On Wednesday, we passed along the remarks from former NFL and USC star WR Keyshawn Johnson who suggested that Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher had been “forced” to take Cal QB Jared Goff with the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The reaction across the media was swift, and no one was perhaps better to rebut those claims, or perhaps confirm them, than NFL Network’s Mike Silver.
Silver, who went from Sports Illustrated to Yahoo! Sports to the NFL Network, has known Fisher for more than two decades, cultivating a close relationship that has allowed him exclusive access during Fisher’s tenure with the Rams, especially during the draft.
On CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show this morning, Silver addressed those claims:
Silver: My source – in February, in March, in April, now – is the same source on this. The source is Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher really, really, really wanted to draft Jared Goff. That was his guy. So let’s put that one to rest first of all.
Secondly, I think the larger point is that there’s this hysteria going on because Jared Goff is not in uniform and did not play in the first game. I take issue with that whole premise as well.
We’re living in a time – beginning with ’08 and Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco – where things have changed dramatically from prior NFL history and now you are seeing a lot of top quarterback picks playing right away. Some, including the two I mentioned, have had surprising success, and others have not. And yet, we certainly have guys in the league – Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer – who sat and watched as top picks and it turned out to be a great pick for them.
So I reject the premise that if you draft a guy high, it’s the best thing long-term for that quarterback and for your franchise to play them right away.
I know Jeff Fisher and have known him for more than a quarter century, and I know what his philosophy is. He believes – and this is the philosophy founded on the experience with Steve McNair, who was brought along slowly and had an awesome career, and others – he believes it’s better to have these guys absorb it, take a look, get thrown in in practice a little bit and then eventually be worked into the lineup. He’s doing what he believes is best for Jared Goff and for the long-term interest of the franchise, even as it possibly quarrels with what would be best for Jeff Fisher right now – because he certainly is under pressure to produce in his first year in L.A.
Gottlieb: Alright, So when is Goff gonna play? Best guess.
Silver: Well, I think ideally he might not play all year, if Jeff Fisher were doing what he philosophically believes is best. Now we all saw that atrocity on Monday night. If it keeps looking like that for much longer, I don’t know that they’re going to have a choice.
Look, I’m not going to quibble with Silver’s knowledge of Fisher’s intentions. I don’t know that anyone knows them better, and without Fisher’s signature coachspeak asterisk-laden grain of salt requirement.
What I might press is the idea that “he certainly is under pressure to produce in his first year in L.A.”
We’re talking about a coach that has been rumored to get a three-year contract extension. That certainly doesn’t suggest that he’s under pressure to produce in his first year in L.A.
Ultimately, the results will speak for themselves. Goff’s playing time, the Rams’ record in 2016 and Fisher’s employment situation will define whether or not he is/will have indeed been under pressure.
But if Silver’s around in the Rams war room next spring, don’t be surprised if things are the same as they ever were, and he’s got the first, and deepest, report on how Fisher and the Rams are coming along.