Back in November, when the Los Angeles Rams revealed themselves as a legitimately formidable and dominant team, a significant share of the success seemed like it could be credited to simply getting rid of head coach and possible quarterback poisoner Jeff Fisher. Since then, it is clear that I was too lenient on Fisher.
In his time with the Rams, Fisher coached Nick Foles, Jared Goff, and Case Keenum. Foles came to the Rams in 2015 as part of the Eagles’ trade for Sam Bradford. He started 11 games for Fisher as the team went 7-9. After the season, the Rams moved to Los Angeles and drafted Jared Goff, a shiny new quarterback, first overall. Foles was furious and asked to be cut. This season, he talked about how that episode almost convinced him to retire. On Sunday, he was named Super Bowl MVP as the Eagles beat the Patriots, 41-33.
In order to get to the Super Bowl, Foles and Philly had to win the NFC title game against the Minnesota Vikings, who were quarterbacked this season by ... Case Keenum. The University of Houston product had a brief stint with the Rams in 2014 but actually started and played games in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In those two seasons, Keenum had a 158.0 QB rating in a 31-23 win over the Buccaneers and logged an absurdly high 84.4 completion percentage in a 31-28 loss to the Lions. These performances were impressive but not enough, as he was benched for Goff in Week 10 in 2016. Keenum was obviously unhappy with the decision. At the end of the season, he sat down with Rams GM Les Snead and determined it was “going to be in everybody’s best interest to move on.” He signed a one-year deal with Minnesota for the 2017 season and took over at QB when Sam Bradford’s knee fell apart after the first game. When Keenum and Goff met in Week 11's Rams-Vikings game, both talked about being happy for the other in his stable, productive environment.
Though Goff didn’t reach the Super Bowl or even a conference title game, the Rams’ season wasn’t too shabby. Under McVay, the team went 11-5, achieved its first winning season in 14 years, and made the playoffs, albeit losing to the Falcons. Still, it was quite an impressive first-year turnaround under the new coach. Goff was a clear-cut starting QB and threw for 3,804 yards, along with 28 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Todd Gurley was unstoppable and was voted Offensive Player of the Year. With these talented skill position players and guys like DPOY Aaron Donald on defense, McVay and the Rams are in an ideal position to challenge the NFC’s best next season.
All of which is to say: Sean Mannion is already a 2018 MVP candidate, and please call the police on Jeff Fisher and have him arrested for what he has done to football.