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Thread: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

  1. #1
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    Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    BY JEFF GORDON STLtoday.com
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 12:27 pm

    New Rams coach Jeff Fisher is working through his extensive and ambitious “to do” list.

    Building a better roster piece by piece is a big part of his job. So is assembling a better coaching staff.

    But his overriding goal is necessarily broad. He is trying to build a strong program — a way of doing things that everybody working at Rams Park can believe in.

    The challenge is enormous. This is a downtrodden operation, arguably the NFL's worst before the latest round of firings commenced.

    The Rams haven’t posted a winning season since 2003. The decline started on “Mad Mike” Martz’s watch and continued through two overmatched first-time head coaches (Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo) and two handcuffed interim coaches (Joe Vitt and Jim Haslett).

    Fisher must start over almost from scratch, building around the handful of cornerstone players already in place.

    The task will be daunting, but Fisher inspires confidence within the football industry. This is why top assistant coaches are lining up to join this project.

    New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams left his post with the Saints, a perennial Super Bowl contender, to rejoin Fisher. They developed a strong bond working together in Tennessee.

    New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer had myriad opportunities after leaving the Jets, but he eagerly signed on as well after an extensive visit with the new Rams coach.

    New assistant head coach Dave McGinnis worked under a one-year deal with the Titans this season while hoping to follow Fisher to his next gig.

    The call came and he jumped at the opportunity to help Fisher build a program from the ground up.

    “I really, really wanted to stay with Jeff,” McGinnis said during a conference call with St. Louis reporters Wednesday. “I love the way he does things. He just gets it on every level in this league. There are a lot of levels you have to be spot on with.”

    McGinnis has been around the coaching block. Like many NFL coaches, his career was launched back at the University of Missouri — an unlikely coaching cradle, given its lengthy drought between gridiron glory days.

    Along the trail, he notes he was “head coach of the Bears for six hours, and knew it for three” back in 1999, when that team called a news conference to announce his hiring before he agreed to terms. That blunder convinced him not to work for that organization.

    (Had McGinnis actually taken the Chicago job, he would have hired Martz as offensive coordinator — thus preventing the birth of the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Funny how the world works.)

    McGinnis became head coach of the Cardinals, first on an interim basis, then with more permanent status. But working for Bill Bidwill in those days had its drawbacks and he never got the Gridbirds on track.

    His happier times in Tennessee under Fisher illustrated the difference between a team and a program. He quickly came to appreciate Fisher’s method of operation. The Titans worked hard and adhered to high standards but still had fun.

    When Fisher stepped down as coach and took a year off from the NFL, McGinnis hoped Jeff would find a new challenge and bring him along.

    And here they are. Although this team has yet to settle on its new general manager, Fisher has quickly established himself as the new face of the franchise.

    “He has a confidence about him,” McGinnis said. “That is very, very evident when you are around him.”

    That confidence must spread to every aspect of the Rams organization, given the transformation that must occur. Last season the Rams kept finding new ways to lose during their 2-14 campaign.

    Fisher must replace the stagger with swagger. His confidence must become contagious and spread to every corner of the operation.

    “People in the building like the atmosphere he creates,” McGinnis said. “Players love playing for him.

    “You know you will always have a chance. You will always be prepared on Sunday. The environment is conducive to doing very, very good things.”

    Sounds good so far .. Pass the Kool-aid !!


  2. #2
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    Re: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    Very encouraging article. I look forward to next season and watching the Rams evolve into the team Jeff Fisher envisions, well prepared and tough.

    Go Rams!

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    "Building a Program". "Changing the Culture". Two phrases we've heard far too often since 2003. This dysfunctional mess of a franchise absolutely needed Jeff Fisher to come in here in an attempt to restore order. I'm confident he will get it done. Fisher's passion and fiery disposition is just what the doctor ordered, and I have a feeling we are going to see a very different Rams team than what we're accustomed to- a hard-nosed, tough group that has a bit of an attitude.

    "I PROMISE YOU WE WILL NOT BE PICKING SECOND AGAIN"
    - Jeff Fisher
    Fat Pang likes this.

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    Re: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    Pass the Kool-aid!

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    Re: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    We've talked about this a few times but we've never quite seemed to get it done.

    In my own experience of playing football, commercial management and even academia, the most conducive environments to success have been the hardest to explain in strictly technical terms. An ex-college team mate of mine who went into business straight from College and then went back to Cranfield in the UK to do his MBA once explained it like this, " They teach you this team-building stuff like it comes out of a bottle but I tell you this, if I could put what we had into a bottle and sell it, I'd be a millionaire."

    We won two national college championships in the early 90's, went unbeaten for nearly three years and whilst we weren't the most talented, we were the hardest to beat and arguably the hardest to beat up. There was no mention of 'four pillars' or anything remotely abstract but we had a core of players who just believed in what we were doing and lived out of each other's pockets. College is good for that but in the professional ranks you need someone who can engender that kind of organic team work almost by his presence alone. The best coaches just have 'it', whatever 'it' is but I'd wager that belief is at the core of it and you need people to sign on.

    When you get Williams and McGinnis to sign up in lieu of what look to be better options, I'd suggest the belief might well be there.

    'Four pillars' always sounded a little contrived, we need less of an ethical foundation and more of a winning foundation around Rams park. You get enough of one and you'll get plenty of the other.

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    Re: Gordon: Rams must build a program, not just a team ..

    What is depressing is really how far the Rams have fallen and what few assets that where left behind in the S. Linehan/S. Spagnuolo era's. Everyone here can post a "need" just about in every catagory.

    It seems Fisher is working on a corp of leadership and coaching. Spag lost his job mostly because of his underlings, though to be far the Lock out and shorten pre-season didn't help. Fishers success or failure will also be tied to his underlings. Thing is I often wondered if FO and ownership was behind the sceens hamstring Spag, but I dont see Fisher taking the job in the first place if he knew FO/ownership was a road block to sucess

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