THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Although Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are both disappointed in the Los Angeles Rams’ performance during their five-year tenure, the coach and the general manager both insist those feelings aren’t personal.
Fisher and Snead dismissed widespread speculation about the health of their partnership Friday, saying they work together closely and professionally. If they’re allowed to return for a sixth season, the Rams’ top two football men insist they can do it effectively.
”Honestly, I don’t know where this came from,” Fisher said. ”Les and I have been on the same page since Day One. We communicate all the time. We work together. We make some decisions together. … There’s no issues between Les and I, by no means. We agree to disagree, and we’ve had a fun run. We’re certainly disappointed in the outcome and where we are, and we’ve got work to do, but we’re doing it together.”
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The Rams (4-8) have lost seven of their last eight games in their homecoming season, and they are all but guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the 12th straight year. Snead attributes any worries about organizational harmony to the stress of losing.
”(The) relationship is really good,” Snead said. ”We’ve worked together from the start, in every decision. Every decision that’s made, especially from a personnel standpoint.”
Fisher and Snead both received contract extensions from the Rams earlier this season, but the organization didn’t publicly announce either deal. That silence has led to speculation that owner Stan Kroenke could still clean house after the team finishes its 13th consecutive non-winning regular season, essentially treating the short extensions as performance bonuses for shepherding the Rams’ move from St. Louis back to California.
Fisher then raised eyebrows earlier this week when he said he didn’t know Snead’s contract also had been extended, appearing to contradict both men’s descriptions of a tight working relationship.
Snead said Fisher’s lack of knowledge about his deal didn’t even register as controversial when he heard about it, and he isn’t thinking about his own job security or Fisher’s status. Both men report directly to Kroenke, who insists they reach a consensus on any big decisions without a tiebreaker.
”I let those guys concentrate on football,” Snead said of the coaches. ”I go do my role. I think from that standpoint, I didn’t blow it out of proportion in any way at all. I was aware that we both were in the same boat, in terms of getting an extension. At that point in time, didn’t know the details of each other’s (contracts). I didn’t know his details, and vice versa.”
Snead went into detailed praise of Fisher’s ability to produce a competent team over the previous four seasons, including what the GM called ”a 48-game stretch with No. 2 quarterbacks.” The Rams repeatedly tried and failed to find a standout starting quarterback over the previous four years while using the likes of Kellen Clemens, Shaun Hill, Austin Davis, Nick Foles and Case Keenum, who started the first nine games this season.
”I do think that did stunt the passing game and what you can do, and what the coaches can do with it,” Snead acknowledged.
Fisher and Snead traded a large chunk of the Rams’ future to Tennessee this year to move up for Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick. While Goff has been solid in his first three starts, he still hasn’t won a game, putting the Rams back on the brink of elimination from postseason contention.
A strong finish would improve the chances for Fisher and Snead to stick around for another year, just as a 3-1 finish last season got the Rams to 7-9. Snead realizes he can only carry on with planning for the future – which doesn’t include a potentially high first-round pick next year, thanks to the trade for Goff.
”I think all of those decisions should and always be put off to the end of the season,” Snead said of his future. ”I’ve got a job to do, a role to do, a staff to (lead), to get us where we want to be, and that’s how you have to work in this league. That’s your focus.”
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