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Fisher Excited for Opportunity

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
    http://www.stlouisrams.com/news-and-eve ... a2482c4a51

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    Despite what may have been written, said or blogged about Jeff Fisher’s coaching destination in the past two weeks, he made it very clear Tuesday that his choice wasn’t as difficult as it was made out to be.

    “My decision was very, very simple,” Fisher said. “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.”

    That decision became official Tuesday afternoon, as the Rams formally introduced Fisher as the 26th head coach in franchise history. He signed a five-year contract with the team just before the news conference introducing him as the new coach.

    From the perspective of Rams owner Stan Kroenke as well as chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, Fisher was pretty clearly the top candidate for the job the moment the team parted ways with Steve Spagnuolo on Jan. 3.

    Kroenke, who also has owned stakes in the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche as well as the English soccer club Arsenal, has long made it a point to put trusted, experienced coaches in place and then give them the resources needed to do their job.

    Fisher fit the bill of exactly what he was looking for.

    “I have been here in St. Louis working on sports for 20 years,” Kroenke said. “Over that time, we’ve kind of come to some conclusions, some lessons were harder to learn than others, but we developed a model that we have a lot of confidence in. And at its center is an experienced, confident head coach who has been, as we say in a lot of different situations has dealt with and seen most things that the world can throw at him in the world of sports. Jeff was absolutely what we were looking for - I told him that early on.”

    Upon sitting down with Kroenke and Demoff, it was clear that Fisher’s vision was in lockstep with the vision of Kroenke, Demoff and the entire Rams organization.

    “The time was now for a bold statement about the future of this organization and to deliver a winner to our fans,” Demoff said.

    After a two-week process in which the Rams and Miami courted Fisher extensively, Fisher wanted to take a little time to evaluate all of the non-economic factors that would allow him to best execute his vision.

    Kroenke let Fisher know how much the Rams wanted him to lead the Rams and, eventually, Fisher decided that the Rams were the best fit for him.

    In accepting the job, Fisher said Tuesday that Kroenke’s presence and transparency with him early in the process was one of the biggest factors in his opting for the Rams over the Dolphins. Having a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford in place was also an important element.

    “It’s his philosophy,” Fisher said. “I think you can see it through the Nuggets. You can see it through the Avalanche. His philosophy is to put a winning product year after year after year out there. That’s obviously very attractive to me. It’s about doing whatever it takes and have a unique interest in everything you do. Even though he’s not here every day, he knows what’s going on on a day-to-day basis and that was very important to me.”

    The opportunity to which Fisher is referring is the chance to turn around a franchise that has had just 10 wins in the past three season and 15 in the past five.

    Turning a team around will be no strange task for Fisher, though. In nearly 17 full seasons as head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Fisher went through nearly every up and every down you can have in the league.

    Along the way, Fisher’s teams posted a 142-120 record including four 12-win seasons and an AFC championship that included a narrow loss in Super Bowl XXXIV to the very team he’s taking over.

    Eventually, though, Fisher grew wary of his position with the Titans and opted to take a year away from the game. He sat out the 2010 season, spending time outdoors in Montana and with the occasional golf game.

    Never did it occur to Fisher that he might not come back to coaching, though.

    “Well I intended on getting back into coaching when I stepped away,” Fisher said. “I love this game, I love the competitive aspects of this game and I was really looking forward to an opportunity of doing it someplace else and having an opportunity to carry our philosophy forward with a new organization.”

    Fisher also made it a point to keep up with league happenings as much as possible. He’s spent many years working on the NFL’s Competition Committee and continued to do some work toward that end.

    In stepping away from coaching, Fisher missed a strange season spurred by a lengthy lockout. That allowed him some time to gain perspective and look at things from a different angle as he returns to a game and a league that’s ever-evolving.

    “We all had our opinions on what was going to happen, but I was able to yes, reflect back on different situations, circumstances,” Fisher said. “What would you do different had this come up again?’ Yes, it was extremely valuable time for me.”

    But the time away from the game has come to a quick ending and Fisher will join with Demoff now to handle the next set of pressing needs for the organization.

    Namely, Fisher will begin piecing together a coaching staff, a task that could potentially keep him from traveling to Mobile, Alabama for next week’s Senior Bowl festivities.

    No other coaches have been added to the staff yet but it’s expected that some of Fisher’s closest confidants in the game such as Gregg Williams and Dave McGinnis could come on board as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in the coming weeks.

    “I’ll just say this, my efforts right now are to put the best possible coaching staff I can put together as we move forward with this football team,” Fisher said. “Kevin and I will collectively, along with Stan’s approval, work to fill those other areas if need be, so it’s a process that’s probably not going to get done right away. I have over the years found that patience as far as hiring coaches is better than haste. I’ve been able to hire coaches over the years, good coaches, taking my time. There’s no timetable here. What we’ll do together is we’ll keep you informed as we move through the process.”

    Fisher will also join Demoff in the process of identifying the team’s next general manager. The Rams have already interviewed a trio of candidates including Atlanta’s Les Snead, Tennessee’s Lake Dawson and Philadelphia’s Ryan Grigson, who has since taken the same post in Indianapolis.

    It’s expected that the Rams could make a move on filling that position sooner than later as well.

    “Kevin and I have talked about that,” Fisher said. “He’s got a good start already. Again, we got focused on our process now, and now that we’re able to put that behind us, we’ll start on the next.”

    With one very important process out of the way, Fisher and Co. will hit the ground running on the next piece in getting the Rams back to the glory days, a process Fisher acknowledges can take some time but also one he’s seen first hand.

    In 1991, Fisher was the defensive coordinator for a 3-13 Rams team that was at a certain low point. Almost nine years later, he was the head coach of the opponent when the Rams reached the mountaintop.

    To be on the other side of it now has a certain sort of poetry to it but the irony of the chance to win a Super Bowl with the team that denied him his only Super Bowl opportunity is not lost on Fisher.

    “I’m just going to find a way, some way, somehow, to get one more yard I guess,” Fisher said.
     
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