St. Louis Rams: Today's Intro of Jeff Fisher Marks New Beginning
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Since the franchise's 1995 beginnings under the Gateway Arch, the Rams have had seven head coaches thus far (with two of those being interim head coaches).
The firing of Steve Spagnuolo, who went 10-38 in three seasons, closed the book on the organization's seventh head coach in St. Louis. Interestingly and appropriately, seven represents completion, and Rams fans everywhere are eager to put at least the last seven seasons behind them, after going 29-83 during that time.
Furthermore, it is timely that Fisher will be the eighth head coach here after the aforementioned 29-83 stretch, as eight represents new beginnings.
New beginnings were exactly what was needed here following that seven season slump, the last five being particularly abysmal, as the Rams went 15-65, the worst five year winning percentage in NFL history.
A new beginning generally brings hope. Hope for a brighter day. In St. Louis, hope for change (pardon the overused expression) that we can believe in.
Hope for consistent competitiveness, hope for winning seasons (after not having one since 2003), hope for playoff appearances and hope for another Lombardi Trophy, after winning the Super Bowl following the 13-3 1999 campaign.
At this point, the promise of even having hope for legitimate hope itself, if that makes sense, is a great start for a fan base that is starving for it. Rams fans need something to believe in.
Hope has been a preciously scarce commodity in St. Louis in relation to the Rams for far too long, but, thankfully, that is a thing of the past now.
With real hope reaffirmed with the Fisher hire, this franchise begins the process of becoming relevant and legitimate again.
It needed to press forward beyond the ruins of the past seven seasons with a clear vision in mind.
The veteran Fisher will be able to provide that vision as he has the winning experience and pedigree to lead the team on the field while communicating a clear vision to the football operations department off of it. His insight, knowledge and leadership are paramount as the franchise forges ahead.
He is not expected to be given any title beyond that of head coach, however, but could still have final say on personnel decisions, according to an article by Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and is expected to be given the ability to put his own strong stamp on the organization.
Fisher has already landed his defensive coordinator of choice, Gregg Williams, according to this report from Jason La Canfora.
Williams, who was credited with turning around the New Orleans Saints' defense in their Super Bowl winning season, is a Missouri native and a close friend of Fisher.
Williams was Fisher's defensive coordinator in 2000 when the Tennessee Titans led the NFL in defense. Williams served in that capacity under Fisher for the Titans from 1997 through 2000.
He brings an aggressive scheme that liberally employs a heavy use of blitz packages.
On the other side of the ball, contrary to some reports, St. Louis has yet to hire an offensive coordinator.
Candidates include former New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (who has already interviewed with Fisher), former Oakland Raiders head coach and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and, a third consideration, Tom Clements, the quarterback coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Jackson will reportedly interview with the Rams on Wednesday and the interview process could continue further, depending on the results of that meeting.
Whomever Fisher ultimately selects as offensive coordinator, a major point of emphasis will be the grooming of Sam Bradford.
In 2010, Bradford played well enough to earn the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award under then offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur (who left to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns).
In 2011, Bradford struggled mightily with his play and with injury issues after an abbreviated offseason while working within the new system of then offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (who has since returned to the New England Patriots).
Finally, Fisher wants to eventually hire a quarterback coach to further assist Bradford's development.
Bradford seemed to lean on Dick Curl, who worked as the Rams quarterback coach in 2010 before retiring. He was reportedly a steadying and reinforcing force for the rookie quarterback.
For some reason, the Rams chose not to replace Curl and, coincidentally or not, Bradford struggled in 2011.
According to the same report suggesting Fisher will look to attain a quarterback coach, he will also likely add an assistant head coach in Dave McGinnis, who coached with Fisher in Tennessee for seven seasons.
It will be intensely interesting to watch Fisher share his thoughts today regarding this new beginning in St. Louis as we gleam nuggets of what his vision for the Rams is going forward.
Hope, hope we can believe in, is back in a big way for the St. Louis Rams and Rams fans everywhere. I had begun to forget what that feeling, as related to the Rams, felt like.
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