posted on January 02, 2013 00:00
Happy 2013 everyone. Here's a true a story about Jeff Fisher.
Fisher took over for Jack Pardee as the head coach of the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) in the middle of November of the 1994 season. The following season, the Oilers retained Fisher and Houston improved from 2-14 in 1994 to 7-9 in 1995.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
The Rams were 2-14 last season. With Fisher in 2012, the club improved to 7-8-1.
You know what else is weird? The Rams record backwards spells out the police code for murder.
Just for the record, Fisher's record with the 1994 squad was 1-5 in the final six games of the season. This isn't surprising when you consider passing luminaries Billie Joe Tolliver, Bucky Richardson and Cody Carlson were the team's quarterbacks.
LET'S HOPE HISTORY DOESN'T REPEAT ITSELF BEYOND FIRST SEASONS
The Oilers under Jeff Fisher followed up their 7-9 campaign in 1995 with a record of 8-8 in 1996, '97 and '98. The team achieved the AFC Championship in 1999 following a 13-3 regular season. This was the first year for the team as the Tennessee Titans. The Titans of course, lost Super Bowl XXXIV (34) to the St. Louis Rams.
Call me crazy, but we've been subjected to so much losing around here that the thought of three straight 8-8 seasons isn't a healthy one. Obviously the Rams have greater goals than a .500 record through 2015.
For a little context, here's how Fisher's offense and defense stacked up in scoring with the Oilers, beginning with year one in 1995.
15th in scoring offense (21.8 ppg)
7th in scoring defense (20.2 ppg)
10th in scoring offense (21.6 ppg)
16th in scoring defense (19.9 ppg)
14th in scoring offense (20.8 ppg)
12th in scoring defense (19.4 ppg)
13th in scoring offense (20.6 ppg)
12th in scoring defense (20.0 ppg)
It should be noted that the team's offense jumped to 7th in scoring in 1999 while the defense heald steady at 15th overall.
The Rams under Fisher in 2012 finished 25th in scoring offense (18.7 ppg) and 14th in scoring defense (21.8 ppg).
So if there's anything to be taken from this, it's that history says the Rams defense won't ever slip below the middle of the pack. The Rams defense will continue to force sacks and turnovers as well. Fisher was defensive coordinator on those scary Eagles' defenses of the early 90s that featured the likes of Reggie White, Jerome Brown and Seth Joyner. The track record was reinforced with the 2012 performance on the defensive side of the ball.
This is a good thing and a reason for optimism. Fix the offense next year and 7-8-1 could turn into 10-6.
TEAM HAS FAITH AND A FRIEND IN FISHER
The Rams are a connected, focused bunch. Here are some great comments from the players about Jeff Fisher, courtesy of Uncle Bernie.
Sam Bradford: “Coach Fisher is awesome. I’m not sure I’ve ever played for a coach like Coach Fisher. Everything he does, I love about him. And I look forward to many more years with him.”
Steven Jackson: “Coach Fisher has done a great job. Mr. (Stan) Kroenke, that was an excellent hire. He nailed that one. He got it right with Coach Fisher. I’m very excited by what the coach is building here. His coaching staff is very credible. They’ve done a good job of getting us prepared week in and week out.”
Chris Long: “Coach Fish brought people in here that we need to win the division. We’ll bring in more of them and get even better.”
James Laurinaitis: “Absolutely, we have a chance to build something special. Coach Fisher made a tremendous difference. To see how fast we gelled together, and to see how quickly he changed the culture here, in less than one full calendar year -- it’s been amazing.”
Let's hope the offense makes great leaps and strides in 2013. If that happens, we'll be talking playoffs.
Unless the team leads the league in penalties again. Damn penalties.