Can Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher Develop A Quarterback?

January 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) looks for a receiver during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
January 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) looks for a receiver during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi /

Its been said over and over, and it will continue to be said. The Los Angeles Rams are in need of a quarterback. While Jeff Fisher thought he had his answer in Sam Bradford, due to back to back torn ACL’s the team traded him away for Nick Foles. The Foles trade turned into a disaster as the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback ended up being benched halfway through the year.

As much as Fisher may not want to admit it as Case Keenum was a couple of plays away from being 5-0, he is not the answer at quarterback. In order for this team to take the next step, they must find their quarterback of the future whether that be in free agency or the draft.

The common agreement is that the Rams should explore their options in the draft whether that be Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff. With two second round picks, the Rams have the ammunition to move up and get one of those guys if need be. This could definitely become a scenario if Wentz makes it past the Browns at two.

The problem with drafting a quarterback is, especially in this draft, that quarterback would need developed. With the need at quarterback can Jeff Fisher even develop one? Since Steve McNair with the Tennessee Titans, he hasn’t found someone to quarterback his team and actually progress.

A great example of this is Vince Young. Young was awarded the NFL Rookie of the Year honors for 2006, yet, it has always been said, that because of Fisher, the former Texas star was no longer a starter by the 2008 season and was off the team after the 2010 season.

This was a quarterback that had star potential, yet, after his incredible rookie season in which he had a record of 8–5 as a starter and four of those wins were fourth quarter comebacks. Young was an incredible athlete that essentially Fisher wasted.

Instead Fisher preferred the more controllable and more predictable Kerry Collins who had already played in a Super Bowl with the New York Giants and was nearing the end of his career. There was no developing to be done with Collins, he was a quarterback in his mid-30’s that had signed on the team to be a backup.

Granted, Fisher had success with Collins going 13-3, losing in the divisional round of the playoffs. Collins was nothing special, but he was a prototypical Jeff Fisher quarterback. Someone he probably hoped Nick Foles would be.

Now moving to Los Angeles, formerly St. Louis with the Rams, the same thing could be said. He did run into some bad luck with Sam Bradford, but even still, the only quarterback Fisher drafted was Garrett Gilbert in the sixth round.

The Rams had opportunities to draft decent quarterbacks sooner. They traded away the chance to draft RGIII, they could have drafted Brock Osweiler instead of Isaiah Pead, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, AJ McCarron, the list goes on as to how many non-first round quarterbacks the Rams could have drafted.

Instead we had to suffer through Kellen Clemens, Shaun Hill, and Austin Davis when we could have seen a young drafted quarterback possibly take the reigns of the franchise and run with it.

Gilbert, drafted in the 6th round, wasn’t on the team later that year, and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. The jury is yet to be decided on Sean Mannion, drafted in the third round, but given Fisher’s history and Mannion’s scouting report suggesting he is Matt Schlub 2.0, he is going to need to be developed. He has similar characteristics to Nick Foles and he wasn’t a first round pick for a reason. In fact, while he was drafted in the third round, he wasn’t projected to be drafted until the 5th or 6th.

After the Bradford experiment ended, Fisher traded for Foles who was going to be the new quarterback of the future and was entering just his fourth year in the league. Snead and Fisher had so much confidence in him that they went as far as extending the newly acquired quarterback. The 26 year old quarterback went from looking like a serviceable starting quarterback to the worst quarterback in the league.

Taking away his ridiculous 2013 season, in Foles’ 15 other gams as a starter he threw for 3,835 yards, 19 touchdowns with 15 interceptions, completed 60.3% of his passes, and on top of that had a 80.3 quarterback rating.

With the Rams, Foles had 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns with ten interceptions, completed just 56.4% of his passes, and had a quarterback rating of 69. That’s a significant drop in production. Is it Fisher’s offense, did the league figure out Foles? In the end, it may have been a little bit of both.

At some point we have to look at Jeff Fisher and wonder how this coach who has been mediocre, average at best throughout his career, continues to keep a job and have the faith of organizations. The Rams need a quarterback more than ever, and to be honest, there isn’t a lot of hope that Fisher will be able to give us one especially when he has already named Keenum next year’s starter.