St. Louis Rams fans are more confident than they have been in a long time. With the hiring of Jeff Fisher as the team's new coach, most pundits will take them seriously in the buildup to the 2012 season, and with good reason. He certainly has his flaws, but he is one of the most experienced coaches in the league at this point and, really, there wasn't a better candidate available.
On Tuesday, he held a press conference in which he talked about the future of the Rams and how he views the team. Naturally, he likes everything he sees, is adamant that his decision had nothing to do with the fact that the Rams are vomiting piles of money on him, and of course, foresees a quick turnaround for his team in the NFC West.
What was most interesting is his vision for the Rams and what kind of team he wants to build:
The philosophy is pretty simple: we want to do whatever it takes to win football games. We're going to have a disciplined, tough, physical football team that's going to first and foremost matchup and be able to win games in the division. We've got quite a challenge ahead of us to be competitive once again in the division, but it won't take long. It's a team that's going to run the football and protect the quarterback and play good defense and get the ball back.
Hang on a second, it seems an awful lot like the Fisher wants the Rams to be ... the San Francisco 49ers? Does Jim Harbaugh keep his guys disciplined? He sure does, with accountability being a mitigating factor. Are they tough? Well you can answer that yourself if you watched how they abused Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles on Saturday against the New Orleans Saints. Physical falls under that same category.
On top of that, Fisher wants to run the football, protect the quarterback (who can then protect the ball), play good defense and create takeaways. That sounds exactly like how the 49ers play football. Their defense is more than "good," albeit, but Frank Gore undoubtedly is what makes that offense tick (even if the 49ers had to rely on Alex Smith and key contributors in the passing game to ultimately beat the aforementioned Saints).
Do the Saints have the personnel to be the 49ers? No, they don't have that, yet. Their offensive line isn't nearly as big and scary enough, and they need a playmaker like Vernon Davis on offense. And just as surprising as this statement seems, but Sam Bradford has a ways to go to be comparable to the 2011-12 iteration of Alex Smith. On top of that, their defense would have to improve leaps and bounds to compete with that of San Francisco.
But hey - it's a winning formula, and nobody can tell you otherwise. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?