Generally it isn’t in the NFL’s fraternal code of ethics to publicly rip on players if you were previously in the same position yourself. While St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is a former player himself, clearly he believes that some comments by former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar went over the line in the team’s preseason opener.
The words spoken by the Rams head coach really speak for themselves, so here is what Fisher said according to USA TODAY:
“First off, let me say this: the Cleveland Browns’ organization is a first class organization from top to bottom and it has been that for years and years and years. I guess I’m a little disappointed. I feel bad for them that they had someone doing their broadcast feel the need to speak that way about players, specifically on our team and coaches for that matter.
“I’m just surprised that Bernie has such a lack of respect for players and this game. To be honest with you, I lost a lot of respect for him. It’s highly unlikely he knew anything about our football team, but felt the need to make those comments. I don’t think they were justified.”
What really got Fisher riled up in the first place were some comments Kosar offered about Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. Koser actually said at one point “I can’t stand watching him play” in reference to Clemens during the broadcast.
Entering his eighth year in the league out of Oregon, Clemens has been a journeyman backup throughout his career at best in the league. His play certainly isn’t starting material under center in the NFL, but that still doesn’t excuse Kosar saying he ‘can’t stand to watch him play’. Clemens completed six of his 13 passing attempts for 116 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the game.
Regardless of the numbers, Kosar was definitely out of line. Fisher finished by saying:
“Bernie’s got his issues; they’re well documented. Kellen played well, he played hard, he made plays.”
While an analyst’s opinion on a team’s backup quarterback seems inconsequential to the big picture, coaches like Fisher know that every player in the locker room is just one play away from being a starter. Words like those can sting – especially from a former quarterback – and his admonishment of Kosar is a way of standing up for his players to let them know he’s got their backs. That is just one of the many reasons why players play hard for Fisher – they respect him.