The Flat: Coach firings start with Jeff Fisher

UPDATE: Gus Bradley. Rex Ryan. John Fox. Mike McCoy. Todd Bowles. Jeff Fisher. Chuck Pagano. Marvin Lewis. Sean Payton. 

Those nine names of NFL head coaches is the running list I had in mind to be fired either sometime throughout the season or on Black Monday — the day after the regular seasons ends; in that order too, from left to right.

Somehow Gus Bradley has survived his way to Week 15. Rex Ryan is out of a job come that fateful Monday. And if the Jets keep performing the way they have been, Todd Bowles is going to coach himself out of a job after just two seasons in the Meadowlands, but he’s probably going to be given one more season. Everyone else is based on how their respective teams finish in the final three weeks. Fox is likely gone and McCoy is 50/50. Pagano, Lewis and Payton are all safe.

The one guy who I kept thinking should be fired after five uneventful seasons is now former Rams head coach, Jeff Fisher. My opinion was the organization should let him go, but the hand they showed was, “We don’t really care all that much about our team right now. We’re more concerned about the future.” A bold mind-set to have in such an instant gratification world in which we live. They seemed to be willing to continue down such an ill-fated path when they gave Fisher a two-year contract extension. However, just when you think you know something you don’t, the Rams then abruptly fire him.

There was a tweet I read, which I wish I saved the link to, that said signing a coach and then getting rid of him in such a short breadth shows just how dysfunctional the Rams are. The team is an outright mess. They started Case Keenum for far too long. Todd Gurley has stepped backwards. Aaron Donald is an elite defender when he wants to be on the defensive line. (Side note: the latter two were rookies of the year in 2014 and 2015, respectively.)

Another thing, when the best player on your team is the punter, in this case John Hekker, you need to start making changes and building fast.

I mean read what The MMQB‘s Albert Breer wrote on Monday in his post It Was Inevitable: The Rams Fire Jeff Fisher following the news of the firing, it tells you everything you need to know:

It was explained by one person that Fisher and [GM Les] Snead had to prove they could work together and facilitate a healthy environment inside the building. Another said the Rams had to show they weren’t—and this is the term he used—a “clown show”. The collapse following a 3-1 start was bad enough. The ominous feel inside “Rams Junior High” was worse.

The man whose face was plastered all over Southern California this spring and summer as the team returned to L.A.—Todd Gurley—went in on the whole operation.

First he called the offense “middle school”, which seemed like no coincidence given the existing storyline. Then Gurley added, “We’re just going through the motions. It looks like everybody’s just playing to get through.”

So the clown show on the field had given way to a star player conceding that those drawing paychecks from Stan Kroenke were all just, sort of, doing their own thing. It was time to draw up the divorce papers.

Breer was right. Being called a “clown show” and “Rams Junior High” and arguably the face of your franchise makes the comments that he did. Changes had to be made, and for the Rams’s sake, both fans and team alike, thankfully.


Why I Hate Thursday Night Football (Richard Sherman, The Player’s Tribune)

This is the second time I’ve shared a post Seahawks’s CB, Richard Sherman, has written for The Player’s Tribune.

He, like I wrote just last week about his teammate WR Doug Baldwin, is one of the most outspoken, eloquent and smart players in the NFL. When Sherman speaks, the league should listen. We may agree or disagree, but it’s healthy to try to understand where players are coming from and vice-versa. In his writing, he lays out what a week in the life of a football player is like, especially when it comes to preparing for Thursday Night Football.

I may write next week’s The Flat on this or put together a seperate post on it entirely, but I want to expand on the topic.

For now, listen more about it from Ross Tucker, a former NLF OL-man, who was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show this week:

I’m going to say it again: I. Like. This. Kid. Are there players who are cocky you-know-whats and are the best at their given position? Of course. To me, if I were a coach, I’d want to build my team around a bunch of Lamar Jacksons instead. It sets a precedent in the culture of a program or organization.

What a humble, family-minded, team-oriented and religious young man who deserves the Heismann Trophy as much for his performance as he does for how he is as a person.

Well, well, well-deserved. Congrats, Mr. Jackson.

It’s always a fun listen when it comes to Coach Steve Mariucci talking football.


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