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Jeff Fisher willing to go for it, since it’s just the preseason

Brian Schottenheimer

Maybe being so close to the riverboats has brought out the gambler in Jeff Fisher.

The rather conservative Rams coach has been rolling the dice this preseason, going for six fourth-down conversions already in two games, the kind of rate that would lead the league in aggressive play-calling in the regular season.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that the Rams have averaged 17.4 fourth-down conversion attempts per year in their 17 years since moving from Los Angeles. And in 16 years with the Oilers-Titans, Fisher averaged 15.6 per season.

So why now?

“Well, I know both kickers can kick 20-yard field goals, 30-yard field goals,” said Fisher, referring to Greg Zuerlein and Garrett Lindholm. “In the preseason, why not try to make plays on offense? So that’s basically it. Obviously the philosophy changes during the regular season — [with] momentum, flow, and field position.

“But I don’t think we need to kick 35-yard field goals in the preseason, especially if it’s fourth and less than 4. The longer the down and distance is, the less likely you have an opportunity to convert.”

Part of Fisher’s rationale is to give opponents something to think about, to game-plan for the possibility of something that might not be there in September.

But there’s a human element to it as well.

“I enjoy it immensely,” wide receiver Danny Amendola said, smiling. “I don’t like punting. I’m not a punter, I’m not on the punt team, so I don’t like it.”

Since no one cares about the results in the preseason, it’s easy to like Fisher’s mindset. And if it rubs off on a team that could use a shot of confidence, why not?

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8 Responses to “Jeff Fisher willing to go for it, since it’s just the preseason”
  1. sj39 says: Aug 21, 2012 2:57 PM

    We’re talkin’ bout’ practice.

  2. kwazulu50 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:00 PM

    Coming from a Titans fans, this comes as no surprise. Titans offense used to be quite exciting in pre-season (fake punts, etc.) and then come regular season – run, run, pass, punt. Don’t get too excited yet, Rams fans…

  3. schmitty2 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:01 PM

    As a Rams fan I can appreciate Fisher gambling in the preseason but regular season is a whole different story. When you are leading a team that usually averages about 12 points per game give or take, and you have a kicker with a booming leg-Don’t get cute, just go for the FG

  4. oneandonlyramsfaninpa says: Aug 21, 2012 3:04 PM

    let’s face it, during the regular season last year the rams faced more forth downs than most other teams. so it is a good idea to make other coaches plan for something, even if it is just a bluff

  5. fm31970 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:13 PM

    This is what the pre-season is for– trying things you wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t during the regular season, when the games count.

  6. realitypolice says: Aug 21, 2012 3:29 PM

    I’ve often wondered about this. So many teams are weak in short yardage and goal line offense, so why do they waste opportunities to work on these aspects of the game in the preseason by punting on fourth and one, and for that matter, kicking extra points?

    Your kicker doesn’t need practice kicking from the 3 yard line but your QB could probably use the practice getting the ball in the end zone from that spot.

    I know you can’t totally forgo punting and kicking- those units need game reps as well- but save it for fourth and long or medium to long field goals.

    Kicking extra points or punting on fourth and one in the preseason is just taking away what could be extra reps for your offense.

  7. tformation says: Aug 21, 2012 3:33 PM

    Why not? Give us something interesting to watch in preseason.

  8. alonestartexan says: Aug 21, 2012 4:10 PM

    So tired of hearing Titans fans rip Jeff Fisher.

    The Titans were one of the most competitive teams in the NFL under his watch, the man may have posted a lot of .500 seasons, but he also had his team in a Super Bowl and several AFC Championship Games. His teams (minus the couple years in the mid-2000’s when the team dumped Mason, McNair, George, ect, ect) were always counted out, but they always played tough down the line and the fans always thought “this is the year”

    Fisher is a good coach that went leaps and bounds with mediocre talent. Look at the Titans drafts since they were in Tennessee..

    Kearse, Bulluck, Mason, later Chris Johnson.. those are the names that come to mind, the rest were average that Fisher got more out of, or were crap and that goes on Bud Adams and Floyd Reese.

    Fisher will turn the Rams into a great team and hopefully for the city of St. Louis, the city and the team will come to terms on a suitable stadium venture.

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