clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jeff Fisher: On the Coin Toss, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Thursday Night Football

St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher fielded questions from the media after his team’s second consecutive shutout performance on Sunday...

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher Post-Practice Presser: December 8, 2014

(Opening Remarks)
"Obviously, the challenge of the short week are as follows: we watched the game on the airplane last night and then the coaches got together and got as much done as they possibly could. Now, we’ve moving on to our next opponent. As far as yesterday’s game is concerned, which seems like days ago, just really proud of the way they played. They played hard. We didn’t play particularly well in the first half. I think we turned the corner in the second half. I think, one of the biggest turning points in the game was the play that not only (RB) Trey Watts, but (LB) Daren Bates made on their fake punt. Really, it was a great play. (RB) Chase (Reynolds) suspected something, he heard some different from their personal protector, as far as cadence was concerned, he backed everybody out and everybody was aware. They made the play and then obviously we got the points after that. We got the defensive stop and then (WR/PR) Tavon (Austin) scored, so that was really the thing that kind of set us up in a position to win that game.

"As far as injuries, we’re good with the game. (LG) Rodger (Saffold) came through it OK. ‘Cookie’ (TE Jared Cook) was fine today, as he was yesterday. We’re on a short week and today is already Thursday, of course."

(On how he handles the short week with the team and if he gives them a game plan today)
"Yeah, we’re installing. We installed our first and second down stuff as we speak, right now. The big thing for them is, we’re going to try and move their days up to kickoff to 7:30 (p.m.), so we’ll be practicing a little bit later in the week. As we told them this morning, the key to success on short weeks is, there’s two things: one’s recovery and two is preparation. We have all the resources here to recover, we need to do that, and then of course we have to prepare."

(On if it helps that it’s a familiar opponent)
"A familiar opponent that’s playing well. They’re a good football team. (Arizona QB) Drew’s (Stanton) playing well. I know they went down and had a rough day at Atlanta and a rough one at Seattle, which everybody does. But, they’re playing good at home. That was a big win for them yesterday."

(On if he would rather not have Thursday night games)
"I’m fine with a Thursday night game. It’s just getting to Thursday night, which is the challenge as coaches. In essence what you do is you pick up an extra bye week. This one’s a little bit…this one is as late as it’s been for me in the season, almost mid-December. But, still we’ll get a chance to recover after the game."

(On if the players have a walk-thru today)

"We’ll have a walk-thru. We’ll have separate walk-thrus. Walk-thru some special teams and then tomorrow we’ll combine a walk-thru with practice and then a walk-thru."

(On if Wednesday is like a game week Saturday)
"Wednesday is Friday/Saturday. We do a little bit more than we would ordinarily do on the day before."

(On the coin toss captains yesterday)
"It made too much sense to us to go ahead and recognize the guys that probably wouldn’t be here had it not been for that trade. We wanted to do that before the game. It was a memory that will last them for a lifetime. It was a good idea. I’ve sent other people out for different reasons as well. I’m glad you guys all noticed it, too, by the way."

(On how the coin toss could have been perceived by the Redskins)
"I think they’ve got more issues than the coin toss yesterday (laughs)."

(On if it was a jab at the Redskins over the trade)
"No, not at all. We’re not like that."

(On letting DEs Will Hayes and Eugene Sims take a week off after family deaths)
"We just feel that those things are more important than what we’re doing. Losses and things…loved ones. I think they need to go spend time and be able to grieve and put things in perspective and spend time with their family. Eugene did a really nice job when he came back late Saturday night last week playing. Of course Will, he was grateful, but I knew it was time for him to get back. It’s speaks a lot too for both of them to be able to play at a high level without the preparation time. I was glad that he was able to do that."

(On how much Hayes’ grandmother liked him and if he spoke to her from time-to-time)
"She was very close. He would come upstairs and even if my door was shut he’d open it and he’d have her on his phone and we’d Facetime."

(On if she would give him advice on their opponents)
"She just wanted to make sure that William was behaving (laughs)."

(On Hayes’ performance this year)
"He’s played well. He missed the camp and the offseason with the multiple surgeries, but he’s been steady for us. He’s really good against the run. With (DE) Chris (Long) being down, he stepped up. His numbers have increased. To come up with a sack yesterday after what he went through was pretty impressive. He’s been really one of the reasons that we’re able to turn that run back to our inside players and our backers."

