It’s time for the Rams to clean house

It’s time for the Los Angeles Rams to fire Head Coach Jeff Fisher. It’s time for the Rams to fire Fisher and General Manager Les Snead. It has been time for the Rams to fire Fisher and Snead since the conclusion of 2014 season.

In 2012, the Rams then based in St. Louis hired long-time Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher to take over the 2-14 Rams. In addition to Fisher, the team hired Les Snead away from the Atlanta Falcons to be their general manager.

In four and a half seasons the Rams are 30-41-1 under Fisher and Snead. But the team’s results have plateaued after the duo improved from 2-14 to 7-8-1 in their first season in charge of the Rams. After the Rams record regressed to 6-10 in 2014, the Rams should have fired both of Fisher and Snead.

In 22 seasons as an NFL head coach Fisher has earned the reputation as a coach who will finish the season with a 7-9 or 8-8 record. In 22 seasons, Fisher is 172-161-1, and has finished above five hundred in just six seasons. In ten seasons Fisher has won seven or eight games. Fisher is not the coach who can elevate his teams, and that is exactly why he needs to go. You cannot expect to do better than 8-8 with Fisher as your coach.

Entering their fifth season together and final year of their contracts, the duo went all in and made a last ditch attempt to save their jobs. The Rams traded up to select California QB Jared Goff first overall. In exchange for the first pick, a fourth and sixth round pick, the Rams gave up the 15th pick, two seconds, a third round pick in 2016, and a first and third round pick in 2017.

After eight games, Goff has yet to take a snap for the Rams. A large reason why Goff has not seen any playing time is due to the stubborn nature of Fisher. Fisher’s refusal to play Goff draws back to Fisher’s clash with former third overall pick quarterback Vince Young. Young won offensive rookie of the year. But constant clashes with Fisher cost both the coach and quarterback their jobs with the Titans.

In Tennessee, Fisher elected to start journeyman veteran Kerry Collins over Young. Collins was the prototypical big armed quarterback drafted fifth overall. But Collins failed to live up to his draft hype, playing most of his career as an average quarterback who barely threw more touchdowns than interceptions.

Fisher and the Rams refusal to remove Case Keenum from the starting lineup is inexcusable. Keenum is a below average quarterback. He has been for his entire four year career. In 23 career starts Keenum owns a 58.5 completion percentage, 6.8 yards per attempt and a 24 touchdown, 20 interception ratio.  The numbers are shockingly similar to Collins. Collins completed 55.7 percent of his passes, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt with 208 touchdowns and 196 interceptions. With Keenum as the starter, the Rams can expect another losing season.

Fisher’s refusal to bench Keenum, leads to obvious question of why. There are two conclusions that can be drawn from not playing Goff. One, Goff is not ready to play and represents a significant downgrade from the below average Case Keenum. The second conclusion is that Fisher believes his best chance of winning and saving his job is with Keenum. Either way, the Los Angeles fans have begun chanting for Goff at home games. For Fisher and the Rams, those chants will continue to grow louder. So loud, that Fisher will no longer be able to deny hearing them.

If the Rams believe Goff is a significant downgrade from Keenum, it draws into question the scouting department led by Snead. Since Snead took over in 2012, the Rams have made seven picks in the first round, five in the second and six in the third round. In addition the duo inherited a former first overall pick in quarterback Sam Bradford. Despite trading back to acquire extra draft capital, the Rams have failed to coach and develop the talent they have selected.

In five drafts under Snead, the team has made 18 picks in the first three rounds. 14 of the 18 players drafted remain on the active roster. Two of the 18 are on the inactive roster (former third round picks Tre Mason failure to report and Stedman Bailey gunshot wound) and have not played for the Rams in over a year. Former second round pick Isaiah Pead went bust and is now in Miami. While boom or bust cornerback Janorius Jenkins signed a big with the New York Giants in the off-season.

With the 18 picks, the Rams have drafted only one superstar in defensive tackle Aaron Donald. It’s not a matter of if Donald wins a defensive player of the year, it’s when. Donald is a disruptive force, who pressures opposing quarterbacks and stuffs the run game. The drop off from reigning defensive player of the year JJ Watt is minimal.

After making the highly praised decision to trade down with the Washington Redskins in 2012 so they could select Robert Griffin III, the Rams traded down again with the Cowboys. The two trades gave the Rams extra draft capital. But the Rams failed to generate a great return on their extra draft picks.  The Rams selected a decent starting defensive tackle in Michael Brockers 14th overall. But more was expected from Brockers, who the Rams are now paying $11 million a year.

With the 8th pick they selected 5’9” gadget wide receiver and return man Tavon Austin. Austin has shown explosive flashes of ability, but Fisher and the offensive coordinators that he has hired have failed to find ways to get the football to. The pick still looks questionable today. But when you consider the Rams traded up to get Austin and just gave him a $40 million, four year extension, it’s beginning to look worse.

The Rams selected two players from Georgia with success. Alec Olgetree is more of the better young starting linebacker. Running back Todd Gurley appeared to be a superstar in the making after his first season. But this year he is averaging 1.7 yards less per carry. After 21 games it’s too early to determine which season’s is a better indicator of Gurley’s abilities. Gurley’s first season was marked by an amazing start. But he cooled off by the end of the season. The truth about Gurley is likely somewhere in the middle.

When the  Rams selected Greg Robinson second overall, they expected him to be the second coming of Hall of Fame left tackle Orlando Pace. The Rams selected Pace first overall in 1997. Pace was a dominant pass and run blocked, and fans expected the same from Robinson who dominated in college at Auburn. So far, Robinson has been a complete bust. Robinson has failed to be the dominant run blocker he was in college. But more concerning is how terrible Robinson has been in pass protection.

Outside of the first round, Trumaine Johnson is a good starting corner who was worth of the Rams’ franchise tag. Safety TJ McDonald is an above average starter. Lamarcus Joyner is a nice player, but is not without his flaws in the secondary. Outside of the first three rounds the Rams best pick is kicker Greg Zuerlein. Rob Havenstein is the Rams best lineman, and looks like the only long-term starter on the offensive line. But it’s not like he has a lot of competition for that honour. Outside of those five players, the Rams success outside of the first round is pathetic.

When you consider all the extra picks the Rams have had, it’s even more pathetic. If you want to build a successful team, you need to find players later in the draft. The draft will ultimately be the downfall of Snead. The lack of the Rams success in the draft raises more questions about Goff’s potential as a pro. If the Rams are this terrible at identifying talent, and cannot develop, coach and get the most out of players under Fisher, what hope does Goff have?


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