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Thread: Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

  1. #1
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

    Ann Killion

    St. Louis --

    This isn't how the Rams drew up their start either. High offseason aspirations have slammed into the hard reality of a 1-2 record.

    Such a start used to be routine for the Rams, but Jeff Fisher's arrival in St. Louis in 2012 raised expectations. His team's toe-to-toe play with its historical rival last season - a tie and an overtime victory against the ***** - raised them higher.

    "With respect to the rivalry, it really hasn't been one," Fisher said this week. "This organization has been on the losing end of a lot of games. Last year, we got our feet back on the map, but I don't think there's a rivalry yet.

    "I hope it will become one."

    It seemed to be on its way last season, especially after the Rams' overtime victory at the Edwards Jones Dome. The ***** made crucial late-game errors, running an ill-advised pitch play deep in their own territory and botching the clock management at the end of the game. Fisher got some digs in at the ***** afterward, saying, "I don't know what they were trying to accomplish there."

    This week, Fisher had former Rams great Eric Dickerson attend practice. Dickerson whipped up the renewed rivalry angle.

    "We hate the Niners still," Dickerson said. "That hasn't changed."

    A former great could spout off, but Fisher and his players were saying all the right things. Coming off their own beat-down on the road, a 31-7 drubbing by Dallas, they can't dare express any belief that they might be catching the diminished ***** at a good time. But after playing the ***** dead even for almost 10 quarters last season, the young Rams - the youngest team in the league - are confident.

    "Guys have complete respect for the *****," Fisher said. "But we know that when the game's on, both teams have a chance to win."

    It's that self-belief and confidence that's a new thing for the Rams under Fisher. It's the same kind of changed mind-set that Jim Harbaugh brought to the ***** in 2011.

    "Having that confidence in your locker room every day is worth a lot," said Rams defensive end Chris Long. "It kind of breaks you out of that culture of losing. Of expecting the worst.

    "With Coach Fish you expect the best. You really look forward to every day of work, thinking what can go right rather than what can go wrong."

    Safety Craig Dahl, who switched uniforms from the Rams to the ***** in the offseason, said of Fisher: "He has an aura about himself that just exudes through the team."

    And Fisher has longevity. Perhaps the most underrated head coach in the league, Fisher has 150 wins under his belt, third most among active coaches behind Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan. Most members of the Rams team grew up watching Fisher's Tennessee Titans play.

    He brought some Tennessee players with him, including cornerback Courtland Finnegan who likes Fisher so much he rents a room in his house (he refused to say what he pays in rent, joking, "check my tax returns").

    "He's a players' coach," Finnegan said. "He's a guy you can talk to about more than football if you're struggling. He's looking for the best for his players."

    Fisher was the *****' defensive backs coach in 1992 and 1993, under George Seifert. The ***** were a dominant team then, on the brink of their last Super Bowl victory.

    "I loved the guy," said Eric Davis, a former 49er who is part of the team's radio broadcasting team. "He understands the mentality of the guys in the huddle. He knew how to deal with personalities, when to micromanage and when to let the rules be broken."

    After coaching Davis, Merton Hanks and Tim McDonald, Fisher left to become defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers and - midway through the 1994 season when Jack Pardee was fired - ascended to head coach at age 36. He kept the team on track as it migrated, first to Memphis and then to Nashville, winning four division titles, making six playoff appearances and coming inches from beating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

    Fisher's trademark is tough defense, a style he learned from his mentor Buddy Ryan, for whom he played in Chicago.

    "He's a tough guy," Davis said. "He is going to coach you to beat a guy into submission. He doesn't want guys around who aren't tough."

    Fisher left the Titans after the 2011 season and was hired by the Rams a year later, a splashy, expensive hire after years of underwhelming leaders like Joe Vitt, Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett and Steve Spagnuolo. The Rams had been making high draft picks for years and had some talent.

    What they didn't have was a winning attitude.

    "The greatest thing for the guys who have been here through some of the struggles was that he said, 'That's the past; put it behind you,' " said quarterback Sam Bradford. "He said, 'We're worried about the future, and this is how we're going to make things better.' The way he carries himself in meetings, on the field, in practice and on game days, he has a confidence that flows into everyone in this locker room.

    "He told us, 'we're going to win games, we're going to be a good football team, and you guys need to believe that.' With his belief in us, we're like, 'OK. We can do that.' We expect to win games now."

    And the Rams expect to renew their rivalry with the *****. Dickerson told a story about his favorite *****-Rams moment: how he once ran over Ronnie Lott late in a game and the Rams kicked a field goal to win the game. The game he was talking about was in September 1986, years before most of the players on the Rams' current roster were born.

    It was a nice story. But the Rams have their own memories of beating the ***** by a field goal. That memory, along with the confidence instilled by their head coach, is plenty of fuel.


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    Re: Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

    He brought some Tennessee players with him, including cornerback Courtland Finnegan who likes Fisher so much he rents a room in his house (he refused to say what he pays in rent, joking, "check my tax returns").

    "He's a players' coach," Finnegan said. "He's a guy you can talk to about more than football if you're struggling. He's looking for the best for his players."
    Hopefully there have been some talks about what the hell is wrong with Finnegan, and how to get him back on track. We can't afford to have guys mailing it in tonight.
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    Re: Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

    and the proof shall be what we see on the field.....Go Rams......

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    Re: Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    And the Rams expect to renew their rivalry with the *****. Dickerson told a story about his favorite *****-Rams moment: how he once ran over Ronnie Lott late in a game and the Rams kicked a field goal to win the game. The game he was talking about was in September 1986, years before most of the players on the Rams' current roster were born.
    I remember that game vividly. Steve Bartkowski was QB for the Rams and he threw a perfect bomb to Bobby Duckworth to set up the winning field goal. I also remember screaming for joy when Dickerson ran over Lott. First game I ever taped with that long forgotten medium, VHS.
    http://articles.latimes.com/1986-09-...p-11895_1_rams
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    Re: Coach Fisher gives Rams reasons for optimism

    well, maybe next year.....again.......
    laram0 likes this.

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