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Jeff Fisher on the Offense Not Holding Up It’s End of the Bargain: “Defense Needs to Play Better”

What does Jeff Fisher do to encourage his defense, when the offense isn’t producing? He tells them to play better.

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At the midway point of the 2016 season, it’s fair to say the Los Angeles Rams are disappointed with their 3-5 record; especially after having gotten off to a 3-1 start.

But, if you’re still buying Jeff Fisher’s epic “We’re not going 7-9...or 8-8...or 9-7...or 10-6 for that matter” speech, then fans can sit back and enjoy as the team rattles off seven or eight straight wins.

The only, potentially major, problem with this is that the offense is just not very good. Todd Gurley was predicted, by many, to win the league’s rushing title this season. Eight games in, and he’s on pace to rush for 900 yards (Zeke Elliot already has 891) and is averaging 56 yards per game.

The offense ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game (16.2), and is putting up points on a league worst 26.4% of drives.

The defense, while not tallying sack and interception numbers of recent years, ranks 8th in the NFL in yards per game allowed (330.9), and 11th in points per game (20.9).

As usual, it seems as though the Rams defense is doing enough to keep the team in games...and the offense isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.

And that question, almost verbatim, was asked of Jeff Fisher yesterday when he appeared on the Mason and Ireland Show — a local radio show in Los Angeles.

Fishers’ response:

Well, you’ve got to tell them they’ve got to play better. We’ve gotten one turnover in the last three weeks defensively. So you can imagine, had we been able to pick up two or three here or know short fields for offense, extra possessions for offense when it’s struggling, it’s the difference. You know, you can’t ever say your defense is playing good enough to win, because they can always play better. So that’s what we’ve been stressing.

And there you have it. The DEFENSE can always play better.

On one hand, he’s not wrong. The defense hasn’t been forcing turnovers. And he’s definitely correct in saying the offense needs more chances; considering they do very little with the ones they have. But the defense has held the opposing team to 17 and 13 points, respectively, over the past two weeks, while the offense has only been able to muster 10 themselves. And that’s simply not good enough.

Especially when you had opportunities - on offense - to win the game.

Fisher ended this segment by continuing to talk about how the team needed to get turnovers, then execute in the red zone. He referenced a missed touchdown that hit Lance Kendricks right in the numbers:

And then offensively, it’s just the play. It’s the big play. When you get down in the red zone man, you guys know this, I mean the windows are short. You’ve got to make the throws. The ball hits Lance in the chest, it’s a touchdown. That game’s over and we’re all praising our offense right now.

Is that what we’d be doing?

I’m sure there’s good reason that the team’s focus is on playing better defense, and not making excuses for an anemic offense, right?

That throw is on the dot? That’s a catch you have to make all day, every day right?, Fisher was asked.

Well it is. But no excuse...the sun was in his face. He turned back around, vision’s obscured a little bit. The head came around, the ball was there, and he just couldn’t finish the play.

Get it together, defense. You’re clearly what’s holding this team back. Your priorities are to limit the opposing offense from scoring, and also get no particular order. No excuses!