Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fisher Has That Calm about Him; Blowout Loss in Exhibition Game Is No Reason to Push the Panic Button; NFL

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fisher Has That Calm about Him; Blowout Loss in Exhibition Game Is No Reason to Push the Panic Button; NFL

Article excerpt

On the first day back on the practice field since Sunday's unsightly 35-point spanking, Jeff Fisher was, as his players like to say, his old cool self. The world had not come to an end. The sky had not fallen, the earth had not opened up in the middle of the Rams Park practice fields and attempted to swallow up the entire training camp roster in angry retribution for Fisher's Rams having the audacity to lose the opening game of the preseason by such a lopsided score.

It was just another work day in the midst of the endless training camp grind for Fisher, who just did what he always does, which is glide around the practice field observing everything from behind the reflection of those cool designer sun glasses.

Emotional fans can have the luxury of over-reacting to the outcome of an August dress rehearsal. Experienced head coaches like Fisher react to the scoreboard's inconsequential numbers with the proper regard, which is somewhere between a chuckle and a yawn.

"Yeah, I don't think there were many tears on the airplane coming home (Sunday)," Fisher said with a rather sardonic smirk on Monday. "What you want to see is ... them play hard, and they did. We've got to play better. Believe me, we're not ready for Detroit yet, (but) we will get better."

If you want to know a thing or two about a football coach - what he thinks, what he stands for, how he does his job - observe him when there's a tinge of panic in the air. It doesn't matter if it's artificial panic like the sort that was swirling in the air with so many people overreacting to the outcome of a meaningless preseason game, or the genuine restlessness that can permeate when the scores actually do matter.

If the man in charge freaks out when everyone around him starts losing their grip, that's a very bad sign.

Fisher is not that guy. The players rave about his never-nervous demeanor.

"There's just something about him," said tight end Lance Kendricks. "He's like this really cool, laid-back guy. Just always in control of things. Not a lot of screaming and shouting. He just lays it all out to you, very matter of fact. This is it, here's how it's done. Now go do it. He's the same way every day, every meeting, every practice."

They're going to need that demeanor, because this is not going to be an easy remake. There are some glaring issues that need to be fixed around here, and it's going to take a man who knows exactly what he's doing to get it done.

And it's not going to take a patient man, because one of the last words I'd use to describe Fisher is "patient." The word I'd use is "resolve," because it's going to take a man with a ton of resolve and a mountain of personal belief to turn this franchise around as quickly as Fisher insists it will take to turn the Rams back into winners. …

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