(On if this was the defense he expected to see over the last couple weeks)
"I want to see again. I think we need to keep playing and keep preparing the way we are. When you’re getting the turnovers and you’re getting the third-down stops and you’re stopping the run, that gives you a chance."

(On how they’ve moved from 31st to 10th against the run over the last six games)
"I think as you move through the middle part of the season into the fall that’s what our emphasis is. Not that we don’t emphasize it early in the season, but it is. You have to run the ball and stop the run to have success. I think our defense…if you take away all the returns against us from a scoring standpoint, I was told, that we’re probably second in points allowed in the league. It says we’re getting better and we need to keep working at it."

(On if his excitement towards WR Tavon Austin’s punt return was due in part to no flags being thrown)
"I’ve been sharing his frustration. I get him lined up every play and get the depth and tell him the return and talk to him during the week about it. For the last four weeks or so we were literally getting punts that we couldn’t return by choice because of his skill set. Going into this game we felt like we would have a chance. We would get some punts that carried down the field. The guys blocked it like they do in practice. We just had a side return and guys just kind of…nobody really blocked their guy that they were designed to block. They just worked the exercise and the drill and they just kind of fall down the field and I was just really happy for him, because he’d been working very hard at it, because those have been called back and like I said his frustration from not getting opportunities. When that happens you’re going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to hang the ball up in the air and not give you a chance to return it."
(On if he knew anything about the players writing certain things on their equipment)
"No, I wasn’t aware of it."

(On if he thought the players were done with protests prior to Sunday’s game)
"No, I wasn’t. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Again, short week and preparing. I didn’t notice anything different. I saw some things that some other players around the league, do some things. Again, it goes back to what we talked about last week, from their right to free speech."

(On if he has ever had any rookies as advanced as DT Aaron Donald has been this year as a rookie)
"Well, not inside on the defensive line, no. The way he’s playing is pretty impressive, week after week after week. That’s what we thought we would get out of him and I think we’ve got more than we thought. He just loves to play and he plays hard. He doesn’t draw attention to himself. He’s really smart and very talented physically. Those two traits result in the plays that he’s making."

(On if Donald is making a case for Defensive Rookie of the Year)
"Yeah, I said that in the Spring when I saw him on the practice field. I went on the record to say he has a chance to be Defensive Rookie of the Year. I haven’t changed since."

(On K Greg Zuerlein’s performance yesterday)
"I don’t know what happened. I asked (Special Teams) Coach (John) Fassel if he switched drivers or something. He’ll be fine. We’ll get him back. He’ll be fine. He’s going to kick tomorrow. Just kick one day this week, but he’ll be alright."

(On WR Kenny Britt’s season)
"Well, Kenny, he’s making plays for us. That’s what we brought him in for is to make plays. (QB) Shaun (Hill) missed him on the post yesterday early with the wind and things like that, but I mean he’s just making big plays. He’s blocking. He shows up every day. You guys see him at practice, going down the field and making big catches every day in practice. It carries over into the games."

(On how the performance of the secondary has improved since the return of CB Trumaine Johnson)
"The depth is obviously there now at both spots. At the corner spot, as well as at the safety spot with (S) Mark (Barron). They’re all contributing, those that are active. It’s hard, (CB) Lamarcus (Joyner) and (CB) Marcus (Roberson) are both healthy scratches right now. We just can’t keep everybody up. They’re playing well together. (CB) E.J. (Gaines) is playing inside very, very well. They’re communicating. Both the corners are showing up in run support and making plays on balls and playing team defense and scheme defense and recognizing things. We’re in good shape there."

(On the fun of entering the locker room after you win compared to after you lose)
"It’s why we’re here. Basically, it’s the culmination of a hard week’s work and you get to celebrate an enjoy it, but you also have to keep things in perspective and move on. As we said, from a coaching standpoint it’s a lot easier to come down hard and grade and correct and do things after a win than it is losses. It’s kind of as we said, recruit them after losses and correct them after wins."

(On if he has thought about the playoffs)
"No. Trying to beat the Cardinals."

(On the lack of a 24-hour rule prior to a Thursday night game)
"It’s done. It’s Thursday."