Rams Fire Head Coach Jeff Fisher
According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Rams have decided to pull the plug on head coach Jeff Fisher. The team fired Fisher Tuesday amid a brutal 4-9 start to their first season back in California in over 20 years.
The Rams were embarrassed at home by the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, where they were steamrolled by a score of 42-14. The Falcons scored seven touchdowns in the game, which is one more than the Rams have managed to score in six home games all season. It was L.A.’s eighth loss in their last nine games following a surprising 3-1 start that included wins over the Seahawks, Buccaneers and Cardinals.
The team’s owner, Stan Kroenke, issued a statement on Fisher’s dismissal:
“Making a decision such as this — especially during the season — is one of the most difficult in sports. I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend. He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances. He played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we always will be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization.”
However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans’ expectations. We all are focused on improving as an organization and building a team that makes Los Angeles proud. Our mission is to celebrate a Super Bowl title with our fans in Los Angeles. Today is the first step to bringing us closer to that goal.”
What went wrong?
In about four-and-a-half seasons with the Rams franchise, Fisher went 31-45-1. The franchise raised some eyebrows earlier in the season when they announced that they had inked Fisher to a contract extension. As a result of his firing, though, Los Angeles will still owe him a year’s worth of salary.
The Rams have a strong and talent-laden defense, but the brutal offense has never been able to pull its own weight. They went with veteran Case Keenum as the starting quarterback for the first 10 games of the season, with mostly mediocre results. They installed Jared Goff – the No. 1 pick in April’s draft – as the starter in Week 11, though unfortunately things have not gotten much better. Goff has completed about 55 percent of his throws for 744 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions through four games.
What about Todd Gurley?
Thanks in large part to subpar quarterback play, defenses have been able to key-in on the Rams’ rushing attack. As a result, Todd Gurley has never been able to really get off the ground. After wowing the league by rushing for more than 1,100 yards with 10 scores as a rookie last season, Gurley is averaging only 3.3 yards per carry thus far in 2016. His touchdown total has been cut in half, and he’s amassed just 740 yards on only two fewer attempts than he had all of last season in St. Louis.
Fisher was reportedly popular with Rams players, but the groans from the newfound fanbase in L.A. have never been louder than they were following the lopsided defeat to Atlanta. That game essentially forced Kroenke’s hand.
Who will take Fisher’s place?
The team announced that special teams coordinator John Fassell will take over as interim coach. He won’t have much time to acclimate himself to his new job, though as Los Angeles is slated to head to Seattle for a showdown with the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.
Fisher has recorded a winning season in just six of his 21 seasons as an NFL head coach with the Rams and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.
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