FOXBORO, Mass. — Jeff Fisher might want to stay away from Todd Gurley. It hasn’t been a good week for the Los Angeles Rams head coach and running backs.
Fisher started the week in a public spat with Eric Dickerson after declining the Pro Football Hall of Famer sideline passes to Rams home games. The coach then couldn’t recall two players in the Patriots’ three-running back committee during a Wednesday conference call with the New England media.
Fisher named LeGarrette Blount, whom he briefly coached with the Tennessee Titans, then listed off “Brandon” (Bolden?) and “Danny” (Amendola? Woodhead? Tanner?) rather than James White and Dion Lewis. That’s, uh, pretty bad.
The Rams play the Patriots in four days.
Here’s a free tip to Fisher: White and Lewis are pretty good and big pieces in the Patriots’ passing offense. And the last time a head coach disrespected Lewis, the Patriots running back had 138 yards on 13 touches with one touchdown last season against Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills.
Compare Fisher and his brain fart with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who managed to name Rams rookie tight end Tyler Higbee, who has five catches for 41 yards on the season, during his conference call with the Los Angeles media.
Fisher’s week — and year for that matter — probably won’t get much better Sunday when his Rams come to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. He seemed to believe his team was making the playoffs this season with Case Keenum at quarterback. They went 4-5 with Keenum under center before turning to rookie Jared Goff, with whom they’ve now lost two consecutive games.
This seems like a strategic maneuver by Fisher, who reportedly discussed (and perhaps agreed to) a contract extension with the Rams back in September. Another 7-9 record with Keenum surely would have had Fisher, who’s 31-43-1 with the Rams, fired by Los Angeles. But, say, a 5-11 or 6-10 record while finishing with a rookie quarterback? Doesn’t look as bad. Could even buy him another year or two.
The Rams would be fools to fall for the ploy, however. Fisher hasn’t coached a team to a winning record since 2008. He hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003 or made it to a Super Bowl since 1999. Fisher certainly isn’t still an NFL head coach based on his résumé with the Rams but instead on his reputation from his days with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, with whom he went 142-120.
Who knows what happened to Fisher since that last winning season in 2008, but his style, effort or dedication clearly isn’t working with the Rams.
The Rams might have a future with Goff under center. The last thing a young quarterback needs is wasted years under a failing regime before an eventual change in coaching staff.
The Rams should continue to hold off on signing the paperwork on that reported contract extension with Fisher. The Rams are new to L.A., and by the sounds of things with stadium issues, they’re not exactly appeasing their “new” fans. Ensuring more middling seasons with Fisher as coach won’t exactly raise morale in the area over their NFL team.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images