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LA Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing

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It’s time to stop enabling Jeff Fisher.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

I’m not fucking going seven and nine or eight and eight or nine and seven, ok? Or 10 and six for that matter. This team’s too talented. I’m NOT going to settle for that.

Jeff Fisher’s setting the bar for the win-loss record of the 2016 Los Angeles Rams on the first episode of Hard Knocks earned him universal derision and Twitter jokes (it’s all about them Twitter jokes, yall). At the time, Fisher’s self-awareness and defining #7and9bullshit took the focus of the episode and helped set the course for the Rams early preseason foibles.

But it was his next sentence that really bore more weight:

I know what I’m doing.

Any time someone has to tell you they know what they’re doing, that it’s either not clear by their actions that they know what they’re doing or that they think saying as much will convince their audience, it means they don’t know what they’re doing.

Jeff Fisher doesn’t know what he’s doing.

There are some things that we will expand because of the arm talent, you know, the stuff down the field.

Jeff Fisher talked up the capability to expand the offense for rookie QB Jared Goff making his debut. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to do, considering the Rams had the worst offense in the NFL in yards per game. And it’s not something new:

On Sunday, Goff threw the ball 31 times for 134 yards.

Fisher didn’t know how to expand the playbook because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Those two-and-a-half to three-yard runs in the first quarter, you’d like to think will turn into the seven-to-10-yard runs in the fourth quarter if you’re able to continue to do it – that includes your adjustments and things. That’s the design, that’s the way we’re built, we just have not been able to do it.

Jeff Fisher has alluded to run the ball more, to feed Todd Gurley instead of relying on the Rams’ feckless passing attack which has the juxtaposed benefit of not having opposing defenses overloaded to stop it unlike the running game. He has alluded to this as if speaking from a distance of the subject he is discussing, as if he is somehow removed from the decision-making hierarchy in the organization. He is not. He is atop it.

Fisher doesn’t know how to feed the running game more because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

It’s been a point of emphasis for us; we have to continue with it. And, as I mentioned, it’s a culture change and we just have got to keep the penalties down.

Jeff Fisher suggested that keeping penalties down was a point of emphasis in August. Since 2012 when Fisher was tapped to become the Rams’ head coach, the Rams have committed more penalties than any other NFL team. They have committed 83 accepted penalties in their first ten games in 2016, tied for 29th in the NFL.

Fisher doesn’t know how to stop his team from committing so many penalties because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

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.

Jeff Fisher’s approach to fixing his team’s offensive ineptitude is to get his defense to play better. The above quote was from Fisher following a Week 9 loss to the Carolina Panthers, a loss in which they held Carolina to 13 points. In the two weeks since, they have scored a combined 19 points.

Fisher doesn’t know how to improve his offense without relying on his defense because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

If you go back a year from now, or two years from now, or three years from now, you guys all asked me the same questions, 'What’s up with your offense?' We keep it basic. Our philosophy is to just play and work on fundamentals during the preseason...Our offense is coming. It’s coming.

Jeff Fisher struggled to accept the early returns on his revamped 2015 offense in the preseason. Faced with what quite clearly was an offensive line that was not solidifying as a group and a QB in Nick Foles who was hardly comfortable operating the offense, Foles deflected the early questioning and both (a) pointed to previous horrible offenses as a reason to believe his 2015 offense would be fine and (b) proceeded to field the worst offense in the league in yards. His fix late in 2015 and through nine games in 2016 was to use the candidate who didn’t get his offensive coordinator slot to begin 2015 and rely on his backup. It has not worked well.

Jeff Fisher doesn’t know how bad his previous offenses were or how bad his offenses will be because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

This isn’t meant to be insulting. Jeff Fisher seems like a very likeable person who is nice and professional and courteous and considerate. Those are great traits in a human being. They do not impart overwhelming impact as an NFL head coach. It does not matter if Peter King levels the playing field so that every NFL team grades out as varying degrees of greatness or if Mike Silver idolizes him to ensure he remains the recipient of the most intimate access to cover the Rams with more detail than anyone. None of that has helped the Rams finish with a winning record.

Now at 4-6 with a tough slate in front of them, there’s a good chance the Rams yet again finish below the ridiculous bar Fisher so publicly set back in early August. But they were always going to for a very simple reason.

Jeff Fisher doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to helping manage a football team win games.