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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

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    Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ,
    Friday, February 3, 2012 8:04 am


    INDIANAPOLIS • During the course of Super Bowl Week we've had a chance to interview a long list of people. Some of the conversations have been at the media center, some on our 101 ESPN radio show, some in less formal settings.

    Here's a sampling of STL-related comments from our chats, followed by some quick-hitters at the end of this here blog ...

    * Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told me the team is open to the possibility of trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. And he views the pick as a pivotal moment for the Rams franchise.

    "There are going to be teams that have some interest in that pick," Fisher said. "What we do will define the future of this franchise moving forward. If we stay there who do we take, if we move down who do we take. What if we move down and come back up. That's going to define the future.

    "Because I promise you this. We will not be picking second again. This is the last time we're picking second."

    I like Fisher's confidence. I like how he threw it down, making it clear that he won't have a team as bad as recent Rams' teams.

    * I asked Fisher if he'd had a chance to get out and explore St. Louis. "There hasn't been much time. I've mostly been working," he said. "Interviewing coaches (candidates) and being part of the search process for the general manager."

    We need to get the coach to The Hill.

    * NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told me he was excited by the Rams' hiring of Fisher. He thinks it will be good for the franchise on the field. And that Fisher will help energize the fan base. Goodell and Fisher became good friends during Fisher's long tenure on the NFL Competition Committee.

    * Goodell doesn't want the Rams to move. He made that clear to me in our conversation.

    * Former NY Jets and KC Chiefs' head coach Herm Edwards, now with ESPN, is a fan of the Fisher hire. And Edwards also endorsed Sam Bradford at QB.

    "Love Jeff. Good staff. Good coach. He's got a good quarterback," Edwards said. "When Jeff was going through all of this, and people were wondering where he'd go, and I was sitting there laughing. Are you kidding me? He was going for the quarterback. He's got a good quarterback in St. Louis. All you need to do is keep him upright, and Fisher will. He'll keep him upright. Now go get him some weapons. Fix your defense. And then all of a sudden, you have a good football team. But it starts with the quarterback. And he has the good quarterback. This kid's a good quarterback."

    I told Edwards that some Rams fans turned on Bradford after a rough 2011. He was astounded.

    "Are you kidding me? It's hard. People forget how hard it is," Edwards said. "Peyton Manning. It didn't start out real good for him. Troy Aikman, early. It didn't start out real good for him. This is the National Football League. This is professional football. This is not a hobby. You just don't pick some players and go play. Are you kidding me? Sometimes it's not good right away. Patience."

    * LA Rams Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood told me Fisher would have been his No. 1 choice for head coach.

    "I was always thinking that if I was involved in the decision, he would be at the top of my list," Youngblood said. " I would have gone after Jeff. He knows how to take an organization and turn it into quality. He'll bring in players that want to play, want to win. And they'll all have the same focus."

    Youngblood also likes Fisher because he's confident that the coach will toughen the Rams up, make them more physical.

    "You still need to block, tackle, hit and intimidate people in this league," Youngblood said. "It's still football."

    * Lots of comments from Dick Vermeil, who coached the 1999 Rams to the Super Bowl championship in a classic encounter with Fisher's Tennessee Titans.

    "I knew Jeff when he was in high school," Vermeil said. "I watched him play in high school. I was at UCLA, and recruiting a player that he was playing against. Later on, I really got to know him in coaching. And in owner's meetings. He's a wine guy. He's a hunter. And he's a good football coach. People have asked me a lot about him since he was hired in St. Louis. I was out of the league for 14 years and came back. He's only been out one year. And I think he will get it up and running good again a lot quicker than I did. I'm not going to say he's going to the playoffs in the first year, but he knows what he's doing. He's bright. He's a hard worker. He's a good communicator. He's a good leader. He'll surround himself with good people to help him do it."

    * Vermeil said Fisher can't do it alone, and criticized the Rams for their faulty personnel decisions.

    "The organization has to make sure they'll give him the tools," DV said. "They just fired a good football coach (Steve Spagnuolo.) The last two guys (including Scott Linehan) could coach. They've proved that. So there's other reasons why they're losing. Why do they not have good enough personnel. Why do they not have enough depth on the roster. Someone has to be held responsible for that. It's not always the coach."

    * Vermeil is pleased by Fisher's hiring of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and other veterans being added to the coaching staff.

    "It's harder more today, and even then when I coached I realized this: high, commanding leadership positions is a shared leadership responsibility," DV said. "You've got to share it with people that know what you do. You've got to share it with people that know more than you know. You can't know it all. A good leader hires people that cover areas that they don't have time to become efficient in."

    * Vermeil on his long association with Brian Schottenheimer, who was a member of the Rams organization in 1997: "I hired him as an intern in '97. I watched him grow. (Before coming to St. Louis) I would broadcast Kansas City Chiefs preseason games. I'd sit and have lunch with the kid in camp and I admired his passion for the game when he was just a kid going on and making a decision on where he was going to college. He's very smart. Loves the game."

