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Transcript: Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Reacts To 3-1 Start, Says To Arizona “Merry Christmas”

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Jeff Fisher’s Monday press conference was all about the hot start to the 2016 season.

Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams HC Jeff Fisher
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening Remarks)

“It’s nice to be able to turn the page after winning and move on to the next opponent. But before you do so, you have to take a hard look at it, and we did. We still have a lot of room for improvement, in at least the two phases, I thought the special teams was outstanding. But offensively and defensively, we’ve got a lot of room for improvement. Too many big plays defensively, struggles when were supposed to run, same thing lack of run game offensively, and then just the inability to go get points when we got around midfield. Players understand it, they were very receptive today, where we are and we’ve corrected things and we’ve moved on. We’re looking forward, as I said last night, to being home, finally – feels like it’s been a while. Health-wise, we came through it pretty good. (RB) Benny (Cunningham) was the one question mark after the game, but he felt much better today, so he’s got a chance to get on the filed before the weeks up.”

(On evaluating not only the events of last night’s game against the Cardinals, but also how the team has come back from the season opener against the 49ers)

“I’ll address the last couple hours, what I did was went back and looked at the penalties – look at them agreeing or disagreeing with the calls. Then I started the tape on Buffalo. We addressed everything as a staff this morning, and with the players. You know, we can’t change what happened, and I said that three weeks ago. But we’ve moved forward, we’ve won some games and now we got a really talented opponent coming to town, that’s feeling pretty good about themselves right now. To me, the focus is clearly on Buffalo.”

(On whether he saw a turnaround coming after the loss against the 49ers)

“As I told you guys, and I told them the previous day or if you look at the weekend – you know, fifteen other teams lost in the opening weekend. A number of those teams that suffered losses in the opening weekend were good football teams, and I told them that they were good football team, so let’s move on. That’s what they’ve done.”

(On if having experience winning close games carries over from season to season)

“It’s a different group, it’s a young group. The guys that won some close games last year understand there’s no sense of panic. You have to keep fighting, and keep working, and the expectation is to find a way to win. The last three all come down to the last play of the game basically. It would be nice to have one that you can sit down and relax a little bit. But, winning close games is harder to teach a team, than it is the other side of that, which is get up and relax in the fourth quarter. In the National Football League, you can’t relax. You never know what’s going to happen.”

(On the success against NFC West opponents, in comparison to teams outside the division)

“Well, two weeks ago we played a team that wasn’t in our division, on the road, and beat them. Yeah, that’s been the case, that’s been the talk out there. We’re out of the division now, and we’re going to be out of the division for a while. So now we have to learn how to win on the road, learn how to win against uncommon opponents rather, and that’s a challenge. What you have to do during the week is you have to become familiar with the uncommon opponent. Familiarize yourself with them, the match-ups, what they do; it increases the study time, the preparation time. It’ll be a good experience for us this week.”

(On his philosophy behind the decision to challenge plays against Arizona)

“Understand there’s a difference between on the road, and a difference between being at home. On the road, you’re not going to get a review. That’s just the way things are. Anything that’s questionable, with respect to us, I’m not going to able to look at the jumbotron to see it. And keep in mind that the jumbotron feed is different from the replay feed. I didn’t get the benefit of it, nor did the assistants upstairs. I’m basing those challenges on things that I saw live on the field. That’s what replay is for. If (WR) Tavon (Austin) has got his hand underneath that ball…these are two big plays. I felt like we had a timeout left, and I felt like we needed to take a look at it. I didn’t personally see the ball on the ground with, respect to (WR) Brian (Quick’s) catch either. I go upstairs, and we don’t have anything, I haven’t seen anything. In Tavon’s case, they went to commercial. That’s the advantage of being at home, that you’re going to get those feeds. Now it’s not guaranteed that replay is going to have the same feeds, but at least you get a better opportunity to evaluate the play.”

