- Rams coach Jeff Fisher just wrapped up his usual Monday news conference, hitting on a variety of topics on this chilly Christmas Eve. Below are Fisher’s thoughts on a multitude of items.
– First, Fisher said the team got out of the game with no serious injury issues. It remains to be seen whether CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh) will be back up to full speed this week or not but he seems to be the only question mark heading into next week’s game at Seattle.
– Fisher was pleased with how hard his team played in its 28-13 win against Tampa Bay on Sunday. He cited the turnovers for the defense, the job of the offense finishing drives with touchdowns and the work by the special teams, particularly the punt team, as keys to the victory.
– Fisher said P Johnny Hekker punted particularly well and did an excellent job of punting directionally.
– Asked whether he thought CB Janoris Jenkins had a shot to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, Fisher said he thought Jenkins had at least earned “a mention.”
– On Jenkins, Fisher again emphasized that the young corner is playing at a more consistent level from week to week and that’s been a positive sign of progress for the young cover man.
– The Rams have scored touchdowns on seven of their past eight possession in the red zone, another sign of progress from the offense. Fisher credits the improvement to an ability to be balanced inside the 20 as well as the ability to run the ball down in tight there. That not only works for things like RB Steven Jackson’s touchdown run but then opens up play action opportunities for touchdowns like WR Austin Pettis’ against the Bucs.
– Fisher was proud of TE Lance Kendricks for finishing his 80-yard touchdown run and despite taking jokes from his teammates about running out of steam, Fisher was impressed that Kendricks went right back into the game on the team’s next possession.
– After watching the game tape, Fisher was pleased with how the timeshare at right guard with Shelley Smith and Chris Williams went. He indicated that could be the method again this week against the Seahawks.
– One play in Sunday’s game that flew under the radar: following WR Danny Amendola’s early fumble, recovered by LB Leon Johnson, Rams RT Barry Richardson tracked him down and forced a fumble that G Rob Turner fell on to regain possession for the Rams. It was overlooked because the Rams opened a big lead but the Bucs might have been able to jump to a two-score lead were it not for Richardson’s hustle.
– On the win itself and the position the Rams now hold for the season, Fisher refuses to acknowledge satisfaction. That’s not to say progress hasn’t been made. He wants to see how his team will do in Seattle this weekend but either way he has seen steps forward. He did say that the “front page” for his team this year still has no playoff berth which is not what he and his team set out to do.
– Fisher was again asked about how team has been able to maintain a consistent level of effort and he again expressed some surprise about the question. That’s a baseline requirement and Fisher said something he expects of his team. He’s been pleased with that all season.
– This week’s game against the Seahawks will be a huge challenge, according to Fisher. He even went so far as to call it the toughest challenge his team has seen yet. That makes sense considering how well Seattle is playing right now combined with the Seahawks’ absurd homefield advantage. He believe the game is a referendum on the Rams’ season but he’s clearly intrigued to see how his team plays and reacts to the circumstances.
– While RB Steven Jackson is just 10 yards shy of reaching 1,000 rushing yards for the eighth consecutive season, it seems like a near foregone conclusion he’ll get there against the Seahawks. But Fisher said it still needs to get done and expects that to be a motivating factor for Seattle’s defense this week.
– A win in the Seattle game would allow the Rams to finish at 5-0-1 in the NFC West Division. An undefeated season in the division is a huge accomplishment any time but in this era with such a strong division now residing in the West, it would be a big feather in the Rams’ cap. Likewise, Fisher believes that you build your team to compete in the division first and foremost and of all the things his team could achieve this year perhaps that would bode best for the Rams moving forward.
– Fisher wrapped up the news conference by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I’ll take my cue from him and do the same. Merry Christmas to all of you and, as always, thanks for reading.
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