Reassessing Jeff Fisher and Les Snead’s Impact

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May 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (left) talks with general manager Les Snead during rookie minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams 2011 season was a forgettable one, but also a one of great importance. I apologize in advance to fellow Rams fans for bringing up the dark ages here. Following a 2-14 record, coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney were fired after three seasons, ushering in the Fisher-Snead era we are in today. As Fisher and Snead enter their fourth season at the helm, lets compare the first three years of both regimes and measure the impact the current one has had.

Billy Devaney was hired as the Rams GM in December of 2008 and made his first big hire, to much fanfare, when he appointed Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo head coach in January 2009. In their first season the Rams posted a putrid 1-15 record, the worst in franchise history, and released longtime QB Marc Bulger. When the 2010 NFL Draft came around, Spagnuolo and Devaney drafted their replacement and franchise QB Sam Bradford.

Aug 24, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) passes the ball during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In Bradford’s first season, the Rams went 7-9 and narrowly missed out on a division title, surprisingly losing to a Charlie Whitehurst-led Seahawks in a tiebreaker game for the NFC West title. Despite the loss, things were looking up for a franchise trying to break out of a rut.

Their rookie QB was what they had hoped and Spagnuolo seemed to be improving after just two years. Then the monkey found its way on their back once more. The 2011 season proved to be a disaster. The Rams limped to a 2-14 record with a high ankle sprain sidelining Bradford a majority of the season.

After compiling a 10-38 record in three years, Devaney and Spagnuolo were promptly fired. In their defense, they played the 2011 season with the league’s hardest schedule and had 17 players placed on injured reserve. However they dug their own grave in the draft and with poor roster composition.

Over the course of three draft’s, Devaney and Spagnuolo whiffed on a majority of picks, but hindsight is always 20-20. Currently there are just five players from that regime still on the roster (Laurinaitis, Saffold, Sims, Quinn, Kendricks). Of their last draft class from 2011, only three of the eight picks remain in the NFL.

A similar story can be told of the whole 2011 roster in general. Of the 53 active members on the roster plus the 17 on IR, 28 of them were out of the league (not including retirement) or without a team by the end of 2012. That is almost half the roster folks! It shows just how devoid of talent the team was.

By the way, whats Billy Devaney up to? The answer is not much. Since his stint as GM, Devaney has not held a job with any other NFL franchise. How about Spags? Well he hasn’t been offered another head coaching position and after unsuccessful defense coordinator stints has since returned to where the grass was greener for him: the Giants.

This brings us to the Fisher-Snead era.