Fisher ready for challenge of rebuilding the Rams

By R.b. Fallstrom

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 3:16 p.m. MST

Fisher was interviewed twice, once in Denver where Kroenke owns the Nuggets and Avalanche, and again in St. Louis where he toured facilities and met with quarterback Sam Bradford. Kroenke clearly wanted an experienced hand; Spagnuolo and Linehan both came to St. Louis untested beyond coordinator duties. Spagnuolo, fired along with general manager Billy Devaney, was just 10-38 in three seasons.

St. Louis was considered a franchise on the rise after making a six-win improvement in 2010 and playing for the NFC West title in the finale, but was a total flop in 2011, playing a brutal schedule and decimated by injuries. The Rams haven't had a winning season since 2003, and they had the NFL's worst offense last season.

For all his longevity in Tennessee, Fisher had only six winning seasons, and a succession of 8-8 finishes brought out the critics. His most recent playoff victory came in January 2004, and his most recent winning record was in 2008 when the Titans squandered the No. 1 seed in the AFC by losing in the divisional round.

But Fisher led his team to at least 12 wins four times, and his career record is 142-120 (.542). He coached more games for one franchise than all but six coaches, all Hall of Famers.

The Rams have the second pick in the April draft after a 2-14 season that tied for the league's worst. It'll be the fourth time in five seasons with either the first or second pick. Fisher also inherits a handful of franchise types including Bradford, running back Steven Jackson, defensive end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis.

Bradford was the top overall pick in 2010 and was the NFL offensive rookie of the year, although last year he missed six games with a high left ankle sprain and threw only six touchdown passes. Bradford got punished more in Josh McDaniels' offense, which featured long-developing pass plays that stressed a line that ended the year with three players on injured reserve. McDaniels is also gone.

Jackson shows no signs of slowing down with a franchise-record seven consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Long developed into one of the NFL's top pass rush threats and Laurinaitis has led the team in tackles all three of his seasons.

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