The firing of Jeff Fisher was overdue.
Strange, though, that the Los Angeles Rams would fire him before Thursday’s game against the Seahawks since he’d still have a job if he coached against every other team as successfully as he did against Seattle.
Fisher’s Rams won the last three in a row against the Hawks, and four of the past five.
Special teams coach Jim Fassel will serve in the interim, and he’s an interesting guy with a great attitude. He gave the most genial and entertaining opposing-coach teleconference of the year on Tuesday.
But he’s not going to be what the Rams need in the long run.
The moving on from the middling Fisher was inevitable.
The Rams have made huge investments in the move to Los Angeles, and they’re looking for a sure-fire head coach to make them worthy of the new stadium and massive
So the logical first question has to be just how committed will they be in the attempt to pry Pete Carroll away from the Seahawks?
Owner Stan Kroenke wanted the Rams out of St. Louis and into Los Angeles. And it was so. That’s how really, really rich guys work. What if he wants Carroll with equal passion?
Carroll is under a lucrative contract and seemingly very happy in Seattle with the Seahawks. He told L.A. reporters on Tuesday that he has no interest in the Rams’ job.
I would buy that entirely. Well, up to about, oh, 95 percent. It would be expensive to dislodge him, but he genuinely loved L.A. and L.A. genuinely loved him back.
At 65, he might not want to take on another extensive rebuild. Except that Carroll doesn’t think of himself as aging, and never shied away from what he saw as a major challenge.
I believe that his best chance to get into the Hall of Fame would be to win another Super Bowl or two, maybe, and his best chance for that is by staying with a Seahawks team with a franchise quarterback and core of defensive Pro Bowlers intact.
Still, wouldn’t it be nice to be the object of a tug-of-war between billionaires?
So, I’d take him on his word. Just not quite 100 percent.
Since it’s unlikely that massive shakeup of the NFC West is going to happen, it’s nonetheless important to look at the effects of the Rams upgrading their staff.
Fassel is the son of Jim Fassel, the former New York Giants head coach, and as special teams coordinator for the Rams, he’s been a giant annoyance to the Seahawks.
He’s got a short deck to draw from this week, though, as the Rams have won only one game since the second week of October.
Fassel will be somebody who is going to take this on with a considerable energy.
He was asked if, when driving home from the office, he’d thought about the massive upheaval of the season, the move to L.A., the firing of Fisher, his getting the job.
Well, he said, he hasn’t driven home from the office. He’s spent the past couple nights in the office trying to get things turned around there.
It’s part of the coaching lifestyle that he learned from his father, having been on the sidelines fairly soon after shedding diapers.
“As early as I can remember, 3, 4, 5, years old,” he said of the days when he started strolling the sidelines in his dad’s shadow, pulling around his headphone cords at Weber State, Utah and Stanford.
He watched more than 100 games as a kid on those sidelines, he speculated, learning the lessons of perseverance and the importance of adapting on the fly.
“I was a troublemaker in the locker room,” he said. He used to build forts out of the blocking dummies on the practice field, and sometimes just run away somewhere to be a free-range boy on the loose in a sports facility.
Fassel has completed a number of triathlons and Iron Man competitions, and recalls the feeling of absorbing a physical “beat down” at the end of these challenges. The body rebels and presents the mind with a supreme test.
“I was hurtin’ bad at the end,” Fassel recalled of his first Iron Man. “I told myself I’ve trained this hard, this long, and I’m not stopping short of the finish line.”
Fassell was wise to see the handy analogy.
“It’s the kind of mindset I have right now.”
Attaboy. He’ll need to be resilient just to get through the final three games — his first tri-game-athon as an NFL head coach.