Jared Goff

Jeff Fisher On Rams’ Success, Jared Goff, Coaching Record

Jeff Fisher‘s name has resurfaced recently as coaching changes are set to commence. The multi-decade sideline veteran wants another chance as a head coach. Fisher is eager to “salvage his legacy” and has already begun contacting potential staff members in the event he does receive the keys to a third NFL franchise.

The former Rams and Oilers/Titans leader said during a radio interview he had “a lot to do with” assembling the roster Sean McVay has on the cusp of an NFC West championship.

I have no regrets whatsoever,” Fisher said on Nashville’s 104.5-FM (via Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News). “I am a huge fan of the Rams players. They’re basically — I don’t want to say my players — but I had a lot to do with that roster. Left them in pretty good shape, and Sean, as he has shown in a short period of time, is an outstanding young coach, and he’s got the offense going, which was needed.”

The core of this Rams roster — Aaron Donald, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Trumaine Johnson and Co. — arrived during Fisher and Les Snead‘s four-plus-year run together. However, the veteran coach couldn’t steer the Rams into the playoffs. They are likely to snap a 13-year drought. Fisher traced some of his struggles back to Sam Bradford‘s ACL tears in 2013 and ’14, when the team ended up going 7-9 and 6-10, respectively.

We were making progress and the team was deprived,” Fisher said. “It was deprived of talent. So we started building. The next year, our quarterback tears his ACL. The next year, our quarterback tears his ACL again.”

A Fisher-led team has not made the playoffs since the 2008 Titans. That drought — an eight-season hiatus — helped tie Fisher with Dan Reeves for the most losses in NFL history by a coach. The Rams fired him before he could potentially set the record. At 173-165-1, Fisher has the 12th-most wins in NFL history.

My perspective is different because I went through it and I know exactly what I went through,” Fisher said. “I get a kick out of people (saying), ‘Oh, you just tied Dan Reeves for most losses in the history of the National Football League.’ Well, I’m a few wins away from being in the top 10. So, where do you want to emphasize? What’s your point?

Two different franchises, five different cities, six different stadiums. Not an easy thing to do. The Chargers moved from San Diego to Orange County and started 0-4 (this season). Relocation is huge. And I’m not making excuses.”

Lastly, Fisher addressed Goff’s progress under McVay. Fisher kept fellow 2017 breakout performer Case Keenum in over Goff for several games last season, one that did not go well for Goff — or just about any Rams offensive player involved a league-worst attack — but said he kept the No. 1 pick on the bench for protection purposes.

All through it, I was thinking about the best interests of the franchise, not myself,” Fisher said. “If I was worried about myself, I probably would have started him from day one and said, ‘Hey, this guy is going to be a better player.’ That was his rookie year, so we could chalk (struggles) up to a rookie year, but no, I wanted to do what was best for Jared.

Rams GM Les Snead Discusses McVay, Goff, Offseason

It’s already been a busy offseason for the Rams, as the front office made a number of coaching moves that should bring some excitement to Los Angeles. The organization didn’t only make Sean McVay the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, but they also added Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator.

Les SneadOf course, general manager Les Snead‘s job isn’t done. There are plenty of question marks when it comes to next year’s roster, and the executive will start solidifying his squad in the coming weeks.

In anticipation of the offseason, Snead sat down with Gary Klein of The Los Angeles Times. The executive discussed his new head coach, his plan for the offseason, and former number-one pick Jared Goff. The whole interview is worth reading, but we grabbed some notable quotes below…

On how it’s been working with Sean McVay:

“Exciting, because you see the young head coach but you also see him bring this unbelievable energy and passion to the job with that thought of how he wants to put together his staff and the puzzle there and what he’s trying to accomplish. … You’re working together to problem-solve, come up with solutions, come up with decisions and try to come up with what’s best for the Rams…. You can feel the chemistry developing based on just rolling up your sleeves and going to work and making your first decisions together.”

On his expectation for quarterback Jared Goff, last year’s first-overall pick:

“What he went through is only going to be positive in the future. It goes back to experience. … He knows what it’s like now. … What you got back is a very poised player — and adversity doesn’t rattle him. … Looking forward to seeing him grow because he’s felt and seen Sean come in and implement his offense, and Sean is really big on the quarterback. Jared’s chomping at the bit.”

On the team’s team-building strategy heading into the draft and free agency:

“I don’t know if I want to tell you exactly because it might tip hands, but I think philosophically I can tell you it’s probably, duh, right? We’ve got to figure out how to improve the offense and how that looks and what position groups you start attacking first. We want to move the ball, we want to get first downs and we want to score points. That’s going to be addressed at all angles.”

