4-game losing streak has Rams in familiar spot
ST. LOUIS (AP) Jeff Fisher isn't concerned about his job status.
A four-game losing streak has the St. Louis Rams in the usual predicament, 4-7 and playing out the string. In their fourth year under Fisher, they've not yet been relevant.
''I've never gone into a game or into a season worried about my job security,'' Fisher said Monday, a day after the Rams lost 31-7 at Cincinnati. ''That would be unfair to the organization, unfair to the players.''
The Rams play the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals at home this week. Fisher said his players are ''not losers'' and their effort has been ''outstanding,'' and added the Cardinals are his only focus.
''I know that's not the answer you guys want to hear,'' Fisher said to reporters. ''We're not going to put this `live-or-die' or `win-or-lose' situation on this game.''
Fisher is 24-34-1 with the Rams, topping out at seven victories twice but failing to execute a turnaround for a franchise that hasn't fielded a winner since 2003. They'd entered November with a winning record for the first time since 2006.
Overall, Fisher is 166-154-1 in his 20th season, with just six winning campaigns. Barring a stunning reversal, this won't be the seventh.
The Rams are last in the NFL in passing yards, last in first downs, last in third-down efficiency and 31st in scoring. They've invested heavily in defense under Fisher in the draft and free agency, but less so in the offense, with Todd Gurley a notable exception.
The decision to lean heavily on rookie offensive linemen in particular has backfired this year. They've scored 13 or fewer points in each of the last three games and have topped 20 points just four times - in all of their victories.
The last four games, they've used different combinations including the first career start by three rookies.
Fisher said the key to keeping the team focused is ''avoiding distractions.''
''It's about believing in yourself and working hard and finding ways to improve,'' Fisher said. ''It's especially difficult on them right now because of the lack of production on offense.''
One wrinkle this week is returning to a conventional schedule with a day off for players on Tuesday. All season, they've had Thursdays off and Fisher had cited a favorable team study.
Fisher said players need rest now, but that for now it's a ''one-week thing.''
''Pretty simple,'' the coach said. ''At this time of year, it's hard to practice full speed three days a week.''
Fisher hopes to have quarterback Case Keenum cleared from the concussion protocol and start this week. After one week on the bench, Nick Foles threw three interceptions at Cincinnati, one of them returned for a touchdown.
''I still feel like the same player,'' Foles said after the game. ''It's one of those things where it's just a bump in the road and you learn.''
Fisher said Keenum was removed from consideration for the Bengals start after he didn't ''feel right'' after practice on Friday.
''Hopefully he's going to be back this week and he'll play,'' Fisher said. ''I'm going to give Case a fair shot.''
Rookie Sean Mannion made his NFL debut in mop-up duty Sunday but Fisher doesn't believe the third-round pick is ready to make a start.
''I was glad I got a chance to go in there and play a little bit,'' Mannion said. ''I wish the circumstances would have been different.''
Fisher said defensive end Robert Quinn (back) had an encouraging workout long before Sunday's game but didn't have ''100 percent of his lower body strength.''
Fisher said cornerback Trumaine Johnson (thigh) could return to the lineup this week, but kicker Greg Zuerlein (hip) likely won't practice until Friday. The Rams used a replacement kicker on Sunday.
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