Jeff Fisher not anticipating changes to coaching staff

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Pointing to what he believes is the importance of continuity, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher is not expecting to make any changes to his coaching staff this offseason.

Asked Tuesday what he thought of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the 28th-ranked offense in the NFL, Fisher started by making it clear that the staff is going to stay in place barring any surprises.

“Well first off, I’m not anticipating any changes on the coaching staff," Fisher said.

To be clear, when Fisher says he's not anticipating any changes, that means he almost certainly isn't going to choose to make any alterations to the staff. The word anticipating is used solely because it leaves open the possibility that a coach could leave on his own, perhaps for another opportunity.

Schottenheimer, of course, is the coach who has drawn the most ire from fans for the lack of consistent production by an offense that fell well short of the defense's output again in 2014.

The Rams finished 28th in yards per game, 20th in rushing yards, 23rd in passing yards and 23rd in points scored in 2014. That's not much of a departure and certainly not definitive progress from what the offense has done in each of his first two seasons as offensive coordinator.

Schottenheimer's offense was handcuffed a bit by the loss of quarterback Sam Bradford in the preseason and the subsequent losses of left tackle Jake Long and receiver Brian Quick, but his inability to get much from Tavon Austin and the lack of a consistent run game for a group often left observers scratching their heads.

In spite of that, Fisher gave Schottenheimer an overwhelmingly positive endorsement.

"I think Brian is an outstanding play caller," Fisher said. "He’s very organized. He’s an excellent teacher. You can’t put the record on his shoulders. That’d be very, very unfair.”

Since Fisher arrived in 2012, staff changes have been few and far between. In fact, the only two notable changes that were made previously came at defensive coordinator and some of that was a product of things outside of Fisher's control. He fired linebackers coach Blake Williams after the 2012 season and then let go of coordinator Tim Walton last year in order to add Gregg Williams for that role.

Fisher offered some positive words for Walton at this time last year only to let him go later on, but that shouldn't be viewed as the way he's going to handle business this year. But Fisher didn't offer the same type of appreciation for Walton that he did Schottenheimer and only made the change because he and Williams were able to bury the hatchet and come to an agreement.

Whether it's at quarterback or on the coaching staff, Fisher has sent the resounding message that he's a big believer in keeping a group together and letting it grow. For a team that's won just 20 games in three seasons, it seems like a couple of tweaks could help, but that's obviously not how Fisher sees it.

"One thing that continuity allows you to do is that it allows you to sit down and look hard at what you’re doing and get better," Fisher said. "I’ve been on staffs where’s there’s continuity where we were able to do that.”

And if this group isn't able to offer more tangible progress next season, individual changes will likely give way to the sweeping kind.