The Los Angeles Rams are set for a new start in a new city during the 2016 season, but they reportedly want to keep things the same with head coach Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff for the foreseeable future.
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Rams Exploring Contract Extension for Fisher
Tuesday, March 1
Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reported the team is “engaged in talks with [Fisher] and staff about contract extensions," citing league sources.
Wagoner added more context to the situation, noting Fisher is entering the last year of his deal and that it is "uncommon" to do so.
As for the length of the potential deal, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported to "expect it to coincide with timetable on when new stadium opens."
Fisher Has Failed to Find Consistent Success
While Fisher has six different seasons with double-digit win totals and a Super Bowl appearance (1999 Tennessee Titans) on his resume, he has not turned in a winning season since 2008 with the Titans. Furthermore, he is only 27-36-1 with the Rams in four seasons. Pro-Football-Reference.com provided a look at his career:
|Jeff Fisher's Career Records|
|2012||St. Louis Rams||7-8-1|
|2013||St. Louis Rams||7-9|
|2014||St. Louis Rams||6-10|
|2015||St. Louis Rams||7-9|
But the Rams are apparently interested in adding years to his Los Angeles tenure. At least he will be taking on fewer responsibilities as a 58-year-old during the 2016 season, as Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk noted the head coach said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he will step aside from the league’s competition committee as the team moves from St. Louis.
There is reason for optimism for the Rams thanks to plenty of young talent, and extending Fisher’s contract will provide continuity, even if he doesn’t inspire much confidence with his recent record.
Running back Todd Gurley, one of the brightest stars in the league, was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season with 1,106 rushing yards and is only 21 years old. Elsewhere, the defense is undergoing some changes after cutting James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, but it still has 24-year-old Aaron Donald and 25-year-old Robert Quinn along the defensive line.
Perhaps the biggest question for Fisher is at quarterback, but he is leaning toward Case Keenum, given his recent comments, per NFL on ESPN: “Keenum comes back as our starter, and we're going to give Nick Foles a chance to compete.”
Keenum is only 28 years old and threw for four touchdowns and one interception in five starts last season. Limiting turnovers is a recipe for success with a strong defense and rushing attack, and Fisher has the entire offseason to work with Keenum (assuming the restricted free agent is still with the team, since Wagoner thinks the Rams will give him a tender).
While Keenum does have raw talent, St. Louis was dead last in the league in passing offense in 2015.
It needs to improve if it hopes to compete with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West next year. Building continuity with Fisher in the face of the rest of the transition within the franchise will give Keenum, who has only 16 career appearances under his belt, some stability as he prepares for the 2016 campaign.