Rams name John Fassel interim head coach

In wake of the firing of Jeff Fisher, the Rams' special teams coached was promoted to interim head coach.

In light of the Los Angeles Rams' decision to fire head coach Jeff Fisher, the team has immediately announced that special teams coordinator John Fassel will be the interim head coach. 

Fassel has spent the last five years with the Rams in his current position. During this span, Los Angeles has set several NFL and team records. Punter Johnny Hekker is currently first in the league in net average, net yards, and opponent return average since being drafted in 2012. In the first 13 games of this season, the Rams' punt unit leads the NFL in total punts downed inside the 20-yard line (46) while tying the NFL record for most points inside the 20 in a single season. 

Prior to that, he spent three years with the Oakland Raiders, whose special teams units led the NFL in takeaways, turnover differential and points scored in both 2009 and 2010. He was also an assistant special teams coach with the Baltimore Ravens, who placed in the top 10 in punt and kickoff return average in 2007 and 2006.

Despite the obvious disappointment that the Rams have decided to move on from Fisher, Fassel believes he can handle the new responsibility given to him. 

"I got to be myself," Fassel said. "It’ll be fun to have the opportunity to be in front of a group of men who are emotionally low and figure out a way to bring them emotionally high so they can perform because we have to, it’s pro football, it’s tough. We have to perform and we can’t let our emotions diminish our production, because we have to win.” 

Kevin Demoff, the team's chief operating officer and vice president for football operation, voiced much faith that special teams coordinator John Fassel can handle the duties as the interim head coach.

"This is a short week and we really felt that (Interim Head Coach) John Fassel would be the right person in our organization to go lead this team for the last few weeks," Demoff said. "I think there were a couple of factors in choosing Coach Fassel. First, the players love him, they have tremendous energy, they play hard for him. I think if you look at our team, our special teams units have been among the best performing.

"I think for those of you who watch Hard Knocks, the energy, the excitement that the players have for Coach Fassel that he brings is evident. I also think that one of the things you look at when you make a change like this is how do you make it as least interruptive as possible."

The Rams had announced the decision earlier in the day to part ways with Fisher after nearly five years with the team. He had been originally hired as the head coach prior to the 2012 season and garnered a record of 31-45-1 in nearly five seasons with the team. He had failed to amass more than seven wins in any campaign while finishing no greater than third in the standings in the NFC West. 

Los Angeles had gotten off to a fast start to this season winning three of their first four games putting them atop of the NFC West standings. However, the team has lost eight out of their last nine contests, which has effectively eliminated them from the playoffs and marked their 10th straight losing campaign.

This came just eight days after it was revealed the team had agreed to a two-year extension with Fisher that was hammered out over this past summer. His contract was set to expire at the season's end and the new deal would have included an option for the second year of the contract. 

The dismissal of Fisher could bring about plenty of changes on the coaching staff that could very well include Fassel. That said, he will get his first opportunity to be an NFL head coach on Thursday night against the NFC West division-leading Seattle Seahawks. Los Angeles won their previous matchup this season 9-3 in Week 2. 


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