Check any NFL comment section, any Monday morning NFL column, or any sports talk show on TV, and you’ll get everything you ever need to hear about Jeff Fisher, head coach of the LA Rams.
The guy lives on the hot seat in the NFL and has coached numerous teams. He’s certainly a controversial figure – not for his attitude on the field, but for his results. Hell, he’s even got a date named after his record: August 8th. That’s 8-8, Fisher’s favorite record as a coach in the NFL.
Yet again, Fisher is under the pump in Los Angeles. After another rough start, the team is once again fielding criticism for the journeyman head coach. And now, the national media has set its sights squarely on Fisher.
#Rams Eric Dickerson told me Jeff Fisher called him and said “As long as I’m head coach, you’re not welcome on the sideline.”
— Liz Habib (@LizHabib) November 29, 2016
See, earlier this week, Rams Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson told reporters that he’d been banned for Rams games by Fisher for his criticism of the team. The beloved icon has been making the media rounds since, as Fisher again fans flames of people calling for his head.
Now, the Rams are back to wondering what went wrong, as the fans debate the merits of whether this guy is the right one to lead them to the promised land.
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 29, 2016
But what exactly did they expect? No, this isn’t an article lambasting the Rams for hiring Fisher in the first place, or even one of the thousands that try and paint him as a bad coach.
See, Fisher and the Rams appeared on Hard Knocks this year, an HBO show that features the training camp of one interesting NFL team each season. And a famous clip from that show over the summer was Fisher defiantly proclaiming, “I ain’t going 9-7 again.”
For the 5th straight year, the Rams have the youngest roster in the NFL after 53-man cutdowns.
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) September 4, 2016
And he’s right. Instead, the Rams are staring a losing season square in the face. But again, what exactly were the Rams expecting to be different? The Rams sent out the youngest roster in the NFL this season, which they’ve done in each of Fisher’s five seasons at the helm.
That’s hard to do, considering rosters don’t normally see that level of do-over year in and year out. Obviously, it’s a bad sign, meaning either they are drafting busts that don’t pan out, or that the players are leaving town in free agency once they mature.
And both of those happen to be true. To make matters worse for Fisher, the Rams doubled down on a young quarterback to spice up their return to LA this season. It was blatantly an effort to garner attention, and to signal that the franchise was ready to win now. Until they promptly decided to sit him, favoring instead one of the more anemic offenses in the NFL.
People criticize Marvin Lewis and Jeff Fisher way too much. I think they’ve been amazing at keeping their jobs despite never winning.
— Damon A. Salvadore (@DamonSalvadore1) November 29, 2016
But its not like he ever had a choice. The offensive line somehow got worse from a season ago, rendering stud running back Todd Gurley useless. And because of the terrible offense, the defense slowly deteriorated.
But, holding on to some semblance of a playoff chance (with the Seahawks within the division), the team stayed the course with Case Keenum at quarterback – wasted draft picks be damned.
Jeff Fisher’s record broken out by starting QB.
-Found on Reddit.. and it is amazing. pic.twitter.com/IrZHkKi6tP
— Will McDougle (@12thManInNC) November 29, 2016
But that’s just it: the Rams have a talent pool littered with former first-round draft picks. The defense is good, but will of course fall apart without production from the offense.
But beyond that, they mortgaged all their picks in the future on the Goff experiment. And the kid looks pretty good, but he’s going to take some work. Sure, you could can Jeff Fisher and install a new regime. However, the hands are tied in Los Angeles behind a young roster that’s just going to have to grow.
Whether that’s Fisher watching it on the sideline or someone else, the Rams have decided their immediate future on the field. They were never going to compete for the postseason this year anyways, and I’m just not sure how the Rams could have anticipated it unfolding any other way.