Tuesday, May 8, 2012
101ESPN St. Louis audio: Miklasz Show
By Mike Sando
The St. Louis Rams hired Jeff Fisher as coach for quite a few reasons.
They valued his experience, for sure.
"He's a great coach, he's a great teacher, he's a great leader," team owner Stan Kroenke said when the Rams introduced Fisher as their new head coach this offseason.
Bernie Miklasz asked specifically about Fisher's reputation as a teacher and developer of talent during our latest conversation on 101ESPN St. Louis.
The answer I provided could use some strengthening. After my mostly fruitless run through various online archives, Paul Kuharsky came through with a strong take based on first-hand observations. Paul covered the NFL and Fisher's Tennessee Titans for the Tennessean newspaper before becoming our AFC South blogger.
Paul's quick take on Fisher as a teacher:
"He is a good teacher and can be hands-on, particularly with punt returners and defensive backs. He didn't wander into individual periods or even special-teams periods very much. He worked with returners once in a while post-practice, but less frequently in his later years. I think he's a good teacher. He would talk about how 'we teach this when we talk about a penalty call' or 'we teach that the guy has to get his head across before he makes contact.'
"He had very specific things from the top down as far as their philosophy for doing this or that. He let his position coaches do most of that hands-on teaching stuff. He'll be far more hands-on with Janoris Jenkins than with anyone else. He'll talk about treating him the same as everyone else, and he'll baby him. The two most predictable picks in the draft after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were Jenkins and the Montana kid, Trumaine Johnson, who went to school with Fisher's son."
Fisher played defensive back and returned punts during his own career. That would explain his particular interest in those roles. He has been a defensive coordinator as well, and with Gregg Williams serving a suspension, it's possible Fisher could become more directly involved on that side of the ball. It might also be plausible, in my view, for Fisher to take more of a hands-on approach in his first year with the Rams. A coach might feel more comfortable stepping back after his program has been established.