(Photo by KansasCity.com)
I am sure that enough of you are looking at the headline and wondering why I bring up one incompetent head coach (Jeff Fisher) when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Nick Foles is set to face another incompetent head coach (Gus Bradley) this weekend. I am even more sure that a fair number of you might be looking at the headline and laughing with reactions like “Ha ha ha, Nick Foles sucks! You’re an idiot!” or “The Chiefs played the [Indianapolis] Colts last weekend. They blow! Who are you, Ryan Grigson’s BFF?”
It is comical considering that you can say similar things about the Los Angeles Rams’ personnel strategy as they stink at drafting offensive personnel and bankrupted their future for a quarterback (Jared Goff) that is not even good enough to play for a 3-4 team.
You could also do the same with the coaching staff as its leader (Fisher) was rewarded for failing and his “Give it to Todd [Gurley]” offense is backfiring on him. The franchise running back that was supposed to emerge in his second year is underperforming with a decrease in yards per carry by 1.8 (4.8 yards per carry in 2015). Consequently, quarterback Case Keenum has to do more than just save the rookie as he was forced to throw fifty-three passes but coughed up four interceptions against the New York Giants in London.
This is going to happen when your Buddy Ryan-worshiping, media-hyped coaching myth wants to run an offense based on his vision. Tragically, based on the resumes of past Rams offensive coordinators Brian Schottenheimer, Frank Cignetti, and Rob Boras, who ever knew that Fisher could see anything.
We do not need to remember anything about Schottenheimer knowing that Rex Ryan is viewed as offensively inept but even fired him right before Fisher hired him in 2012. On the flipside, if you learn anything about his successors, Cignetti and Boras, their resumes would make you want Dr. Conrad Murray to practice medicine again so that you can have all the Propofol you want.
As the offensive coordinator at four different colleges (Rutgers (2011), Pittsburgh (2009–2010), California (2008), and North Carolina (2006)), Cignetti did his best Mike Leach impersonation by having his teams score 27.2 points per game and rank at an average spot of 55.6 out of 120 NCAA teams. At the same position, Boras embarrassed even more by guiding UNLV to average 23.8 points and place at a mean rank of 77.7 out of 117 teams from 2001 through 2003. To top it all off, neither coached at BCS schools or were ever recruited to be coordinators outside of the Rams organization.
Of course, it is wrong to absolve Foles and Keenum from their high interception totals in 2015 and 2016. However, when the Rams have been rightfully criticized for having no offensive system but a bunch of plays without a game plan, and quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Foles have had success after and before being Rams signal callers respectively, Fisher has run out of more excuses than Gurley has running room between tackles.
Of course, it is not correct to absolve Foles or Keenum for their interception totals in 2015 and 2016, and Bradford did deserve criticism for his past play in St. Louis. But when players like Bradford and Foles have respectively found success after and before playing for the Rams, Fisher has run out of more excuses than Gurley has room in the open field.
Bradford’s statistics and play in Philadelphia and Minnesota have shown that he has been better without any of Fisher’s coaches, and even preceding his career campaign under Chip Kelly, Foles found success under Andy Reid.
As a rookie in 2012, with an offensive line that lost Jason Peters and led the NFL in quarterback hits (118), no weapons like DeSean Jackson, or a healthy LeSean McCoy, Foles threw for six touchdowns versus five interceptions in seven games and accumulated a passer rating of 79.1. Not bad for a rookie that had little talent around him after being picked near the fourth round.
Frankly, to forget about all of this is inexcusable, especially with Reid’s enviable track record with quarterbacks that played at least five games or more in a regular season: Donovan McNabb, AJ Feely, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, and Alex Smith. McNabb, Vick, and Smith had all been to Pro Bowls under Reid, and such a success has never been achieved with Bill Belichick.
Now what Foles will be going up against is a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that is excessively overrated due to the blind praise of their recent draft picks: Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, and Myles Jack. They have sacked quarterbacks just 13.0 times in seven games and have allowed quarterbacks a passer rating of 94.2 (20th in the NFL).
However, with them being 5th in yards per attempt (6.6) but tied for 5th in completion percentage (66.7 percent), it will not hurt the Chiefs to attack the Jaguars with a short passing game. Running back Charcandrick West can be designated as the first or second player in team receptions while wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce can catch balls in the following high-percentage routes: In, Out, Quick-Out, Slant, and Crossing. Finally, just to be sneaky for a secure lead, they should have plays of 20 yards or more for the newly emerging rookie out of West Alabama, Tyreek Hill.
As far as the Rams are concerned, they are going up against a Carolina Panthers defense that matches Jacksonville in completion percentage but allows more yards per game (286.9) and a greater passer rating (102.6). Except, with its league-leading 3.3 yards per carry allowed versus Gurley’s 3.0, it may mean another high-volume, high-risk passing game for Keenum. In four games where he has been asked to throw for over thirty times, he has thrown nine interceptions, and with those wanting Goff on the field, they might as well put up with Keenum. With Fisher having failed Bradford and Foles and cannot coach or scheme Tavon Austin to be better than Cole Beasley, it is time to write the offense off. Remember, when merit comes last while failure is rewarded, you will not go anywhere until you evaluate with honesty and competency and hire those that are the opposite of Fisher and his men, the right people. Since 2014, Fisher has been the wrong guy for the head coaching position and there is not much to say about his staffers that no one else hired.