The Rams, if anything, are consistently inconsistent


The St. Louis Rams came crashing back to earth on Sunday with their 24-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. After beating the odds in Week 1 and overcoming Seattle in overtime the Rams got a full serving of humble pie in Week 2, and the never ending roller coaster ride continues for fans and players alike. If the Rams have proven to be anything in the last few years it’s been inconsistent.

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Since head coach Jeff Fisher joined St. Louis in 2012 the team has never finished bette then 7-8-1, a record they achieved in his first year. The team has never finished above .500 in his tenure and have dropped their win total in each consecutive year. Fisher was supposed to be the beacon of hope when he arrived bringing his experience and time-tested practices to St. Louis. Unfortunately, he has been anything but.

Most optimists pointed to his success in Tennessee as a barometer for what could be in St. Louis. There’s just one problem with that. Fisher wasn’t all that good of a coach in his time with Houston/Tennessee. Fisher accumulated six winning seasons in 17 years as a head coach outside of St. Louis. 17 years is nothing to scoff at, and yes, those six winning seasons brought him postseason births including a Super Bowl appearance, but overall the numbers speak for themselves.

Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (L) shakes hands with Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden (R) after their game at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Many have been quick to point fingers at players and former coaches, but is it possible the answer to the Rams woes has been in front of us this whole time. Players like Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Isaiah Pead and Chris Givens, all taken in the first four rounds of the draft by Fisher and company haven’t panned out. Former Ram, and former number one overall pick Sam Bradford, who was in place prior to Fisher’s arrival, never lived up to expectations. And former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer played it safe too often leading to a conservative offense. We’ve heard it all but the underlying factor in it all is Fisher.

Fisher publicly put his chips in Bradford’s corner. Bradford couldn’t produce the results. You can make the argument that he couldn’t stay healthy, or that played in an offensive scheme that didn’t fit his style, but that was the risk the Rams took when they kept him on board for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Injuries are part of the game, we can’t use them to make excuse for players that never lived up to potential.

Brian Schottenheimer also received the support of Fisher in a time when the head coach should have been critical of his offensive scheme. Players like Austin, Quick, Pead and others suffered through a system that clearly wasn’t the right fit for a team desperate for a shot of adrenaline.

Call Schottenheimer’s system what you want, simple/vanilla/void of impact plays, it only acted as a catalyst in helping a bad system become worse. Again, blame also falls on players for inability to perform, but chances are they weren’t utilized properly only masking that inability further.

When a franchise and fans make excuses for poor play and unkept promises they only delay the inevitable. The Rams have suffered in recent years because of poor leadership combined with underachieving players in key positions. Those players were given a free ride because fingers were being pointed in other places, but in reality they just weren’t that good. Now as the outlying dominoes fall, those underachieving players are being exposed for what they truly are.

Sep 3, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (left) and St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (right) shake hands after the game at the Edward Jones Dome. The Kansas City Chiefs defeat the St. Louis Rams 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Now, as the St. Louis franchise reaches critical mass the team must make a decision. Do they continue down the path destined for mediocrity, or do they finally say enough is enough and buck the trend. Jeff Fisher has provided nothing but mediocrity, but has shown flashes of brilliance in the past. He needs to recreate that brilliance in any way necessary or St. Louis is destined to reside in NFL purgatory for another year and he will be searching for a job come the end of it all.

We can sit here and say “but it’s only Week 2,” and we can also say the Rams have started every year under Fisher with a sub .500 record through the first five weeks of the season. St. Louis lived up to every bit of their reputation this past week and let a lesser team walk all over after playing the previous week like a playoff team. They will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 followed by road trips to Arizona and Green Bay. Without a serious effort the Rams could be 1-4 and on course for another lost season in the blink of an eye.