Deon Long, we hardly knew you.
The Rams wide receiver was released on July 31 after violating a team rule. Specifically, he violated the no-females-in-your-dorm-room-during-training-camp rule. The woman did not stay the night, but her presence in the dorm was against team policy.
Long, 25, got the axe.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher addressed his team after Long’s release, saying, “I’m not (expletive) going 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7. We have too much talent here. We had some 7-9 (expletive) this morning, and we can’t have that. Deon is gone. That is 7-9 (expletive), and we don’t need it).”
All righty then.
It was an old-school, hard-line decision by Fisher – and it made for great TV on “Hard Knocks” – but does that type of coaching and discipline still resonate with today’s NFL player?
“Oh, absolutely it resonates with today’s NFL players,” Super Bowl champion and CBS Sports Network NFL analyst London Fletcher said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Obviously if it was Aaron Donald who did the same offense, he would not have cut him, but he would have had some significant type of ramifications. But if you’re a guy who’s on the practice squad, who’s a roster bubble type of guy, you can’t break those type of rules. For him to cut a guy on the spot like that, it definitely sends a message that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to tolerate anybody not following our rules.’ For Jeff Fisher, he knows he’s on the hot seat, being 7-9, 8-8 ever since he’s been in St. Louis. Now going to L.A., they have to make strides and win nine, 10, 11 ball games in order for him to keep his job. So it definitely will resonate.”
It was a calculated move by Fisher, who has won seven games or fewer in each of his four seasons with the Rams. He’s had a revolving door of mediocre-to-horrendous quarterbacks, but make no mistake: If Fisher, 58, doesn’t take the next step in 2016, the Rams may go in another direction.
“I think Jeff is a very good head coach and well-respected in the National Football League,” Fletcher said. “I’ve competed against his teams. When I was a member of the St. Louis Rams and he was the Tennessee Titans head coach, we beat them in the Super Bowl and it was a hard-fought game. We had played them in Nashville that same year and lost to them down in Nashville. His teams have always been very physical, hard-nosed type of football team. I think his biggest problem since he’s been with the Rams has been his quarterback play. He hasn’t had good quarterback play. If you don’t get good quarterback play in the National Football League, it’s tough to win. They went out and drafted Jared Goff out of Cal – and I don’t know if he’s going to play much as a rookie – but (Fisher) knows he has to win ball games. This is his fifth year there. He’s had ample opportunity to get things turned around.”