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Jeff Fisher ‘s run as the Los Angeles Rams head coach is over after four-plus seasons. The Rams announced Fisher’s dismissal Monday after Los Angeles lost 42-14 to the Atlanta Falcons .
Myles Simmons of the Rams’ official site shared a statement from team owner Stan Kroenke on the decision to part ways with Fisher:
Full statement from Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke regarding the Rams relieving Jeff Fisher of his head coaching duties. https://t.co/aED6cenkwl
Later in the day, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff called the firing “solely a performance issue,” telling reporters that “we wanted to make sure games like yesterday didn’t happen again.”
Fisher released a statement on NFL Live Tuesday, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN:
First and foremost, I want to thank Stan Kroenke for the opportunity to be part of this organization the last four and a half years. I want to thank the entire football staff as it has been a privilege to work with each one of them day in and day out. I especially want to thank all the players. They are a great group of men that I respect, and that I will greatly miss. My hope is that each one of the players experience great success in the future.
The Rams later announced special teams coordinator John Fassel will be named the interim coach in Fisher’s place. Demoff said Fassel was chosen because, among other reasons, it is the least disruptive to the team’s game plan and he’s worked with the coaching staff.
Fisher, 58, went 31-45-1 during his tenure. Taking over in 2012 after a 17-year run with the Tennessee Titans. Fisher failed to make the playoffs during his entire run with the Rams and never posted a record above .500.
The Rams peaked in Fisher’s first season, going 7-8-1. They’ve been a typical middle-of-the-road Fisher team since, posting a pair of 7-9s to go with this year’s 4-9 record. Fisher had signed a two-year extension in the offseason, but the franchise decided to part ways after Sunday’s blowout loss.
“Of course I will go to the games now,” Rams legend Eric Dickerson told Colin Cowherd on The Herd after Fisher was fired, per ESPN.com .
Dickerson was embroiled in a feud with Fisher over critical comments the former running back made about the franchise and was boycotting the franchise’s games as long as Fisher was in charge.
Dickerson also told AM 570 LA Sports that he wanted Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to take over for Fisher, per ESPN.com:
Not about who’s caring biggest stick it’s about who’s winning. Jim Harbaugh is that guy. That is what it comes down to. He went to Michigan now they are winning. Stanford as well. That offensive line can be fixed but have to get right person in line. If they want to win people in charge have to get people in there that can win.
While they’ve boasted consistent defensive talent throughout Fisher’s tenure, the Rams’ inability to find a coherent offense has been their undoing.
The Rams have used seven starting quarterbacks since 2012, none of whom played well. Sam Bradford struggled with injuries and a lack of downfield passing skills. Austin Davis, Kellen Clemens and Shaun Hill were replacement-level options, while the 2015 combo of Nick Foles and Case Keenum didn’t work out. The Rams drafted Jared Goff with the first overall pick in 2016 but sat him in favor of Keenum before eventually turning to the rookie.
Part of the problem has been at wide receiver, a spot the Rams have consistently failed to fill. They used a second-round pick on Brian Quick in 2012 and two picks in the first three rounds of the 2013 draft on Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. They also signed tight end Jared Cook to a big contract, but none of the moves have panned out.
Kenny Britt, signed off the scrap heap in 2014, was the team’s leading receiver in 2014 and 2015. Austin took that mantle this season but remains a bit of an enigma.
General manager Les Snead is also on the hot seat, with Demoff telling reporters Snead and his department will be “analyzed closely,” but noted no decision has been made on his future.
Effort or not, the production wasn’t there for Fisher. Overall, he’s coached 22 years in the NFL and posted six winning seasons. The Rams are probably smart to move on, and it’d be surprising to see Fisher get a top job again.
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