After 21 years of coaching in the NFL, Jeff Fisher has seen a number of high-profile players that had a reputation for living outside of the confines of what is generally considered to be "acceptable" behavior. During his years in Tennessee, both Adam "Pacman" Jones and Albert Haynesworth made headlines for doing bad things off of the field, or in the case of the Haynesworth, on it. But now that he's with the Rams, Fisher is working to shed that label of being accepting of bad eggs.
Including removing over 20 players from their draft board for character issues. Fisher told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the organization is going above and beyond in that regard:
"I can say this for a fact: We’ve done things in the last year nobody else in the league has done. I know that. It’s a number of different things," insists Fisher, who stopped short of enumerating the practices for fear of surrendering a proprietary edge. "We’re using everything we have. It’s not because of the players (who have encountered trouble). It’s to help all the players. It’s not a one-time deal. It’s over an extensive period of time. Every player is different. Every year is different."
But Fisher and the Rams already have a number of issues to deal with this year. Running back Isaiah Pead and guard Rokevious Watkins have been suspended for the first game of the season, and cornerback Trumaine Johnson was arrested under suspicion of DUI several months ago. Fisher isn't the only one in St. Louis concerned about perception and wanting to change how people think about the Rams:
"We’re not an organization of renegades. We’re not seeking to take players with issues," asserts chief operating officer Kevin Demoff. "I think the perception is we’ll take anybody, no questions asked. That couldn’t be further from the truth."
Perhaps the best news of all, however, under Fisher is that the Rams are playing well. Though a 7-8-1 finish isn't a .500 record, Fisher took over a team that had the worst five-year run in NFL history, and it appears to be on the way up.
However, it looks like winning isn't the only thing that matters to Fisher and the Rams. They also want to make sure people believe they are winning the right way.