The Rams haven’t won a single game since Week 4 of the 2016 NFL season, and as the offense continues to be a problem, Jeff Fisher remains delusional about his team.
On Sunday, the Rams took a 13-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers at home, and Case Keenum played poorly enough that fans chanted for both first overall pick Jared Goff and minor league baseball player Tim Tebow to take over at quarterback. Still, Fisher was resolute about his belief that the quarterback isn’t the reason the Rams are losing games.
Following the game, Fisher was asked about the chants, and he acted like he had no idea it had happened.
“Well, the fans expect production and execution and points. I totally get that,” Fisher said. “I’ve been through that before. I totally understand their position on that. I honestly didn’t hear them root for Jared.”
This isn’t new for Fisher
It’s not the first time Fisher had demonstrated an unrealistic perspective on his team. This goes all the way back to Week 1, when the Rams were shut out 28-0 by the San Francisco 49ers — the same 49ers who haven’t won a game since.
In that loss, the 49ers wanted to force Keenum to throw the ball, and the Rams couldn’t get the run game going. Todd Gurley carried the ball 17 times for just 47 yards, and Keenum completed 17 of 35 passes for 130 yards.
“Their commitment was to stop the run and then try to get us to make the plays outside,” Fisher said. “But we wanted to stay with the run because it’s the run game that helps you get the plays outside.”
The Rams likely did want to stick with the run, because they didn’t want to risk mistakes from Keenum. Since that game, the 49ers have gone an NFL-record seven straight games allowing a running back to rush for 100 yards or more.
Fisher wasn’t any more realistic about the Rams following a Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Keenum threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and the Rams lost 30-19. After the loss, Fisher faced questions about the offense being ranked dead last in the league.
“You can take the 32nd in the league and write all you want about it, but this offense is improving,” Fisher said.
After the Rams’ Week 7 loss to the Giants in London, Fisher stuck to his guns about Keenum despite his four-interception performance in the 17-10 loss. Fisher said he would stay with Keenum at quarterback.
“The quarterback’s not the reason, by the way, that we lost three games, so I’m staying with Case,” Fisher said. “He had a couple of tips and things like that today. Not necessarily his fault.”
Fisher keeps going to bat for Keenum
After Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, Fisher was steadfast in his support of Keenum regardless of the fact that the offense couldn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. Keenum added to his interception total for the season with a pick thrown late in the third quarter. He remains second in the league behind Ryan Fitzpatrick in interceptions.
Still, Fisher is sticking with Keenum.
“We’re going to lick our wounds here, and it’s still fresh,” Fisher said. “I’m going to look at the tape, but I would submit that Case isn’t the reason that we lost this game today.”
Keenum isn’t the only player Fisher stood up for on Sunday. Tight end Lance Kendricks, who had a crucial end zone drop on a throw right between the numbers, also got the benefit of Fisher’s defense.
“Lance had nine catches — touch catches — and we’re going to bring up the drop?” Fisher said.
Yes, Fisher, the media is going to bring up the drop on what could have been a game-changing play. When the offense goes six quarters without scoring a touchdown, and a player lets a pass slip between his hands, it’ll probably be the topic of conversation.
Fisher won’t even accept the reality of the number of penalties his team was charged with on Sunday.
Fisher on penalties: "Yeah, statistically, we had 10, I would acknowledge maybe six of them.”— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) November 8, 2016
The officials acknowledged all 10 of them, so Fisher’s perspective isn’t particularly helpful to the Rams.
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It would be so simple for the Rams to make a change at quarterback. Keenum has been abysmal, with just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and he’s not getting any better. Jared Goff is languishing on the bench after the team traded up to select him with the first pick in the draft.
With games against the Patriots, Falcons, Seahawks, and Cardinals looming, the Rams’ schedule is not getting any easier. Unless Fisher wakes up and makes some changes, the Rams appear destined for another 7-9 finish.