After 17 season with the Tennessee Titans and one year off, Jeff Fisher is taking over as head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
Fisher agreed to a five-year deal with St. Louis after a lengthy process that also involved a flirtation with the Miami Dolphins.
In the end, Fisher said he chose the Rams because of the franchise’s plans for the future and the ability to help rebuild an entire coaching staff and front office.
“My decision was very, very simple,” Fisher said during his introductory press conference. “It was based on a shared collective vision in restoring this franchise to a place of significance. It was that vision that made my decision very, very easy.”
His task will not be that easy. The Rams were considered a rising young team after finishing 7-9 in 2010. However, the team failed to build on their six-win improvement in 2011. The Rams wound up tied for last place in the NFL this season, finishing only 2-14. Despite competing for the NFC West title in 2010, the team has not had a winning since 2003.
Fisher will not be taking on this difficult task alone. The coaching staff and front office will be packed with new faces. New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has already agreed to the same position with St. Louis. More good coaching choices are expected soon and a general manager who will work with Fisher to make personnel decisions will be hired.
Although most of the staff will be changing, Fisher believes the on-field personnel is not in need of an extreme overhaul. He refused to go into specifics but does think the Rams can fill their holes.
The team will look to move forward with stud quarterback Sam Bradford under center. Bradford struggled under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2011, throwing only six touchdowns with six interceptions. He was only able to play ten games after he took a beating waiting for deep plays to develop. The Rams are confident he can build on his solid rookie campaign.
Bradford was not the only shelved Ram this season. His receiving corp struggled to stay on the field but continues to show promise. Running back Steven Jackson, defensive end Chris Long, and linebacker James Laurinaitis are all building blocks that can contribute the team’s success immediately.
St. Louis also expects to add another franchise player in the April draft. The team has the second overall pick, which is widely expected to be Southern California offensive lineman Matt Kalil.
The Rams took several steps backwards in 2011 but are still close to becoming a respectable franchise. A new coaching staff, healthy group of players, and help along the offensive line will be enough to put the Rams back on the rise.