Being a Rams fan was a weird time in the 1990s. To put it in the terms of a television show that perfectly encapsulates the decade and is the show of record of my youth, “Saved By the Bell”; the 49ers were Zack. The Raiders were Slater. We were Screech. The 49ers had the Super Bowl titles and the best quarterback to ever play before Tom Brady. The Raiders had Ice Cube wearing their gear. As for the Rams; well I think I saw Jay Leno on the sidelines of a game once.
The last game I went to was October 2, 1994. The Rams lost 8-5 to the Falcons. I was one of roughly 20,000 people who witnessed Tommy Maddox playing quarterback for the Rams. Though, I won’t be too harsh on Tommy, he did deliver LA’s last pro football championship as the MVP of the XFL champion Los Angeles Xtreme. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a Rams fan in the 1990s, read here.
Phillips is known for his complex 3-4 defense while the Rams are best suited for a 4-3 scheme. The veteran said in an interview last year ahead of the Super Bowl that he’s willing to adapt his style to fit his players’ best traits — something he’ll have to do in L.A.
“We try to fit what the players can do in the defense rather than saying, ‘OK, we’re a 4-3 or we’re a two-gap 3-4,'” Phillips said per The Denver Post. “We’re a team where if a guy can stunt and rush the passer, we let him do that. If a guy is a power guy, we try to let him be that. It’s all what individual players can do.”
Jared Goff has innate talent, but you had to squint hard to see it this season. The rookie looked spooked in the pocket, missed multiple throws high or in the dirt each game, struggled to get through his progression consistently, and looked like a college quarterback tossed into an NFL fire with little help from coaches or surrounding players. Can the next coach salvage Goff?
The offensive line is a mess despite heavy investments. The defensive line doesn’t get consistent edge pressure when Robert Quinn is hurt. The secondary has pieces, but corners opposite Trumaine Johnson got torched for stretches this season. Johnson is also hitting the free-agent market after playing the season on the franchise tag.
Seattle’s ground game was a non-starter as the ‘Hawks finished the first half with 14 rushes for 14 yards. Thomas Rawls has the faith of this coaching staff, but was held to minus-seven yards on seven totes before leaving the game with a leg injury. Michael looked like the better runner — not hard to do today — heating up when allowed to roll as the unquestioned lead dog in the second half and cheap jerseys and plowing for nearly all of his 60 yards at 6.0 yards per rush over the final 30 minutes.
Bottom line: the Rams are in a tough place on offense. Opponents expect them to feed Todd Gurley from wire-to-wire and, therefore, stack the box appropriately. The Rams runner amassed just 15 yards in the first half before finishing with 51 yards on the day. After shredding the league for 141.5 yards per game at 6.4 yards per rush over his first four NFL starts, Gurley averaged just 66.4 yards at 3.9 yards per tote over the rest of 2015. So far this year, he’s sitting at 49 yards per outing at just 2.7 yards per attempt. CUT TO: Fantasy heads freaking out from east to west.
Demoff went on to say that the Rams losing eight of its last nine games ultimately “tipped” the decision to get rid of Fisher. In addition, when asked if general manager Les Snead could be in jeopardy, Demoff said “it would be a mistake to say anybody in the building would be back next year.”
The 58-year-old Fisher has been in charge of the club since 2012 and in that time compiled a 31-45-1 record with zero playoff appearances. He burned through a No. 1 overall pick at quarterback which he inherited (Sam Bradford) and selected Jared Goff with the top selection in this year’s draft.
Johnson struggled at times last season, allowing an 83.7 passer rating in coverage, which ranked 61st in the NFL. His interceptions dropped from seven in 2015 to just one last season, while Johnson allowed eight touchdowns, tied for eighth most in the league.
Still, the arrival of Phillips made this something of a no-brainer for the Rams. The longtime defensive aide historically gets the best out of his cornerbacks and likely made it clear to the front office that losing Johnson would have been an ugly beginning for the new coaching staff.