Tuesday, January 17, 2012
First impressions on Fisher's introduction
By Mike Sando
A few thoughts on Jeff Fisher's introductory news conference with the St. Louis Rams:
- Overall scene: Owner Stan Kroenke and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff flanked Fisher during the news conference. All three men spoke. They steered clear of specifics, which actually told us quite a bit.
- Purposely vague on power: Fisher would not say whether he had "final say" on personnel decisions. The team still needs to find a general manager. Luring an executive away from another team becomes easier if the Rams can offer the powers associated with the GM position. Clearly stating that Fisher has full control of personnel would complicate the process. Fisher will almost surely have control of the 53-man roster, at least.
- Why no word on staff: Fisher is familiar with process. He would not name coordinator candidates, because he had signed his own deal only recently. He alluded to having solid options. Gregg Williams is expected to become defensive coordinator. Brian Schottenheimer and Hue Jackson are potential candidates for offensive coordinator.
- No commitment to St. Louis: Kroenke had an opportunity to assure Rams fans that the team would do all it could to remain in St. Louis. He did not do that. He pointed to his long tenure in St. Louis, one reaching nearly two decades. But he also alluded to a stadium lease that can end following the 2014 season. "We'll see how that process sorts itself out," Kroenke said. Fisher was even more qualified when asked whether the team's future played a role in his decision to take the job. Fisher: "The future of this franchise right now, in this moment, is in St. Louis."
- Grasp of history: Kroenke noted that the Rams' 1999 Super Bowl team really lost just one game, against Fisher's Titans. Kroenke correctly noted that the Rams rested starters in their Week 17 defeat to Philadelphia. Those Rams did also lose to Detroit, however.
- Fisher's immediate goal: Fisher pointed to becoming competitive within the NFC West as his top priority. The Rams were 0-6 in the division this season. Fisher said he would field a "disciplined, tough, physical football team" that can win in the division. He wants to field a team that runs the ball, protects the quarterback and forces turnovers.
Those were a few of the key talking points. Fisher projects confidence and credibility.