(On if the possibility of using a timeout ever comes into play when making a challenge)

“Oh yeah, timeouts are critical. I’m the only one that uses them, and I’ll use them at a discretion. In both these instances, I was prepared. I knew I would be out of challenges with the second one, hoping that something didn’t come up later in the game. But, in both these instances, I thought they were worthwhile based on what I saw in person. My view is a lot different than your view, and when we don’t get the reviews upstairs or the replay upstairs in the box, then it’s up to me.”

(On what he saw from RB Todd Gurley yesterday and if he plans to use him more in the passing game going forward)

“The pass plays, those were two extraordinary plays he made in the pass game – the one-handed catch to keep the drive alive and the third-and-eight to keep the drive alive. So, yes, we’re attempting to do that. The line of scrimmage was full of Cardinals yesterday and we knew that, and that’s why we made our plays down the field. But we’re very close, we’re very close and he’s healthy, he’s feeling good. We just have to, obviously, put a good plan together this week.”

(On if there is something to be said about the resiliency of the team after winning three close games)

“Yeah, there is. It’s a young group and it’s a close group. They practice, they prepare and they have confidence in each other. And they do it together – the offense is pulling for the defense and vice versa. We have a combination of players on special teams that are doing their jobs. It’s nice, it’s not easy – you look around the league and there are some good teams that don’t have the same record that we do. Finding ways to win at the end is very, very important, it carries you a long way.”

(On if he saw the right vibe in the meeting room today from the players in terms of wanting to learn what they can improve upon)

“Yeah, they were attentive and they were ready to go put this one behind us and learn from it. Again, it’s the 24-hour rule – get it corrected and then get focused on your next opponent.”

(On how far back his relationship with Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan goes after working and playing for Buddy Ryan)

“Or (Bills assistant head coach/defense) Rob (Ryan) – yes, both of them. Since they were about this big. They would hang around training camp in Chicago when I was playing and then I’ve followed their careers throughout. Buddy was very, very close with them. That was a hard loss this summer when we lost Buddy – I talked to both of them – I was unable to make the funeral. They’re both outstanding coaches, they’re passionate. They’re coaching for their dad right now, I know that. He’s going to have his team ready.”

(On what he’s seeing from the Bills)

“I’m just a couple hours into it, although, we did look at last week’s game. Defensively, they’re very, very talented, they’ll come from all different directions – they’re going to attack your protection, they’re going to stop your run, they’re going to make the plays down the field. Offensively, creative, they had, obviously, the coaching change, but it’s built around ‘Shady’ (RB LeSean McCoy) and the quarterback can extend plays. They’re going to miss (WR) Sammy (Watkins), but they’ve got weapons on offense. It’s a well-coached team and they play good special teams, as well, they’re in to special teams – unlike some of the other teams we’ve faced.”

(On what he thought of T Greg Robinson’s game yesterday and how he would assess his season to this point)

“Greg’s doing fine. He’s doing a good job protecting. I wasn’t crazy about the holding call on (QB) Case’s (Keenum) scramble down inside scoring territory. But he’s doing fine, he’s playing hard and he’s not making the mistakes that he made as a rookie or even at times last year. He’s playing solid.”

(On the guys who made their season debuts yesterday, including DE Matt Longacre)

“Matt did well. He made plays, had a couple tackles for losses and had some pressures on the passer. He played for us last year, so he’s familiar. He’s flexible in that he can line up at both end spots, which is a must for us. (TE) Temarrick (Hemingway) got to play a lot of core special teams and graded out pretty well. In addition to that, so did (S) Marqui Christian – Marqui, what an experience for him from that standpoint, to have been on the other sideline last week and come over and have a chance to have an impact on special teams. I was pleased with their efforts.”

(On his postgame conversation with the team that was on camera regarding giving them a Christmas present and if he took a little extra joy in the win)

“No, I was complimenting the players, I wanted them to know what a big win it was. Oftentimes, (Cardinals Head) Coach (Bruce) Arians is complimenting his players from the same perspective. I just wanted to let them know that this was a big one for us and we’ll see them after Christmas, so Merry Christmas.”