    * Vermeil believes owner Stan Kroenke will keep the Rams in St. Louis but thinks it's unfair to portray Kroenke as the bad guy in the negotiations.

    "St. Louis has to realize that they have a responsibility too," Vermeil said. "It isn't all on Stan Kroenke. Otherwise you don't draw up (lease) contracts that have statements in them, that guarantee certain things. And I think Stan Kroenke is the kind of guy, if he sees the commitment being made to do what the contract says they have to do, or even come close in the negotiations to make it work, I can't see him being in the frame of mind where he'd want to move."

    Vermeil added, "I think he's a wonderful human being."

    * Before he became a popular morning talk-show host on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" show, Mike Golic was a defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles. And his defensive coordinator? Jeff Fisher.

    "I was a fan of Jeff," Golic said. "When I played in Philadelphia and Buddy Ryan was my head coach, Jeff was the defensive coordinator. So Jeff cut his teeth running the defense for Buddy. I liked Jeff a lot. I know when you look at Jeff's resume you don't go, ‘Oh my God.' But players love him and respect him. And I do think he's a really good coach. I like Jeff Fisher a lot. I loved playing for him. And I would love to play for him."

    *Golic defended the Rams' hiring of Schottenheimer as OC: "Schotty got there under some tough circumstances with the Jets. I don't think he was going back there no matter what. What's different there is even though Jeff is a defensive-minded coach like Rex Ryan, Rex kind of had an air and a brashness that said, ‘Offense, don't screw it up.' Like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. You had Trent Dilfer at quarterback and that great defense. An attitude of ‘We're going to win it on defense, and you can punt it on third down if you'd like.' That's kind of Rex's deal. Schotty had the handcuffs on him a little bit with the Jets. And Jeff Fisher is not like that. He's a defensive-minded coach, but he also will let the offense do their thing. And he's going to let Sam Bradford do his thing. And Schottenheimer do his thing. And I like that."


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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    Wow! That was a Golden Corral buffet of Rams soundbite nuggets.
    TekeRam and lostsoul like this.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    Pretty positive post. I was admittedly ambivalent about Fisher's hire, viewing it coaching philosophy-wise as Spags redux, with more experience. I was very wrong. Not only is that not true, it really didn't matter anyway, because there is way,way more involved in being a head coach than just instilling one's phosophy.

    First and foremost is knowing who are, and having the ability to hire, good EXPERIENCED assistant coaches.

    Second, he has a (in a good way), my way or the highway approach to players wanting to play to win as opposed to keeping players at positions where they are not performing, whether it be from lack of desire, or lack of talent. Luckily, ther Rams are in a position now where they can afford to dump any deadwood, given the they have a good core group.

    Third, he is able to get the most out of his players. Some of you may have heard an interview a couple of months ago between Farr and Kevin Carter, Carter having played for both Fisher and Gruden. He said Gruden was more of a Vet guy, while Fisher was more into developing young players, and that he had the ability to deal with players on an individual basis, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. I mean, think about it - you get the max out of both Haynesworth and Young, two very disimilar psyches.

    Fourth, he's adaptable, persevering, and respected, as evidenced by dealing with moving a team, an interfering owner, and having been asked to sit on the rules committee at its inception.

    I'm liking all of his hires, (I'm sixes on Schott, based on ignorance mostly), and think the time he's spending in the GM interviews bodes well for the future. So.... once again, despite the last ten years, I am eagerly awaiting next season.

    And oh by the way, for those playing the nepotism card, just shut up. The reality is, especially in a profession like football, that fathers tend to be much harder on their offspring than other subordinates.

    Plus, you're probably the same people *****ing about the Hewitt firing, (although it would be a great move, imo, if Fisher hired him back).
    Last edited by VegasRam; -02-03-2012 at 03:36 PM.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    I wanted Jeff Fisher from the beginning and said among other things he'd toughen the Rams up- something they sorely needed. Good to see my childhood idol, Jack Youngblood echo those same sentiments.

    We're gonna' turn this thing around sooner rather than later- believe me.
    GROUND DOG 39 likes this.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I wanted Jeff Fisher from the beginning and said among other things he'd toughen the Rams up- something they sorely needed. Good to see my childhood idol, Jack Youngblood echo those same sentiments.

    We're gonna' turn this thing around sooner rather than later- believe me.
    I think you was the first to make a point about Jeff Fisher being a good, prospective coach for our Rams. It was just before the time, someone had made a Jon Gruden v Jeff Fisher poll(thread) on the matter. Ill give you credit for this. I just hope you can let go now, in your credit quest Jersey1.
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -02-05-2012 at 06:45 AM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Fisher and the No. 2 draft pick ..

    "The organization has to make sure they'll give him the tools," DV said. "They just fired a good football coach (Steve Spagnuolo.) The last two guys (including Scott Linehan) could coach. They've proved that. So there's other reasons why they're losing. Why do they not have good enough personnel. Why do they not have enough depth on the roster. Someone has to be held responsible for that. It's not always the coach."
    This is spot on, the organizations has been the issue more so then the coaches... I'm so glad Stan has cleaned house and starting over.

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