On how the team is going to approach their wideout depth (Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are set to hit free agency):

“It’s interesting with the receiving group because we already know a good bit about what Sean would like in his receivers. They’ve been described many times like a basketball team. And what that means is you probably don’t field five point guards, five shooting guards. …. With our pending UFAs I think it’s very safe to say we’ve got to sit down with the offensive group and see what they bring to the table and do they exactly fit us with the guys that are already on the team.”

On the status of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was slapped with the franchise tag last offseason:

“That will be a big decision. Wade, like a lot of [defensive coordinators], likes good players on the outside. Trumaine fits that category…. Trumaine is a larger guy with good ball skills and all things like that. Is it a square in a square, a triangle in a triangle or more a rectangle in a square? … That’s probably one of the top priorities when Wade walks in the door because, obviously, the magnitude of what his contract will look like and the magnitude of what another franchise tag looks like and everything in between.”

Jeff Fisher Discusses Firing, Extension, Jared Goff

It’s been less than a week since Jeff Fisher was fired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, we’ve heard plenty of rumors regarding potential replacements, but we haven’t heard anything from Fisher himself.

Until today. The long-time coach sat down with Fox Sports’ Charissa Thompson to discuss the firing, his two-year extension with the franchise, and the selection of rookie quarterback Jared Goff during this past year’s draft. We’ve compiled all of those quotes below:

Jeff Fisher (vertical)On why he was ultimately fired: 

“Bottom line is I didn’t win. I didn’t win enough games. In a new market, that’s important and I’ll take responsibility for that.”

On whether he was surprised by the firing:

“I had just recently signed an extension. I knew things were getting tough, I knew that, but I didn’t anticipate this. I always thought, depending on what happens the last three weeks, that there may be that potential with the season being over, but I was a little caught off guard with the short week.”

On that two-year extension, which was reported in early December despite being signed during the offseason:

“It was never my place to announce the extension, so somehow it got out. So then that became an issue. None of it was handled appropriately in my opinion. In this day and age, the successful teams in the National Football League are tight-knit, they work together, and they stay quiet. They don’t leak things. That was a frustration of mine.”

On whether the draft choice of Jared Goff was his own:

“Yes. It was our choice. It was unanimous. We went up [in the draft] to be in position to get that quarterback that we needed.”

On why the team waited until late November to start the rookie:

“We did not want to rush Jared. I made the decision prior to the Jet game, in which we won, to go ahead and start Jared the next week. He’s an outstanding young man and he’ll be the face of this franchise.”

On the Rams’ offensive woes:

“I have to take responsibility from the coaching side in that we just didn’t get it done, bottom line. When you’re 32nd in the league in offense every year, there’s an issue.”

On what he ultimately wants going forward:

“I want a chance to play the Rams.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Start Jared Goff

The future is now in Los Angeles. The Rams are starting Jared Goff on Sunday, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The team informed Goff and previous starter Case Keenum in a meeting this morning. Jared Goff

Over the weekend, it was reported that Keenum would likely be given the hook if he struggled against the Jets on Sunday. After the 9-6 victory, coach Jeff Fisher refused to blame Keenum for the unproductive offensive showing.

I don’t believe it’s the quarterback play,” Fisher said. “I think it’s collectively. It’s always a possibility when [Goff’s] time comes. But I thought Case did a nice job.”

Keenum didn’t throw any interceptions against Gang Green, but he also didn’t throw any touchdowns. Even though Fisher did not hammer Keenum for his play, it appears that the team is not content with treading water at the QB position. Goff is green, but it’s not as though Keenum has been setting the world on fire with his play. The Rams will turn it over to the No. 1 overall pick with an eye on winning this season and evaluating their future.

Goff’s first test comes against the Dolphins who have rebounded from a 1-4 start with a four game winning streak. They are now above the .500 mark, though they have allowed 364.3 yards per game to opposing offenses. In terms of pass defense, Miami has surrendered only 235.6 yards per game, which actually puts them in the top ten.

Photo via PFR on Instagram.

Jared Goff Could Start Next Week

We heard just last week that Rams rookie signal-caller Jared Goff was unlikely to start a game in the near future, or at least until the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention. Head coach Jeff Fisher implied that Goff was simply not ready to be thrust into game action, and as poorly as incumbent starter Case Keenum has played, it seemed as if his job would be safe for a few more weeks.

Jared Goff

Today, however, ESPN’s Adam Schefter passes along a rather different report. Per Schefter, if Keenum struggles this week against the Jets, Los Angeles could give Goff the nod as early as next week’s matchup with the Dolphins. The Rams are hosting Miami next week, and LA wants to give Goff his first start at home in front of a friendly and supportive crowd. The decision has not been set in stone, and Keenum can apparently hang on to the starting job if he performs well against the Jets.

