Jeff Fisher gets contract extension, but lots of questions remain
Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said he wasn’t going to put up with that 7-9 B.S.
Suddenly, that B.S. stands for best scenario.
The 4-8 Rams theoretically could finish 8-8, but who thinks they’re going to run the table in the last quarter of the season? And even if they did, just as they surged at the end last season, how much would it matter?
In the final four games, the Rams face a pair of division leaders, Atlanta and Seattle, before the relatively soft landing of home games against San Francisco and Arizona.
After Sunday’s 26-10 loss at New England, the Rams were guaranteed their 13th consecutive non-winning season.
For Rams fans, the day started with a gut punch, when the awkward news broke that the club had given Fisher a reported two-year contract extension. The franchise gave a similar extension to General Manager Les Snead.
That revelation triggered a Twitter tornado. How could a 4-7 team that’s looking to maintain momentum in Los Angeles have the audacity to extend a coach who in the last four seasons has finished 7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9?
It’s unclear who leaked the information and why now. A conspiracy theorist might point to a coach trying anything and everything to save his hide, but Fisher said Sunday he had no idea who spilled the beans.
Fisher revealed in his postgame news conference that in fact his contract was completed months ago, something the Rams had repeatedly denied.
“This was done well before the season started,” he said. “It was done well before we had 90,000 people in the Coliseum for our first preseason game.”
Turns out, the Rams were determined to do this no matter what happened this season. Then they stayed mum, for obvious reasons in the wake of the 28-0 loss to San Francisco in the opener (the 49ers’ only win to date), but also through the three-game winning streak that followed.
The Rams didn’t even announce the extension at Sunday’s game, only sheepishly confirming it as if it were checking off on a bit of injury news.
“It’s out of my hands,” Fisher said when asked why the club didn’t announce the deal when it was done. “I don’t know. We had a lot going on this off-season, lot of stuff going on. It’s not my place to make that announcement.”
Bizarre? You bet your backward baseball cap.
Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount is mobbed by teammates after scoring a touchdown on a 43-yard run against Eugene Sims and the Rams.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive end Eugene Sims can’t prevent Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount from scoring on a long run during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and Patriots receiver Julian Edelman butt heads after a play in the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field with the most wins ever as a quarterback after defeating the Rams.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is sacked by Patriots defenders during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman makes an acrobatic catch against Rams safety Maurice Alexander in the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Bradley Marquez can’t make the catch as he’s hit by Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin during the fourth quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley picks up short yardage as he’s swarmed by Patriots defenders during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff trips and falls as he tries to hand the ball to running back Todd Gurley (not pictured) during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley tries to grab the ball after quarterback Jared Goff lost control of it as he fell during the exhange in the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady escapes the grasp of Rams defensive end Ethan Westbrooks during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff escapes pressure from Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson tackles Patriots running back Dion Lewis during the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots runing back LeGarrette Blount has Rams safety Maurice Alexander turning the wrong direction during a 43-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is sacked by Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan during the second quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets a pass off in front of Rams defensive end Eugene Sims during the third quarter.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Rams Coach Jeff Fisher watches his players warm up before their game against the Patriots.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
On a day when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made NFL history by winning his 201st game, thereby breaking a first-place tie with Peyton Manning, Fisher took another step toward a bit of history himself.
With 164 defeats, Fisher is one loss away from tying Dan Reeves for the most losses in league history, and, if he survives the season and doesn’t finish 4-0, the Rams leader will be the first NFL coach to keep his job after five losing seasons in a row.
Not only that, but legendary running back Eric Dickerson said last week he won’t attend another Rams game as long as Fisher is the coach. Not what the franchise needs as it’s trying to reconnect with its nostalgic roots.
Multiple times after Sunday’s game, Fisher made reference to all the Rams went through during their off-season relocation. The sell-by date on that excuse has long since expired. Yes, such moves are surely trying, but then again, the relocation came with a significant benefit that every other team would love to have — the Rams got to live together in a hotel and bond while sorting through their housing arrangements. It’s too late to point to that as a reason for the season going south.
Just because Fisher has an extension doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be the coach for the next two seasons. He could be fired at any time, with Rams owner Stan Kroenke paying off the remainder of a deal that currently pays the coach about $6.5 million per year.
“I truly understand that the wins and losses fall on my shoulders,” Fisher said. “That’s the fact of our business, and I get that. And I’m not looking over my shoulder.”
In that sense, Fisher won Sunday. Yet again, his team did not.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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