St. Louis Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher is on the hot seat...though perhaps not for the quality of football the Rams have been playing and certainly not from the media scrum covering him. No, Jeff Fisher is being rattled by the national media for not taking QB Case Keenum out of the game after an obvious concussion late in the fourth quarter yesterday in the Rams' 13-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
It's not as if it wasn't obvious:
Nick Foles, the recently replaced starting QB, immediately started warming up on the sidelines as Keenum struggled to even make it to his feet.
So let's not mince words. This was an act of dereliction.
Dereliction by Jeff Fisher, certainly. Dereliction by the independent certified athletic trainers who are allowed to stop the game if:
- A player who displays obvious signs of disorientation or is clearly unstable; and
- If it becomes apparent that the player is attempting to remain in the game and not be attended to by the club’s medical or athletic training staff.
Sadly enough, it's also an act of dereliction from the media members covering the game who remain unwilling to challenge Jeff Fisher to the point that even when he described the play after the game, they were willing to ignore what happened:
Keenum was diagnosed with a concussion after the game. After the game, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher broke down the play for reporters and did not mention Keenum's head at all, and no one asked.
It's sad, but predictable. ESPN pulled out of League of Denial, the PBS Frontline-produced film documentary adaptation of the book due to (again, let's not mince words) fear. Much of that book serves as the basis for the upcoming film Concussion that's sure to revive the same fears inside NFL offices and its supporting media circles. We know the script.
So credit to Bernie Miklasz at 101 ESPN for yet again unflinchingly looking at the issue and not giving anyone a pass:
Question: if the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell discipline and fine players who are careless in delivering concussion-causing blows to the heads of opponents — then why wouldn’t the league fine a coach and medical staff for being negligent when their QB was in duress, flopping around, and displaying obvious symptoms that scream CONCUSSION? Why would the league continue to employ a hopelessly out of touch (and possibly vision-impaired) spotter who couldn’t spot a head-slammed quarterback writhing on the ground, at one point reaching for his head?
Just more than a year ago, then-head coach at the University of Michigan, Brady Hoke, left his quarterback, Shane Morris, in a game after an obvious concussion. He was roundly pilloried for it at all levels of the media. The SB Nation community for fans of the Michigan Wolverines labeled it a fireable offense. After going 26-13 in his first three seasons, Hoke was let go after going 5-7 in Ann Arbor last season.
Of course, Michigan football grabs the national eye with more sincerity than the St. Louis Rams. After going 20-27 in his first three seasons, Jeff Fisher has led the Rams to a 4-6 record thus far in year four.
Here's to the media asking him about the penalties and lack of third down conversions he'll get fixed this week.
(UPDATED at 11:31pm ET)
Our own RamBuck, aka Brent Lancaster, pointed out that Rams trainer Reggie Scott did approach Keenum. This likely negates step #2 in the ATC protocols above:
I'm still a bit unsure, though, as to who is responsible for Keenum's status thereafter. Is it Scott? Is it Fisher? What role do the ATCs play after that? What is the referee crew's responsibility?
If anything, we know this isn't going away anytime soon:
The league will look into the situation surrounding #Rams QB Case Keenum, his concussion, and why wasn't tested for a concussion, I'm told.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 23, 2015