Friday, April 13, 2012
Podcast: Jeff Fisher on bounties, Bradford
By Mike Sando
Highlights and interpretations from St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher's conversation Friday with "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio:
- Bounty impact: Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' indefinite suspension affected the Rams as they began their voluntary offseason program April 2. Fisher: "We were behind a little bit as we began to install with our players because the offseason program started a couple weeks ago, but we're caught up now." Wait, coaches can install their schemes during Phase One of the offseason program? Yes, they can, but only in meetings, not on the field. More here.
- Taking back Williams: Fisher expects Williams to make a positive impact off the field before the league considers whether to let him coach again. Fisher was non-committal about Williams returning to the Rams, if cleared, but he did not discourage the notion. Fisher said the team would have to consider the possibility in concert with whatever the league decides.
- Challenging league report: The NFL's punishment report regarding the Saints' bounty program suggested opposing players indeed suffered injuries as a result. "A review of the game films confirms that opposing players were injured on the plays identified in the documents," it read. Fisher, while agreeing with the push to eliminate bounty-type systems, took a different view Friday: "I don't believe there was an injury associated with those type of things that was said in a meeting, but the point is, you just don't say it and that is where we have the problem."
- Player safety in general: Players are adjusting to new NFL rules to a degree that probably escapes most fans, Fisher said. "They are not launching any more through a defenseless receiver. Players are trying to stay away from the legs of the quarterback." We've pointed to penalty tendencies for Fisher's former teams in Tennessee. Most of information predates the NFL's emphasis on player safety. I'll be interested in seeing whether those tendencies change.
- High praise for Bradford: Fisher affirmed his commitment to Sam Bradford and said others in the league told him the quarterback has the potential to be the NFL's best at the position, a factor in Fisher's decision to take the job.
Those are a few of the highlights. The Rams got a two-week jump on their NFC West rivals' offseason programs because they have a new head coach.