Jeff Fisher’s demise seemed inevitable by Sunday evening, and the fatal blow was not merely the Los Angeles Rams’ lopsided loss to the Falcons or that, with that loss, the Rams (4-9) had assured their fifth consecutive losing season under Fisher.
Those were bad, to be sure — not what any franchise wants. But relocation years are difficult at best, and the upheaval is often reflected in the record. Managing the chaos and confusion and cheap NFL jerseys that accompanies it was why the Rams wanted Fisher in place this season, their first after migrating from St. Louis to Los Angeles — he has done it before with the Oilers’ move from Houston to Tennessee, he knew what to expect, he could be a steadying hand.
But the expected road bumps on the move west turned into mountains, on the field and off it. Running back Todd Gurley said wholesale jerseys looked like the team was running a “middle school offense.” Fisher himself seemed to indict the personnel department and point the finger at individual players last week, revealing longstanding fissures among the team’s brain trust. Those things, among others, made Fisher an easy punching bag for social-media snark. All problematic, but not as glaring as the culmination of disappointment that was plain even to those who didn’t know of the strained personal dynamics inside the organization. And so on Monday, Fisher was fired.
The Los Angeles Coliseum itself proved to be the tomb in which Fisher’s stint would be buried. It was pockmarked Sunday with empty seats and booing fans and a growing sense of apathy and frustration. Against all predictions, Los Angeles had embraced the Rams’ arrival with a fervor very few saw coming. When 90,000 people showed up to a preseason game, it reassured everyone involved in allowing the Rams to leave St. Louis that a vast, diverse, distraction-laden market like Los Angeles had plenty of enthusiasm to spare for the NFL. The multibillion-dollar investment of Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the faith of the owners who approved the move, would be rewarded by the adoration of a glamorous, moneyed and ardent fan base.
Until that fan base proved to be like any other: prone to disgust with underperformance and looking around for something else to do on a Sunday afternoon. When that enthusiasm started to leak out with each loss, with the delay in starting the future franchise quarterback Jared Goff jersey, with the league-worst offense and a disappointing defense, you knew Fisher’s time was probably winding down. It was difficult to survey the scene in Los Angeles — inside the building and on the field — and feel confident that Fisher could turn both parts around.
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The contract extension that Fisher received earlier this year, and which became public only recently, is now something of a parting gift for his trouble and cheap wholesale jerseys NFL, even though Kevin Demoff jersey, the Rams’ chief operating officer, told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche only last month that Fisher should not be judged solely on his record because of the relocation. That is still true — Fisher was the right man to manage the move and he remains well-regarded by plenty of his players and people in the league.
The Los Angeles Rams waived Bailey with the non-football injury designation on Tuesday.
The development, however, isn’t all bad for the West Virginia product. NFL Media’s Steve Wyche reported on Tuesday that Bailey is expected to rejoin the team in a non-football playing capacity if he clears waivers.
In April, a video surfaced on social media showing the 2013 third-round pick running routes in an attempt to comeback to football.
Bailey was shot twice in the head last November while sitting in a car with his family in the Miami area. The receiver spent a month in an intensive care unit before being released.
The wideout caught 59 passes for 843 yards and two touchdowns in three years with the Rams.
His playing career appears to be over, but it’s good to see he is set to bounce back in a new role with the team.
Michael Ochoa, a Dallas fan from California, doesn’t care that it’s the Rams’ homecoming. More importantly to him, it’s the Cowboys’ first preseason game. He’s been tailgating since 8 a.m. with friends who flew in from Texas, Arizona and Nevada just to see the ‘Boys.
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Jackie Slater jersey, who played his entire 20-season career with the Rams, and Rosey Grier, who was part of the Fearsome Foursome in the 1960s, make appearances on the video board as the game clock winds down.
With 1:41 left in the first quarter, running back Benny Cunningham scrambles 14 yards for the Rams’ first touchdown in the City of Angels this century.
Lynatta jumps to her feet, cheering. The Cowboys fans behind her fall silent.
But at the half it’s 24-7, Dallas.
The Rams have had nine straight losing seasons and no team has ever won more than eight games in its first season in a new location. Skeptics of the Rams’ move to the Entertainment Capital of the World say there’s too much to do in the city for a perennial 7-9 team to attract enough attention.
However, during halftime, Ashley Taylor, at the game with her three football-playing sons, isn’t concerned.
“We still watch the Lakers and they lose all the time,” she said.
Lucky for them, today they didn’t have to watch the Rams lose.
“Whose house?” The PA announcer asked the crowd.
“Our house!” The crowd responded in unison.
With the sun all but gone and just a burnt orange haze behind the Jumbotron, the clock reads 0:00 and the score, 28-24, Rams.
“They stayed until the fourth quarter of a preseason game and were on their feet for the whole fourth quarter,” Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff said. “You can kind of tell right there what it means to them and how exciting it is to have a team and authentic sport jerseys back here.”
“I had to remind them it was a preseason game,” Fisher said of his players. “As far as those guys are concerned it’s like we clinched playoffs.”
“I hope this city knows that we are going to fight hard for them every time we step on that field,” quarterback Case Keenum jersey said.
But it’s just the beginning and despite the mood in the Coliseum, it’s just a preseason game.
Ashley Taylor and Lynatta Johnson jersey will return during the regular season to fight stand-still traffic and pay between $50 to $80 for parking to watch their team play. But whether the rest of Los Angeles will follow suit remains to be seen.