The thought of Jeff Fisher evokes the phrase “experienced mediocrity.” He shuffles along with the Rams, underachieving here and there, while carrying a lengthy, but not necessarily good, résumé as a shield to protect his job. Based on what Fisher did Sunday, though, I’m starting to wonder whether he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Fisher’s team traveled to New Orleans to take on the Saints, which gave offensive lineman Greg Robinson, a native of Louisiana, an opportunity to invite his family to watch him play:
Robinson’s family ended up watching him drink Gatorade on the bench. Fisher decided to sit Robinson before the game, not because of injury, but as a coach’s decision:
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After a 49-21 loss in which Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was thoroughly embarrassed by his former boss, Fisher busted out his playbook of excuses, and dropped an excellent reason for why the Saints won:
Ah, yes. New Orleans played a Thursday game the week before, and therefore had the benefit of more time to dissect the incredibly complex Rams. With those additional days, the Saints could properly prepare for an offense consisting of trying to run Todd Gurley into his linemen’s butts before giving up on that midway through the first quarter, with a sprinkling of poorly executed Tavon Austin plays to fulfill some unknown requirement.
Excuses and Jeff Fisher go together like 7 and 9. First overall pick Jared Goff had an unspectacular debut two Sundays ago in a 14-10 loss to the Dolphins, and Fisher praised Goff’s ability to not get flagged for a delay of game. He spent weeks before that saying bad quarterback Case Keenum wasn’t the reason for the Rams’ defeats. All of these actions are evidence that Fisher is clueless at his job.
Maybe there’s a different explanation for all of these bad moves. What if Fisher is masterful at pretending to be dumb? Go back to 2014, before the Dec. 7 Rams-Skins game, where the St. Louis captains were every player the Rams had received in the Robert Griffin III trade. It was a ruthless, funny jab at Washington, but when asked about it after the game, Fisher said there was nothing more to it. From D.C. Sports Bog at the time:
“Coach, everybody wants to know about the coin toss, your choice of sending those six guys….” the first of these questions began.
“You know, it made too much sense to us to go ahead and recognize the guy that probably wouldn’t be here had it not been for that trade,” Fisher said, with a completely straight face. “So we wanted to do that before the game. It was a memory that’ll last them for a lifetime. So that was a good idea. I’ve sent other people out for different reasons as well. Glad you guys all noticed it, too, by the way.”
“Hey, eagle eyes,” a media member joked. “But some people, particularly some in that neck of the woods where you played yesterday….”
“I think they’ve got more issues than the coin toss yesterday,” Fisher said of the Redskins.
“So, not any jab at the Redskins?” he was asked.
“No, not at all,” Fisher said
“You would never do that?” he was asked.
“No, we’re not like that,” Fisher said, still with a perfectly straight face. “We don’t do that.”
Is Fisher unimpressive as a head coach but elite as a troll, his only current desire being a contract extension so he can keep shooting for two games under .500 and lying his ass off, or is he simply really bad at his job? To hell with Occam’s razor. I want to believe.