Fisher plays down rumors, talks up Quinn

2013-12-17T09:05:00Z 2015-03-10T17:50:11Z Fisher plays down rumors, talks up QuinnBy Joe Lyons jlyons@post-dispatch.com 636-493-9675 stltoday.com
December 17, 2013 9:05 am  • 

It was a big weekend for Rams’ rumors from across the NFL.

General manager and coordinators on the hot seat. Bad blood between the Rams and Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rams coach Jeff Fisher assuming more of a hands-on approach to running the team’s defense.

“That comes from someone that doesn’t know what they’re talking about,’’ Fisher said Monday in response to the rumor about his role with the defense.

And on the other rumors?

“There was a lot of that stuff. Interesting,’’ he continued. “I don’t know. We work upstairs (and) then we come downstairs, we go onto the field and don’t pay attention to that stuff.’’


Third-year defensive end Robert Quinn enjoyed another huge game Sunday, finishing with six tackles, two sacks, four quarterback pressures and two hits on the quarterback. In addition, he caused two fumbles, recovering one of them.

With 15 sacks Quinn leads the NFC and is second in the league to Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis (16½).

“I thought Rob played very, very well,’’ Fisher said. “His caused fumble is probably one of the better defensive plays I’ve seen in my career — just very, very impressive. To get nudged by the tight end between the tackle and guard inside, go down — the guard pushed him to the ground — crawl back up and knock the ball out. (It) was indicative of the type of athlete that he is. It was very impressive.’’

When asked if Quinn should be a candidate for defensive player of the year, Fisher gave his endorsement.

“I don’t know of any other defensive player that’s playing as consistently and as well as he is,’’ the coach said. “There are a lot of good defensive players in the league, but I definitely think he should be considered. ... Ask Drew Brees.’’


Linebacker Alec Ogletree continued his impressive rookie season, leading the Rams with 13 total tackles, including nine solos, in the 27-16 win over New Orleans. The team’s leading tackler this season, Ogletree had one tackle for loss and also broke up a pass.

Safeties Darian Stewart (nine tackles, eight solos) and Rodney McLeod (eight tackles, two for loss) joined linebacker James Laurinaitis (seven tackles, five solos, one for loss) as the team’s other top tacklers in the game.

Safety T.J. McDonald (five tackles) and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins (six tackles, five solos, four passes broken up) and Trumaine Johnson (five solo tackles) also turned in strong games. McDonald and Johnson had the team’s interceptions.

The strong game from the defensive backfield can be traced to the similarly strong play up front defensively as the Rams finished with four sacks, 14 quarterback pressures and 10 hits on New Orleans quarterback Brees.

William Hayes (three pressures, three hits) and Matt Conrath had the other Rams’ sacks. Michael Brockers (two pressures, one hit) had six tackles while Chris Long (two pressures, two hits) chipped in with five.


Brockers blocked Garrett Hartley’s 36-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, allowing the Rams to maintain momentum with a 27-3 halftime lead.

Then, with the Saints looking to make it a one-score game with just under two minutes to play, Hartley’s attempt from 26 yards out was hooked to the right.

“I think it was just a result of the element of pressure,’’ Fisher said. “The kick, the snap, the hold and the approach operation is affected by pressure and I think they tried to hurry it a little bit.’’


The Rams lost defensive end prospect Gerald Rivers, an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Mississippi, when he was claimed off waivers by Jacksonville Monday.

Rivers, who was active in just two games this season, was cut over the weekend when the team promoted receiver/kick returner Justin Veltung from the practice squad.

“We needed to make a spot and felt that was the best place to go (because) we have significant depth there,’’ Fisher said, referring to the defensive line. Rivers “was not going to be active for us. Any time you put somebody out there, especially this time of year, teams are trying to upgrade the bottom half of their roster, evaluating players ... you’re going to risk losing somebody when you have to waive them.’’

Filling in for top draft pick Tavon Austin, who’s sidelined with an ankle injury, Veltung returned one punt for 7 yards on Sunday.

After being drafted No. 8 overall last April, Austin said that he had not missed a game in high school or college.

“Yeah, it’s not sitting very well with him right now. He’s a little frustrated, but he’s not able to play,’’ Fisher said. “He’ll be day-to-day this week. We’re hoping to get him on the practice field at some point late in the week.’’

Joe is a St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter.

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