Rams coach Jeff Fisher, to his credit, is a master of survival. This year, survival has required him to become a master of making excuses without making excuses.
He has said on multiple occasions after losses this year that he doesn’t make excuses, immediately before making excuses. On Tuesday, he once again said, essentially, that he doesn’t make excuses — and then offered up an excuse.
“I look at this as being my responsibility, the win-loss record,” Fisher told reporters, before deftly shifting responsibility. “We need to do a better job from a personnel standpoint. We’ve had some unfortunate things take place with some high picks in Stedman Bailey and Tre Mason and those kind of things you don’t anticipate. But we’re moving forward.”
Bailey, a third-round pick, saw his career end after he was shot twice in the head last year in Miami. Mason, another third-round pick, has seen his career evaporate in an apparent haze of mental illness.
But no team hits on every draft pick, high or other otherwise. Just like every other team deals, from time to time, with injuries or bad officiating or anything else that Fisher has cited in recent weeks as an excuse after saying he doesn’t make excuses. (The folks at TurfShowTimes.com have the full list.)
Tuesday seems to be the first time the non-excuse excuses have looked and felt like an effort to throw G.M. Les Snead under the bus, at least a little bit. Indeed, Fisher tried to create the impression that he didn’t know Snead has gotten a contract extension, too.
“I’m so busy here, I was honestly unaware that he was extended,” Fisher said. “I’m being honest with you. We’re just working here.”
The not-so-subtle message is that Fisher has no say whatsoever in who the G.M. is, which creates the impression Fisher doesn’t have higher standing in the organization than Snead. Which makes it seem as if Snead is equally if not more responsible for any personnel issues than Fisher.
Or, more accurately, that Fisher really isn’t responsible or, even more accurately, shouldn’t be held accountable. For personnel blunders, injuries, short weeks of preparation, travel, weather, the vagaries of coin flips, or pretty much anything else.