Yesterday, Rams interim head coach John Fassel had his (presumably) last press conference as a decision-maker in the Rams’ organization. He was candid, upbeat and up front with the Los Angeles media as he dissected the Rams’ product.
Most notably during the press conference, Fassel was asked by an LA media member: “What, in a nutshell, would you do to fix the Rams?” Here was an excerpt of his (very telling) reply:
I think, you know as I made some notes, with the potential opportunity to talk to them (VP Kevin Demoff and GM Les Snead), I think that something that’s underrated, and is an intangible, that I think would be big for the Rams, would be chemistry (long pause).
Asked to elaborate about the personalities on the team, and the locker room, “good bad an otherwise”, Fassel said:
Yep. I could elaborate on this, you said I have enough time to talk about it. This would be hours long discussion. Coaches chemistry, coaches and player chemistry, coaches and management chemistry, players and management chemistry. And I wrote down that some of the better teams in the league, seems they have it, and it seems like they are pretty consistent winners. And I think that the goal is, that’s a really good word to use, chemistry, but then it takes somebody to have their fingers on the pulse and know how to build it. And that would be something that I would really look forward to. And I think that that’s something as a special teams coach... that’s kind of our jobs as special teams coaches, is to pull RB’s, and LB’s, and DB’s, and TE’s, and WR’s, and get them to do one thing that maybe they weren’t expected to do when they came in the league, and they’re not going to get a lot of adulation for, and make it important and do it together.
He talks a bit more about this topic, including asking players to put their egos in check, especially if they were stars, and getting them to buy in to their special teams roles, but the above answers really stood out to me.
It sounds like that under Fisher, chemistry was not something that was important, as clearly players, coaches and management weren’t on the same page. The team never seemed to have an identity, except on special teams and being a “young team”, so it’s clear that Fassel might be onto something. A team is only as good as the sum of its parts, after all.
Click here for the rest of the press conference