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Jeff Fisher’s Friday Presser: Clarifying Being “Out-Played and Out-Coached"

Here’s what St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher had to say on Friday, following the team’s 12-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals...

Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

(Opening Remarks)
"Well, we looked at it. We had a chance to look at all three phases. It was a battle. It was a defensive battle. We need to make a play somewhere. One play could have been the difference in the game. That’s pretty much what happened. We had plenty of opportunities, but one play. One scoring play or turnover could have been the difference. I thought teams played well. (P) Johnny (Hekker) punted too many times, but punted very well. I thought (WR/PR) Tavon (Austin) handled the ball well and made good decisions. Special teams wasn’t the issue. Our defensive effort wasn’t the issue with the exception of the lack of turnovers. It was just a matter of us not scoring points. We came through it healthy."

(On if the run defense was just a matter of the Cardinals breaking through on a couple 10-20 yard runs to make it difficult to change the field position)
"Yeah, it did. We got creased. We had a couple missed tackles. As I said last week, I was concerned about the run game. I thought it was much improved over our previous match-up against them. Felt like they were going to just double on the guards and then come off on the backers and they’re going to run to daylight, and they did a good job with it. We missed tackles and got people pushed away; pushed aside."

(On if the field position contributed to some of the Rams’ offensive problems)
"Yeah, we had way too many three-and-outs and no first downs for a long time. We went a quarter and a half without a first down offensively, so that’s going to create problems for you field position-wise."

(On if Arizona RBs Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams are fast)
"Yeah. Respect for both of them. Kerwynn had 100 yards last week against a good football team."

(On if after looking at the tape, he sees some things they could have done differently)"Like I said, we had some opportunities. He pressured us. They’re loading the line of scrimmage as far as the run game’s concerned. We thought our best opportunities were doing just what we did. We didn’t make plays. We have to do much better there. Can’t change what happened. I’m not second guessing any call whatsoever. I still stand behind the field goal. I think it was the right thing to do because we needed points there."

(On the team’s recent struggles running the ball in short yardage situations)
"We’ve got to get better at it. We need to be able to line up and say, ‘Here we come. This is what we’re running. Stop it.’ We’re not there yet."

(On the difficulty running the ball in general against Arizona)
"It’s a good defense. It’s a stout defense. They’re big up front. They’re stout."

(On if injuries played a role in the difficulty running the ball)
"No. It happened. They made the plays. They slanted, they got penetration and they made the plays."

(On the Rams’ pass protection Thursday, specifically against the blitz)
"I think we need to do a better job. We had too many runners, but they’re going to do those things and you’ve got to take advantage of it down the field and get them out of it. We couldn’t make the plays down the field to get them to back off the pressure."

(On if Arizona Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles is particularly exotic with his blitzes)
"No, they’re just coming from all over. Got to get them blocked up. You step up and occupy somebody and bring somebody. We had some mistakes in the backfield. We had a couple mistakes that (T) Greg (Robinson) made. Didn’t squeeze, didn’t kick. Just one of those things we’ve got to get better at."

(On TE Jared Cook saying that the Rams were ‘out-played and out-coached’ by Arizona)
"I know exactly what he was talking about. We discussed it, and I think if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have gone there from the ‘out-coached’ standpoint. It’s not really what he meant as far as our discussion, communication this morning. It was kind of a one fell swoop, ‘Hey, we just got beat’ and included it all. He wasn’t being critical of coaching."

(On if he took Cook’s comments personally)
"We discussed it and we’re fine."

(On how he thought RBs Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason did picking up the blitzes)
"They were alright. Tre had one miss, think. Benny was pretty solid."

(On if he was aware of Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians’ post-game comments directed at the Rams defense and ‘always finishing 8-8’)
"Yeah, I was aware of them. When the game was over, I went over and congratulated him on the win. I told him that I hoped his quarterback was going to be ok. The last thing I said to him was, ‘Why don’t you go win a couple playoff games for the division, good luck.’ That’s all I said to him. I have no comment on his comments."

(On how close the defense was to forcing a turnover)
"Well that’s what I said, the difference in this game was a play here or there. One of those takeaways or a big pass, the completion to (WR Stedman Bailey) Sted. That’s what it came down to. We were a play or two away from winning this game. So, we’re moving on."

(On RB Tre Mason’s fumble)
"What do you think? If he was hanging onto it, it wouldn’t have come out. If he held the ball tightly it wouldn’t have come out. Yeah, he didn’t see the defender. He was caught off guard."

(On the pass that was intended for Bailey that was incomplete late in the fourth quarter)
"The incompletion at the end. He had running room. He had a lot of space if he catches that ball. It’s a high throw, (QB) Shaun (Hill) missed him, but that was a potential big play for us."

(On if Hill made the right reads but the wrong throws)
"No, I think it was more pressure."