The odds of that, however, seem slim. In his second season with the Rams, who sit at 3-5 as losers of four straight, Keenum has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,004 yards, with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in eight games. He ranks last in the league in Total QBR (39.6) among qualified starters.

Those struggles have understandably led to calls for Goff, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, to get his shot. Several weeks ago, reports indicated that Goff had made progress in terms of learning the offense, and now he may get a chance to show what he has learned on a national stage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Broncos, Goff

Some assorted notes from around the NFL as we wrap up this Wednesday evening…

  • Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph attributes defensive end Andre Branch‘s production to the player’s impending free agency. Joseph told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that Branch is hoping to get “paid,” thus explaining the uptick in production (Twitter link). Through eight games, the 27-year-old has 20 tackles and three sacks.
  • The Broncos worked out fullback Sione Houma today, reports Nick Underhill of The Advocate (via Twitter). The undrafted rookie was cut by the Saints in late August. The Broncos lone fullback, rookie Andy Janovich, has four carries for 33 yards and a touchdown this season.
  • Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe will be out at least two weeks as he recovers from a hairline fracture in his right elbow, reports Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. The defensive lineman is second on the team with 4.5 sacks this season, and he’s also chipped in 30 tackles. The team will be forced to rely on Billy Winn and Adam Gotsis in Wolfe’s absence, and the team could consider promoting Vontarrius Dora from the practice squad.
  • Following news that Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff was unlikely to start in the near future, Hall of Famer Cris Carter blasted the top-overall pick in an interview with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports Radio. “The guys know he can’t play,” Carter said (via John Breech of CBSSports.com). “They messed this pick up.”

Jared Goff Unlikely To Start In Near Future

Speaking to the media today, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher announced that Case Keenum will remain the club’s starting quarterback, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Moreover, first overall pick Jared Goff is unlikely to start for Los Angeles until the team is eliminated from postseason contention, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Jared Goff (vertical)

[RELATED: Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart]

“I know everybody wants to talk about it, and that’s the big question,” said Fisher. “Again, he’s going to play. Whether it’s the following week, or the following week, or what have you. It’s eventually going to happen. But big picture, as I keep saying, this is about making sure he’s ready to go out there and be sharp and give us a chance to win. The quarterback position is not easy.”

The Rams won’t turn to Goff barring an “epic collapse” from Keenum, according to Rapoport, although it could be argued that Keenum’s four interception game against the Giants in Week 8 was just that. Keenum turned in another poor result on Sunday, completing only 27 of 46 attempts for 296 yards, one touchdown, and one interception as Los Angeles fell to Carolina. For the season, Keenum has completed 61.5% of his passes for nine scores and 11 interceptions.

At 3-5, the Rams aren’t particularly close to falling out of playoff contention — they currently sit behind the Seahawks (4-2-1 heading into tonight’s game) and the Cardinals (3-4-1) in the NFC West. But their chances are certainly slim, as Football Outsiders gave Los Angeles only a 10.7% chance of making the postseason before yesterday’s loss. Still, it doesn’t appear as though Goff is set to enter the starting lineup any time soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Rams, Jared Goff

We learned a few days ago that Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff has been taking more reps with the first-team offense in practice, which would seem to suggest that this year’s No. 1 overall pick could see the field for the first time in his NFL career sooner rather than later. Case Keenum‘s abysmal performance in last week’s loss to the Giants added more fuel to the Goff fire.

Jared Goff (vertical)

Steve Wyche of the NFL Network confirms that Los Angeles is indeed getting Goff ready to make his professional debut. After all, in the wake of the Rams’ three-game losing streak, why wouldn’t the Rams give the first-team reps that Goff has been poaching back to Keenum, unless LA were preparing to usher in the Goff era?

Wyche adds that Goff has made progress in terms of learning the offense, and that the team would have been comfortable inserting him into the game last week should Keenum have suffered an injury. And it’s not as if the Rams have anything to lose by inserting Goff now, as it is difficult to imagine the offense being more ineffective with the California product under center.

Plus, as Vincent Bonsignore in a column for the Orange County Register writes, head coach Jeff Fisher probably needs a strong finish to keep his job. It was not that long ago that an extension for Fisher was considered all but done, but the last three weeks have changed things in a big way. Fisher’s famous proclamation on the latest season of “Hard Knocks” that his team would not finish the 2016 campaign with a mediocre record not only established a baseline record for the Rams, but also set the standard by which Fisher’s future with the club should be measured.

