Fisher Finds the Silver Lining

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Myles Simmons analyzes Coach Fishers day-after press conference following the Rams 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Rams may have dropped their first preseason contest of the season to the Saints 26-24, but they were able to get in some productive work to set up the remainder of the preseason. Here are some highlights from head coach Jeff Fisher’s Saturday press conference that wrap up the week.
-- Fisher said that though 18 Rams did not play in Friday’s contest, about 15 of them should be on the field against Green Bay next week -- including quarterback Sam Bradford. The head coach said he hasn’t settled on how much Sam will play, but he’ll get game reps.
--Two positives Fisher took away from the game were the turnovers and the offense’s balanced attack. The Rams did not turn the ball over at all in their first preseason contest, and were able to get two takeaways with Chris Long and Johnny Millard’s interceptions.
“There were some good things, some good efforts, some good plays, no turnovers,” Fisher said. “We capitalized on some turnovers right of the bat. We ended up with balance.”
For play distribution, St. Louis ran it 32 times, and had 34 passing plays to create that balance.
-- On the other hand, Fisher was disappointed in the amount of flags. He said youth played a factor in the 14 penalties the Rams had called on them.
“When you have nine starters that don’t play for whatever reason, you end up playing a lot of players earlier in the ball game,” Fisher said. “And when that happens, some of the inexperience translates into penalties -- and we had way too many penalties.”
Of the 14, Fisher said eight were called on the offense, three on defense, and three on special teams. The Saints also had 10 penalties, making for a combined 24 penalties in the game for 222 yards.
-- Both 2014 first-round picks received some praise and criticism from Fisher on Saturday. The head coach said offensive lineman Greg Robinson had a communication error early that led to a sack, but added that Robinson held his own at two positions (left guard and left tackle).
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald also had a good performance in around 35 snaps, according to Fisher. The head coach said Donald did get tired, but certainly flashed his potential.
“Flashed, made some plays, penetrated, got in the backfield,” Fisher said of Donald’s performance. “The ball was coming out quick. That was their plan. Different situations he’s probably got a couple hurries, possibly a sack.”
--Veteran defensive end Chris Long mentioned after last night’s game that stopping the run game was something the Rams would have to work on. Fisher echoed that sentiment on Saturday, though he added that some of those runs came when the Rams were working on passing situations.
“We really didn’t load up, stop the run or pressure to do things,” Fisher said. “We got caught in a few pass stunts, which created some seams in the defense, which obviously in a normal game situation you don’t think those will happen.”
--At backup defensive end, Fisher said he saw good things from both Michael Sam and Ethan Westbrooks.
“Played with effort, made some mistakes,” Fisher said of Sam’s performance. “I would expect him to play much better this week after he gets whatever it is behind him like the rest of the rookie class.”
-- After missing only two field goal attempts all of last season, kicker Greg Zeurlein missed a pair in Friday’s contest. So, what gives? Well, Fisher said part of it had to do with who’s snapping the ball.
The Rams’ first-team long snapper is Jake McQuaide, but when Zeurlein missed those attempts, backup long snapper Jorgen Hus was in the game.

Acording to Fisher, Hus “has not worked a lot with [holder] Johnny Hekker and Greg Zuerlein thus far in camp and there’s a difference between his ball and Jake’s ball. … There’s a fine line. You’ve got your backup snapper and the ball appears to be a decent snap but the ball is different, the laces are different and the whole routine’s different on the kick.”
Fisher said Hekker and Zuerlein will continue to work with Hus in order to get everything on the right track.
-- Finally, for the first time this season, all officials on the field can communicate at the same time through headsets. Fisher said he liked the convenience of the new system.
“I thought the enforcement part of it was excellent. It’s nice because I can walk up to a wing official and grab his mic and say, ‘Carl, get your (butt) over here,’” Fisher said with a laugh.