During a Tuesday media session, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher appeared to take veiled – or not-so-veiled – shots at general manager Les Snead for personnel decisions in recent years, saying the franchise has had some “unfortunate things” happen with high draft picks and needs to do “a better job” in the years ahead.
Indeed, Fisher seems to be disassociating himself from the personnel decisions that have resulted in four – soon to be five – straight losing seasons under his watch.
How accurate is that?
“Well, I would tell you it’s 100 percent accurate,” MMQB.com senior NFL reporter Albert Breer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I don’t think this tension between coaches and general managers is that uncommon in the NFL, and a lot of these have become public. Whether it’s Baalke/Harbaugh or last year (Ryan) Grigson and (Chuck) Pagano, you see those sorts of things. The problems arise when job security comes into play, and so I think that’s a big part of what’s happening here. I think everybody in the building realizes that the temperature is being turned up now. They’re 4-8 in their fifth year and they haven’t had so much as a .500 season.”
Indeed, the Rams went 7-8-1 in 2012, 7-9 in 2013, 6-10 in 2014, and 7-9 in 2015. It doesn’t help that their debut season in Los Angeles could wind up being the worst of the Fisher era.
“When you’re in that position – and both of these guys have been through a lot over the last year moving to Los Angeles – heads are probably going to roll,” Breer said. “There’s been an issue between the head coach there and the general manager there for a few years now, and this stuff kind of boils over when you’ve got the tension of another bad year and job security on the line. That’s kind of where they’re at. There’s been finger pointing inside the building. There’s been blame to be assigned on X, Y and Z going wrong. It’s really kind of become, I think, increasingly more difficult for anyone to see the possibility that everybody’s going to be intact after the end of the year.”
If that is the case, though, why did the Rams sign Snead and Fisher to extensions this week?
“Well, that was done a while ago,” Breer said. “I knew the news just broke, but that was done earlier in the year. A lot of times, teams philosophically don’t want to send coaches into their contract years because they worry that players could wind up thing them out, they could lose the locker room – that sort of thing. We saw it happen with Rex Ryan in New York. Before his last year, they gave him an extension – which was just and extra year with an option tagged onto it – and they wound up firing him anyway.
“So it’s not unusual at all that these coaches get extensions in these situations and wind up getting fired on the other end of it,” Breer continued. “I think the timing of the news breaking over the weekend is interesting, but I don’t think anybody should take that as a deal having just been done now. Those deals have been done for a while and I don’t think they have that much effect on what’s going happen when we get to the end of the season.”
The Rams, who have lost seven of eight, host the Falcons (7-5) this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff will look for a better showing after being held to 161 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 26-10 loss to New England this past Sunday.
“He needs to grow into being an NFL quarterback,” Breer said. “I think they’ve been encouraged by what they’ve seen behind the scenes, but until you really get more (of a) full body of work from a guy – especially at that position – I don’t think you really know. I think that’s where they’re kind of at right now. The really interesting part about it is his presence there, if they were to make changes, could affect who they’re able to get. I think a big part of that decision (for) a high-profile coach would be do you like Goff or do you not like Goff?”