Jeff Fisher has opted for the safety and comfort of residing in Missouri, and he decided today he will be the next head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Understandable choice. The Rams also opted for the safety and comfort of an experienced head coach who represents competency, something that hasn’t always worked out.
Jeff Fisher will likely be the beneficiary of better injury luck, particularly on the offensive line, and this should help aid a rebound, regardless of who the coach is. The Rams lost both starting tackles halfway through the season, and their projected starting linemen for 2011 missed 23 games this past season to injury. To put that in some perspective, last year, when the Rams had a turnaround season to get 7 wins, they had one total missed game among their starting linemen. If you look at playoff teams this year, several had good health along the lines, most notably Detroit (79 of a possible 80 starts).
So, Fisher may have learned a little from Parcells. Bill Parcells is the one who perfected taking over a bad team who had bad injury luck, and a poor record the year before, and looking like a genius. The Parcells Plan: (1) Find the team with dramatic injury effect, (2) find a public that does not understand regression to the mean, and (3) look like a hero with a first year turnaround.
I don’t necessarily think the Rams are a candidate to jump all the way to the playoffs next year, because there are still holes in the roster and there is no guarantee the linemen return healthy. The recipe, at least, is there. A veteran back who may have one year left. The potential for much better offensive line play thanks to returners from injury. A quarterback in place. The return of a leading possession receiver, who missed all season (Amendola). The final piece, and they could add both, is to retain Brandon Lloyd and/or draft Justin Blackmon with the 2nd overall pick. The Rams can potentially get a bounty for that pick, but drop too low and they may not get the impact player they want. Blackmon seems like the clear choice for the Rams if they make the pick.
A team with a healthy line, Lloyd + Blackmon + Amendola, and Steven Jackson? Then we should definitely find out whether Sam Bradford is part of the problem, or the solution who was drowned out amongst all the other problems. And we should find out whether Fisher made the right decision in making the Rams be the organization to “Show Me” the money.
[photo via Getty]