In his eight NFL seasons, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson has played under five different head coaches.
Last week the Rams announced that Steven’s ninth season would be played under a sixth. But the man the Rams have chosen may finally bring the consistency to the organization that S-Jax has long coveted.
The Rams introduced Jeff Fisher, a man who held his last job for 17 seasons, as their head coach on Tuesday, and that has SJ39 as excited as he’s ever been.
“Now that I have confirmation that Jeff is going to be the guy, I’m very excited,” No. 39 said. “I’ve only heard good things about him. … Now I’m jumping for joy.”
Fisher was head coach of the Tennessee Titans for 17 years before being let go after the 2010 season. After taking the 2011 season off, Fisher is ready to dive back in with the Rams.
“There’s a really solid nucleus here,” he said. “My decision was very, very simple. It was based on a shared collective vision in restoring this franchise to a place of significance. It was that vision that made my decision very, very easy.”
Fisher’s arrival follows a whirlwind eight seasons of coaches since Steven was drafted by St. Louis back in 2004. Picked by Mike Martz, SJ played just 19 games under him before Martz was replaced by interim coach Joe Vitt in the midst of the 2005 season. After that season, Vitt was replaced by Scott Linehan, who lasted just two and a half seasons before he was let go in the middle of the 2008 season. Jim Haslett served as interim coach for the rest of that year, but was replaced for the 2009 season by Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo was let go at the conclusion of the 2011 season, paving the way for Fisher.
Steven said that another coaching search this offseason wasn’t something he looked forward to.
“Who’s going to be the next guy was something that I wasn’t spending my days pondering and wondering,” he said. “I think it’s become too redundant. Someone may go through one or two coaching changes through their whole career — this is now No. 4 for me going on my ninth season. Just the excitement of it all that goes into finding a new coach; I’ve kind of been there, done that.”
But once Fisher was a sure bet to take over, S-Jax raved about his new coach in an appearance on the NFL Network.
“I’m very excited. I’ve been through a number of head coaches. This is No. 6, including the interims, for me,” he said. “I think what Jeff brings is that he’s been a head coach and he has been successful in this league. The other coaches that I’ve had after Mike Martz were all successful at the time and trendy and hot, but Jeff brings stability, he brings credibility. He’s played in the league. He was 1-yard away from winning the Super Bowl.”
Stability and credibility were two reasons the Rams sought out Fisher this offseason. After a 2-14 season, St. Louis wanted someone with the experience to turn things around in a hurry. Steven believes Fisher is that man and he also thinks stability will be a great help to young Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
“Jeff is going to bring the credibility of how to handle a young star and groom him in a way that he will be successful and show his talents,” S-Jax said. “I talked with Sam, and he had a chance to meet with Jeff over the weekend in St. Louis. He was very personable and he liked what he saw. I think he’s as excited as I am.”
Steven met with his new coach late last week and came away from the meeting encouraged by the new outlook for the team and what it means for him. In 17 seasons as coach of the Titans, Fisher favored a run-first offense that included several dynamic seasons from running backs Eddie George and Chris Johnson, who broke the 2,000-yard barrier under Fisher in 2009. SJ looks forward to being a part of that kind of rushing success.
“I’m pretty sure he’s thinking along the lines of Eddie George when he thinks of coaching me and having me in his offense: downhill kind of guy. He’s going to put me in position where I can be at my best,” Steven said. “I think he’ll do a good job of utilizing the talents we have.”
- After endless coaching turnover, Jackson ready for Fisher era (NFL.com, January 13, 2012)
- Fisher introduced as Rams head coach (SI.com, January 17, 2012)
- Rams reel in a big catch in Fisher (Belleville News-Democrat, January 14, 2012)
- Jeff Fisher To St. Louis Rams Could Mean Good Things For RB Steven Jackson (SB Nation St. Louis, January 15, 2012)