clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rams-Cowboys: Fisher's Day After Press Conference

The Rams' head coach faced the media yesterday for perhaps the most interesting Monday presser yet.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Dilip Vishwanat

Filtering through press conferences is usually an effort in nothingness.

The coaches or players or GMs or owners or Roger Goodells or whoever know the point is not to actually inform. It's to act as if you care. That's why head coaches give Monday press conferences: to give the illusion that they actually care about the media or the fans enough to spend 4 minutes answering a couple dozen questions or so.

So I was a bit surprised at the candor from Jeff Fisher at his Monday presser yesterday. Sure, much of it was the kind of thing you wish you had 30 minutes to unpack:

When you look at it, it comes down to four or five plays on both sides of the ball. The three turnovers on offense were costly. It’s difficult to win when you turn it over three times against an explosive offense like the Cowboys. Then defensively, we had three or four plays, one play in particular, the touchdown pass on the communication issue in the coverage. It’s hard to overcome those type of things. I think, as I said to the team and as we agreed wholeheartedly with the staff, we took a step forward. I thought we played much better yesterday than the previous two weeks, which is encouraging. We just have to continue to build from that.

I mean...I guess you can reduce a football game that way to just a handful of plays. But that requires some serious myopia. The failed 4th & inches conversion? Wouldn't have existed if Kenny Britt extends the ball for the 1st down on 3rd and 3 which is as historically a Brian Schottenheimer a result as you could imagine. The second Janoris Jenkins PI call? Imaginary if Alec Ogletree doesn't get juked by Tony Romo on a 3rd & 13 scramble conversion. And it's not just about the plays you run. It's also about the plays you don't, which is how Zac Stacy ends up with more than half the yardage DeMarco Murray put up in half of the carries.

But I any case, one of the things that I'm becoming more and more frustrated by is the acceptance of bad refereeing without any protest from Fisher in-game. I get that many referees are inoculated against the exceptions coaches take to calls. But I also look at the Rams' significant disadvantage from flags the last two years and wonder how much of that is because Fisher seems to tolerate it.

[on bad calls] Believe me, I looked at them. I’m disappointed. We had several of them that are not fouls, probably four in particular. The (DE) Eugene Sims play is not a foul. It was a huge play. We have a sack and we have a third-and-22. If we create an incomplete pass, they’re punting out of the end zone at that time in the game, huge field position swing. So, that’s an incorrect call. Then we get the ball back in a good four-minute defensive effort. The ball is punted away and we got the ball at the 24, but we are penalized for holding on the punt return, (CB) Janoris (Jenkins), and there’s no foul there in my opinion. So, that’s a huge field position swing considering we started that drive on the 14-yard line. So I’m disappointed in that.

[on the lack of offensive holding calls on opponents] I think we’ve had one in three games. How many have been missed? The hold that was missed on Minnesota’s touchdown pass in the end zone on (DE) Rob (Quinn), that was missed. That was a touchdown. We had the false starts that weren’t called on the touchdown last week at Tampa. Then we had this hold on the touchdown (against Dallas). So, technically we’ve had three defensive touchdowns scored against us that were improperly officiated.

You would think that would be the source of some anger. If I were a head coach and in three games three touchdowns had been scored on plays during which there should have been a penalty? I'm livid. I'm upset at the first. I'm angry at the second. And I go into the third game telling the refs not to screw up three games running. So I just don't understand this sequence from the conference yesterday:

[On if he got an explanation on Sims’ hold penalty] No. I’m not going to go into it. The explanation is, it’s obvious it’s not a foul.

[On how can explain the difference in the amount of penalties called from game to game] I’m not happy with the penalties. As of late, our penalty numbers are up, but I can make that we might have had four yesterday, instead of eight. I think we’re mindful of it. We’re working on it. We’re not allowing it to happen on the practice field. We’re coaching it better, so hopefully we’ll get some results.

[On the roughing the passer on Sims and if the rule that it has to be a forceable hit] Yes.

[On if he received an explanation on that call] Yes.

[On if he would mind sharing that explanation with the media] No (laughs).

[On if he agreed with the call] I just told you, I disagree with the call. Everybody that saw that, would disagree with that call.

[On if there is anything subconscious that could be going on with the referees when calling Rams games] I can’t explain it. I don’t know. They’re going to make mistakes. It’s a fast game, it’s hard to officiate. I don’t think it’s a Ram thing, it’s a team thing, or anything along those lines.

You can sense the frustration just from the transcript. And he was bristling not so much at the line of questioning, but that it was obvious he was holding back.

I get that in a press conference. And I get that you're trying to be a good steward for the league while still trying to shepherd this team into the success it hasn't had in a decade. But I struggle to understand how that doesn't carry over to the field sometimes. Maybe I'm sucker for the optics. Maybe I just want to see Fisher as physically and emotionally troubled as I am by the BS calls. Maybe I just want to see this:


I know he knows they're bad calls. I just fail to see how the sedated approach is paying dividends. Because while it is a long season and the Rams have plenty of football left to play, they're 1-2 when they should be 2-1. They're going into the Octet of Pain. They're without Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill and Chris Long and Trumaine Johnson and Tavon Austin. At some point, the long-term plans and hopes become subject to short-term failures.

I see a team that’s improving, that probably played it’s best game of the year in all three phases. That had four or five critical errors on offense and defense that cost us the game. They’re playing hard, they’re playing physical, and they’re mad. And that’s good.

Sure. I'm just beginning to worry that it's not good enough.

To buy tickets, visit the NFL Ticket Exchange.