Arizona. They also have a young, talented nucleus of players led by Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, and Todd Gurley. But and unimaginative, overrated coach is holding the team back. It’s time for Kroenke to care about the on-field product as much as he does cares about the money it can put in his pocket.
Edited by Joe Sparacio.
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