|Jeff Fisher: Rams ‘brought a lot of energy’ in first London practice||10.24.12 at 5:43 pm ET|
In 2009, in the week leading up to the Patriots-Buccaneers contest at Wembley, there was plenty of talk about whether the Patriots were doing the right thing by traveling to London so late in the week. Tampa Bay, owned by the same Glazer family that owns Manchester United, went out early and practiced at the world-class soccer facility.
The result? The Patriots, behind three touchdown passes from Tom Brady, went out and throttled the Bucs, 35-7.
This time, it’s the Rams who are the early arrivals in the U.K. and the Patriots are hoping history repeats itself. They are having two practices in New England before hopping a plane for a red-eye after Thursday’s practice at Gillette.
The Rams – under new coach Jeff Fisher – arrived Tuesday and began practice Wednesday at Arsenal, the site of the Premier League club owned and operated by Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke.
“We talked to other clubs,” Fisher said in a conference call from London on Wednesday. “I’ve been over here several times in the preseason in the American Bowls and we just felt that the fact that Mr. Kroenke has a facility here, we felt that it would probably be best to come over early to put the travel behind us and the time difference behind us and get settled. That’s what we’ve done thus far. I just moments ago got off the practice field and I’m very pleased and proud with the way the guys have responded to the time change. They brought a lot of energy to the field; we had a great practice.”
But that’s not to say Fisher doesn’t think the world of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Quite the opposite.
“[Tom Brady] does such a great job,” Fisher said. “It’s so quick and obviously their terminology allows them to get up there and go. He sees things and he puts himself in the best possible position and then there’s so much that’s done after the snap too with the guys outside.
“He makes great decisions. He’s usually always right with the decision he makes. He has tremendous arm strength, vision, he’s accurate. He can extend the play with his legs. I don’t know what else you can say about him. He’s just very, very difficult to defend. Over the years, they’ve done a great job of surrounding him with great people.”
Fisher was asked, – in historical terms – if Brady were right there near the top with all the great quarterbacks, considering Fisher and his Titans would face Peyton Manning twice a year.
“Oh yeah, there’s not a doubt,” he said. “We faced Peyton twice a year for a long time. Hey, Aaron Rodgers isn’t bad either. I’d say there’s no doubt that Tom is probably one of the top that I’ve faced over the years.”
As for the much-maligned Patriots defense, Fisher didn’t take the bait.
“They’re very smart,” Fisher began. “Coach [Belichick], he’ll adjust their plan on a weekly basis which creates problems for you because you really don’t know what to expect and you’re constantly adjusting offensively. They’re very talented. They’re big, strong, they’re downhill; it’s a downhill front seven. They have a young secondary that looks like it’s going to be good.”
Speaking of coaches, Fisher is without his friend Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator he hired, who then was subsequently suspended by the NFL indefinitely for his role in “Bountygate.” Williams’ son Blake is on Fisher’s staff and able to help while Gregg is forced to watch from the stands.
“We’re very fortunate that I’ve got [Assistant Head Coach] Dave McGinnis and people on my staff. Gregg’s son, Blake has been an assistant for a number of years, he has a good feel for it. We’re doing it by committee.”
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