Around the NFC West: Nov. 29, 2012
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher is not full of bluster. He does exude assuredness, however, and that gives the Rams an edge they have not had in years. It's good for the Rams, good for the NFC West.
Here's Fisher when asked recently about insinuations that the Rams had not taken the San Francisco 49ers' best shot when the teams tied in Week 10: "Well, they didn't get our best shot, so that is probably the easiest way to put it."
Fisher was similarly matter-of-fact in addressing whether 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith indeed gets away with holding. The subject was a highly sensitive issue for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who had released a memorable statement excoriating New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for suggesting Smith "gets away with murder" when he holds.
Fisher was not going to tiptoe around the subject. If Harbaugh were to get mad and issue more statements, you get the feeling Fisher would have Harbaugh right where he wants him, a little off-balance. Just as the 49ers were a little off-balance when the Rams executed two fake punts successfully during the teams' surprising 24-24 tie in Week 10.
Fisher spoke openly this week about the "grab game" Smith plays to help free up teammate Aldon Smith. Was Fisher implying Justin Smith grabbed opponents?
"I’m not implying, I'm just stating facts and not complaining," Fisher said. "Everybody does it and Justin does a great job of it. As long as his feet are moving toward the quarterback, it won’t be called. It’s a legal act. Now if he grabs and pulls backward, a pull and shoot, it’s not necessarily legal, but it’s not something that’s going to be called."