As Rams coach Jeff Fisher nears completion of his second season in St. Louis, the future remains bright but the present remains a bit murky.
Fisher, who survived 17 years as head coach of the Oilers/Titans despite working for an owner whose son-in-law recently said would fire people “at the drop of a hat,” remains firmly entrenched, despite a 7-8-1 finish in 2012 and a 5-8 record this year. Others may not be quite so secure.
The grumbling about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer began early in the season. While the team has at times shown flashes of real ability, even without quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams have underachieved on offense. St. Louis currently ranks 27th in yardage and 20th in scoring.
Defensively, it’s better but still far from perfect. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently pointed out that, in some respects, the pass defense is historically bad. While we’ve heard no chatter that Tim Walton could be out as the defensive coordinator after only one year on the job, Walton became Plan B after Rob Ryan bolted for the Saints after most other viable candidates had found their jobs for 2013.
Change also could be coming to the front office. There’s scuttlebutt in league circles that G.M. Les Snead could be in trouble after only two years on the job.
That would be a major surprise, given that Fisher hired Snead — and that Fisher is widely believed to have final say over all personnel decisions. It’s also believed that Fisher, not Snead, has been willing to take a chance on possible character risks; half of the team’s 10-man 2012 draft class already have gotten into trouble at the NFL level.
Still, Fisher didn’t make it through a full generation as head coach of the Oilers/Titans by accident. He may decide changes are needed after 2013 to keep him off the hot seat in 2014 or 2015.