Sometimes controversy manifests in large part due to a team’s struggles throughout the course of a season. That’s why it seems odd that the latest noise made regarding the St. Louis Rams has surfaced now when the team has actually been playing decent football after taking down Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Regardless of when this topic was brought up, it seemed inevitable that both coordinator positions would come under fire for the Rams this offseason. The offense started out with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer trying to spread the field and open things up for quarterback Sam Bradford in the passing game. Unfortunately the aerial attack never took flight, and the Rams’ overall record suffered as a consequence.
Then came the discovery of running back Zac Stacy and his revival of a smash-mouth football attitude in St. Louis. Though most assume Schottenheimer was the cause of this renaissance of sorts, what if it was really head coach Jeff Fisher who pushed for the ground-and-pound attack?
Switching sides of the ball, if you remember last season when Gregg Williams was hired then suspended and the Rams operated relatively successfully without a true defensive coordinator, Fisher was credited with much of that success. The team ultimately hired Tim Walton after the potential Rob Ryan experiment blew up in their face, and his tenure has been somewhat unimpressive to put it mildly.
Though the defense has been coming on of late, rumors have swirled that this is due to Fisher again getting his hands on that side of the ball and directing the team. In response to those inferences, Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“That comes from someone that doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
His defensive nature when it comes to those comments (pun totally intended) may come across as someone covering something up, but it’s hard to believe Fisher’s role had really changed all that much during the course of the season. Sure he’s probably made some suggestions here and there, but he is the head coach after all. What’s he supposed to do, just sit by passively and observe?
The idea of dumping both coordinators in the offseason is a bit ridiculous when you think about it, however, because the Rams just revamped the defensive staff 12 months ago. That won’t exactly be a good look for Fisher, and it certainly wouldn’t make many high-profile coordinators want to take the job. Schottenheimer was just in the running for a head coaching gig last offseason and the team was fearful they would lose him to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It seems hard to fathom that he would be cast aside so quickly during a season where the starting quarterback has been out since Week 7.
As Fisher’s response to the topic implies, it seems like these rumblings come from someone that really doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in St. Louis. This team is still in a building phase of their development, and uprooting the concepts that each of these young guys has learned would be a huge step backwards. Don’t look for any of these so-called “rumors” to become truths anytime soon.