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Jeff Fisher Feeling Frisky on Hump Day, Makes a QB Change: The Transcript

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St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher decided that a quarterback change was necessary. Here’s what he had to say after Wednesday’s practice...

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

(On his decision to make the quarterback change)

"It’s never an easy decision when you make a change in the middle part of the season. We looked at things Monday night and I had lengthy discussions with the offensive staff and just felt that the best thing to do, at this point moving forward, was to lean on the experienced quarterback. As I told the team today, in front of (QB) Austin (Davis), how much I appreciated Austin and his work ethic and his poise, his dedication and the tireless effort that he put in to prepare himself to play. He’s much better now than he was when he started, but made the decision to go ahead and play with (QB) Shaun (Hill). It’s all out in the open, there’s no controversy. We’re moving forward with an experienced quarterback that for all intensive purposes lost his job because of injury. You all understand why we went that way because of the production that we got earlier out of Austin. The last few weeks have been difficult for him. The defenses that he’s faced have been especially good. Again, I don’t want to present anything that appears to be cloudy, but this is in my opinion and the offensive staff’s opinion, what’s best for this football team right now."

(On if the quarterback decision will be changed on a week-to-week basis)

"No, I’m not going to do that. We’re going to give Shaun an opportunity to do what we brought him here to do, that was to be the backup to (QB) Sam (Bradford)."

(On if he talked to Davis and Hill individually)

"I did. After the players left the building, I found Austin in the quarterback room last night preparing for this game. We had a great visit, he understands. He talked about the respect factor that he has for those guys that are playing this game really well week, after week, after week because of how hard that position is to play. He’s in a good place. He’s going to prepare just like he has been to back-up Shaun. I gave Shaun a ring after I talked to Austin. That’s how it went down."

(On Hill’s preparation while he has been the back-up)

"He’s been great. He’s been preparing the defense every week giving us a great look. They just trade places now. Austin’s doing the best he can, if it’s possible to get close to what (Broncos QB) Peyton (Manning) does on the field. Shaun’s been great."

(On if he’s worried about Hill’s state of readiness)

"No doubt. He has great understanding of what we’re doing. He’s prepared himself weekly to go in and play. He had a great day of practice today."

(On if Davis is the back-up)

"That is correct."

(On QB Case Keenum’s status on the roster)

"He’s on the practice squad. You can’t play practice squad players."

(On if he saw defenses change their approach against Davis)

"No, not going to go into specifics. We’re going to move forward with this."

(On DE Chris Long’s return to the practice field)

"We started the window for Chris, so he’ll be able to practice. He didn’t do much today, but he’s going to keep adding to it. We feel like…that designated IR situation gives you a 21-day period. We think he’ll definitely be ready to play within that time period. We wanted to get him back on the field."

(On with all of the injuries in the secondary and how pivotal S T.J. McDonald is to the secondary)

"I think T.J.’s playing the safety position right now as good as any safety in the league. The last couple weeks I think his play, his body of work speaks for itself. He’s making plays. He’s all over the field. He’s going to continue to do that. We got production out of (S) Mark (Barron) last week in a package. (S Rodney McCleod) Rod’s been playing very well. These guys have been holding the corners together because we’ve been rolling the young corners. Obviously, now that (CB Trumaine Johnson) Tru’s back and (CB Janoris Jenkins) Jenks is back, (CB E.J. Gaines) E.J.’s going to get some work inside because (CB) Lamarcus (Joyner) looks doubtful for this week. Those guys have pretty much been the glue in the secondary."

(On being 1-of-10 on third-down offensively and how to improve in that area)

"We were. They were very good at it, as is this group we’re playing. We’ve got to make plays. We’ve got to throw receivers open. Receivers have to get open. We have to do potentially some different things scheme-wise. We’ve had a couple games where we were productive. The most important thing with third down is what happens prior to that. The longer the down and distance is the harder it is to convert. We’ve got to keep manageable down and distance situations."

(On if Manning is the toughest quarterback in the league to prepare for)

"Yes, there’s no doubt. Peyton’s playing his best football right now. Faced him many, many times. He’s playing his best football. It’s amazing the things he’s doing with the football. The cast that they have surrounded him with is outstanding. It really tests your defense. It requires patience. You have to run the football and get their punter on the field. I’m trying to simplify things for you, but you run it on offense and your goal is to get their punter on the field. Then you have a chance."

(On the Broncos’ defense)

"They’re awfully good, yeah. What happens typically when you have an offense that’s so potent and making so many big plays and has a scoring average per game that’s so high. The opposing offenses are playing catch-up. Those yards…you don’t want to call them garbage yards, but the defense is going to soften a little bit, give up some plays to win the game. That happens to an outstanding defense. They are, however, they’re very difficult to run against. Both the edge rushers are outstanding, they get inside push. They’ve done a great job rebuilding their secondary, which was obviously a focus. I think they’ve got a great group of linebackers. We’re going to have to play very well."