Way back in August, when everyone still had bright hopes for the season (even the Browns!), then-Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher used the subject of a wide receiver who broke a training-camp rule to remind his team that it had too much talent to go either 7-9, 7-8-1, 8-8 or 9-7 for the 11th time in Fisher’s coaching career.
“Little things are important, you follow me?” Fisher said in a speech that was filmed for “Hard Knocks” on HBO. “I am not [bleepin’] going 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7, okay? Or 10-6 for that matter. This team is too talented. I am not going to settle for that, okay? I know what I am doing. We had some 7-9 [bleep] this morning. Now, Deon’s gone. That is 7-9 [bleep]. We don’t need it.”
Well, the season almost is over and the Rams have had a whole bunch of “7-9 [bleep],” to the point where it’s now the best record they can hope for with three games left. Los Angeles was eliminated from playoff contention after Sunday’s dismal 42-14 home loss to the Falcons. The Rams scored more than 21 points in a game just twice this season, none of them coming over the past seven games, and is the league’s worst team in first downs, yards and points per game. The team’s defense, once seen as its strength, has given up an average of 39 points over its past three contests.
Running back Todd Gurley didn’t mince words when asked after Sunday’s loss if he thought some of his teammates were still giving it their best effort.
“I don’t,” he said, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. “I really don’t. We’re just going through the motions. It looks like everybody’s just playing to get through.”
Gurley added that “we looked like a middle-school offense out there.”
It’s never good news for a coach when the face of the franchise says such things, so Fisher’s days at the helm seemed to be numbered. And just like that, Los Angeles indeed fired the coach Monday afternoon despite having a game looming Thursday.
The Rams desperately need to field a winner to give their new Los Angeles fan base a reason not to boo, as it did vociferously on Sunday, yet they’re guaranteed their 10th straight losing season. Fisher had been at the helm for five of them and last posted a winning record in 2008, when he was still coaching the Titans. Sunday’s loss was the 165th of his career, which ties him with Dan Reeves for the most in NFL history.