Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams Gamble on Fourth Downs
As fans, we are all well aware of the time spent on the couch yelling at (insert random coach’s name here) to go for it on fourth down. If the preseason is any indication, St. Louis Rams fans won’t have to waste their breath this season given new head coach Jeff Fisher’s track record of aggression through the first two games.
Fisher’s Rams have gone for it six times on fourth down through two preseason contests, three in each tilt. There is a logical explanation behind this, according to the coach: “Well, I know both kickers [Greg Zuerlein and Garrett Lindholm] can kick 20-yard field goals, 30-yard field goals.In the preseason, why not try to make plays on offense? So that’s basically it. Obviously the philosophy changes during the regular season with momentum, flow, and field position. But I don’t think we need to kick 35-yard field goals in the preseason, especially if it’s fourth and less than 4.”
The statistics show that Fisher is no more apt to go for it on fourth down than any other head coach in the league during the regular season, however. His average of just 15.6 tries on fourth down during his time with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise is just about once per game. If the Rams maintain their current pace, they would go for it 48 times.
Perhaps the team’s lackluster performance defensively thus far has led Fisher to more fourth down attempts.
“We’ve got to get better on offense and we’ve got to get significantly better on defense. We’re over 61 percent conversion rate on defense, which will do you no good over the regular season,” he said.
While the preseason clearly isn’t an accurate depiction of how a team will operate during the real season, it certainly gives a hint toward their philosophical approach to the game. Fisher may be gambling a bit more often on fourth down if his defense fails to improve soon.
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