Three of Fisher’s Former QBs Are in the Playoffs:
Jeff Fisher was fired following the 2016 NFL season after going 31-45-1 in five seasons with the St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams. Since then, he hasn’t been in the news very much. But three of his former quarterbacks were set to start for their respective teams in the NFC playoffs. All three signal callers looked extremely poor under Fisher’s tutelage. Now they’re leading their franchises to success. The Fisher Effect is real. Between 2015-2016, he coached Nick Foles, Case Keenum, and Jared Goff with the Rams organization.
Foles was just two years removed from a career year. In 2013, he threw for 2,891 yards and a 71.5 QBR with the Philadelphia Eagles. He had 27 touchdowns and only two (!) picks. Incredible year. He led the Eagles to a 9-5 record and a playoff berth. Chip Kelly was his head coach. Two seasons later, Foles was traded to the Rams. In 2015, he struggled mightily. The former Arizona product saw a drop in yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and QBR. He also threw eight more interceptions.
Case Keenum and Jared Goff:
That trend continued the next season. Keenum stepped in to take the starting spot. Fisher picked him over rookie and former No. 1 pick Goff. As it turned out, neither option played up to their full potential. Keenum threw for 2,201 yards on 60.9 percent passing, and nine touchdowns to 11 picks. The Rams’ record? 4-5. So Fisher decided to make a chance. He dubbed Goff as the new starter. Somehow it got worse. Goff, in his first year in the league, looked like a flat out bust. His 18.9 QBR was embarrassing for him and the team were 0-7 when he started. Goff had just five scores and seven interceptions.
Then both players got a change of scenery. Keenum headed to play for the Minnesota Vikings. While Goff had an entire offseason to refine his game, while head coach Sean McVay came to town. Keenum threw for 3,547 yards on 67.6 percent passing and led the Vikes to a 12-3 spot. Goff was even a bit better than his former teammate. He tossed for 3,804 yards and a 4-1 TD-INT ratio, while leading the team to an 11-5 regular season. So why have all three quarterbacks been more successful away from Fisher? It can’t be that he simply isn’t a good coach.
What’s the Issue?
Fisher has proven to be an above average head coach, even during his down years. He obviously isn’t near the top tier coaches, but a 178-171-1 record is at least respectable. Fisher reached the postseason six times in 21 years. He won a division title three times. He was even able to get the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999 with a 13-3 record. Ironically, he lost to the Rams with a chance at the title. But Fisher was never able to find success like that again. And now, less than two years later, all three QBs reached the playoffs.
Foles is starting for the Eagles following Carson Wentz’s injury, and will take on the Atlanta Falcons tomorrow night. Keenum will take the field the next night, as his Minnesota squad hosts Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. With all that said, Fisher wasn’t the only issue when it came to these guys struggling. But he wasn’t the best option either. It’s become obvious that Mike Zimmer, Sean McVay, and even Kelly are more suitable to lift the potential of their players.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated.