08 January 2012

Will Jeff Fisher be Coaching in Miami or St. Louis Next Year?

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Jeff Fisher is going to be coaching next season. Now arguably the most sought after coaching candidate seems headed to be coaching either the Miami Dolphins or the St. Louis Rams next season. So where will he land? Here's my thoughts.

The positives for Miami? Money is a big reason. Owner Stephen Ross is extremely loaded and he's been dying for a big name coach and he's gearing up to open the checkbook. He was willing to open it for Jim Harbaugh and you know he will do it to lure in Fisher. Another positive is that the roster has some talent on it and overall is in a much better shape than St. Louis, with one notable exception (more on that later). This is a team that ended the season on a 6-3 run once they finally got some solid quarterback play. The Dolphins also have a top ten pick at nine. And the weather is beautiful year-round which makes it easy to lure free agents, as is the attactive lifestyle down in South Florida.

The negatives for Miami? The lack of a potential franchise quarterback. Matt Moore is a decent quarterback and played very well this season but let's not confuse with a franchise quarterback. He doesn't have a ceiling much higher than being an average quarterback, in my opinion, kind of like Kyle Orton. And dealing with the Patriots and the Bill Belichick operation in Foxborough is also not ideal.

The positives for St. Louis? Unlike Miami, the Rams have a potential quarterback on roster in Sam Bradford. Yes he had injury problems this season and when healthy was not very good anyways but you can't forget his impressive rookie campaign that almost resulted in a division title in which he looked like a budding star. His line was awful this season, he didn't have anyone to throw to, especially once his trusted target Danny Amendola was lost for the season, as well as a tough schedule. But he still is very talented and one cannot forget the promise of 2010. Also the Rams have the second pick in the draft in which they can draft either a stud offensive tackle or a stud receiver or trade down to stockpile picks. St. Louis also has the most cap space and can afford to bring in a bunch of players to make an immediate impact. And there is also a connection between Fisher and the organization with Rams Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff who is the son of Fisher's agent Marvin Demoff.

Besides the fact that the team sucked in 2011, which could be remedied quickly thanks to the ample cap space as well as the high draft pick, there doesn't seem to a real negative to the Rams for Fisher. But today, the Rams beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jim Thomas, reported that the "only possible hangup" is concerns about the team moving back to Los Angeles. The Rams, who moved to St. Louis from LA after the 1994 season, could exit St. Louis after the 2014 season, 20 years after the fact, if their home venue, the Edward Jones Dome, is not among the top 25 percent of all NFL venues. And we all know that LA is looking for an NFL team and the Rams are one of the top options along with the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, who all ironically who left Los Angeles before. And Fisher may not want to have to eventually relocate and especially to what could be a challenging media market to deal with, although we all know how uninterested LA area fans can be.

But I have been saying from the get-go that I see Fisher coaching in St. Louis next season and I'm sticking with that prediction. The Los Angeles situation is one to monitor, however.

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