At this point, the player that the Rams traded a king’s ransom to draft might be Fisher’s best shot to meet that standard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Eagles, Rams, Hawks, Bears, Pack

Would a Torrey Smith trade make sense for the Eagles? Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com points out that fans should not focus on Smith’s stats as he has only 13 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. The Niners’ offense has struggled and that, of course, includes their massive issues at quarterback. At the same time, he is in the second year of a five-year, $40MM contract with $22MM guaranteed. As much as the Eagles might want an impact receiver, that’s a high price tag for a player of his caliber. Ultimately, Smith is a 27-year-0ld deep threat that is worth exploring, but the Eagles will have to consider his salary and the compensation they’d have to send back.

Let’s take a look at more from the NFC:

  • Are the Rams gearing up to install No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff as the starter? Coach Jeff Fisher says Case Keenum is still his starting quarterback, but Goff is now taking increased reps with the first team in practice (via the Associated Press). “He’s going to get reps,” Fisher said of Goff. “I don’t feel like Case needs the reps Wednesday and early next week, so Jared will get those reps, which is good.” One might expect Los Angeles to make the change during its bye week, but Fisher says he’s not ready to throw the rookie into the fire. Sources tell Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) that Goff still isn’t ready to read defenses or face blitzes, meaning the rookie is likely to sit on the bench for the time being.
  • The Seahawks can save quarterback Russell Wilson by trading for an offensive tackle before the trade deadline, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News opines. Seahawks GM John Schneider hasn’t been shy about making big moves in the past, and Marvez feels that this is a perfect time for another. Both Joe Thomas and Joe Staley can reportedly be had via trade and Marvez feels that they should pounce immediately rather than waiting until the deadline gets closer and other teams get increasingly desperate.
  • With Bears money to spend and no defensive playmakers to speak of, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) suggests that they should go after Eric Berry in free agency. Berry, widely regarded as one of the best safeties in the NFL today, may not return to Kansas City after the two sides could not reach agreement on an extension this summer.
  • The Packers did not put in a waiver claim on quarterback Joe Callahan yesterday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Green Bay would have liked to re-acquire Callahan, whom they waived recently, but the club wanted him on its practice squad, not on the 53-man roster.

Rams’ Jared Goff Closing In On Starting Job

Rams quarterback Jared Goff was inactive for Week 1, but the first pick in this year’s draft took a step in the right direction when he served as Case Keenum‘s backup last Sunday. Now Goff is “close” to being ready to take the starting job from Keenum, head coach Jeff Fisher told John Clayton and Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM on Friday.

Jared Goff

“There’s still a gap between he and Case right now,” said Fisher. “Everything that Case does, the familiarity with the offense, but he’s closing the gap and he’ll get in there, get his reps and make his plays, make the great throws that he’s capable of.”

The Rams are confident in Keenum, according to Fisher, but the 28-year-old has arguably been the worst quarterback in the NFL through the season’s first two weeks. Keenum has completed just 35 of 65 attempts for 369 yards and two interceptions, and the Rams have scored a paltry nine points – all of which came in their 9-3 upset over Seattle last Sunday.

“We have a healthy quarterback right now in our starter and so we’re just going to bring Jared along,” added Fisher.

While Goff is “improving,” per Fisher, it’s fair to say the ex-Cal star hasn’t developed as quickly as the Rams hoped he would when they traded up to draft him. General manager Les Snead sent several eminently valuable picks – including first-rounders this year and next – to the Titans to secure Goff, who became the first quarterback to go No. 1 overall and not start the opener of his rookie season since the Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell in 2007. He also began the year behind 2015 third-rounder Sean Mannion on Los Angeles’ depth chart.

Unlike the 21-year-old Goff, three signal-callers from this year’s draft – Carson Wentz (Eagles), Dak Prescott (Cowboys), Jacoby Brissett (Patriots) – have already started at least one game, while Browns third-rounder Cody Kessler will join the group this week. Fisher downplayed their relevance to Goff’s situation, however.

“Had this chain of events not happened — had (Dallas’ Tony) Romo not gotten hurt and (Minnesota’s) Teddy (Bridgewater) not gotten hurt and Sam (Bradford) stayed at Philly and then (Cleveland’s) RGIII not gotten hurt — we wouldn’t have any rookie quarterbacks playing,” he said.

Injuries have indeed opened doors for each rookie starter this year, but as the draft’s top two picks, Goff and Wentz will always draw comparisons. Thus far, Wentz is winning the battle. The former North Dakota State standout has connected on 43 of 71 attempts for 468 yards and three scores while helping the Eagles to a 2-0 start.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.