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Fisher helps Rams immediately; Dolphins deal with rejection

The long wait is finally over. Jeff Fisherhas made his decision, choosing to take the St. Louis Rams' head-coaching job and leaving the Miami Dolphins at the altar. Two questions immediately jump to mind with this news: 1) How quickly can Fisher make an impact with the Rams? 2) Where do the Dolphins go from here?

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Fisher can contend quickly in St. Louis

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**Steven Jackson on Total Access** 
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     ! What does the 
     Rams' best player think of his new coach? Veteran RB 
**Steven Jackson** will be in studio on NFL Network's Total Access on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. 
  </div> Why'd Fisher choose St. Louis over Miami? The NFC West is ripe for the taking. The 49ers had a superior regular season but are they going to be a juggernaut the way the Patriots are in the AFC East? I don't think so. A year ago an NFC West team hosted a playoff game after a seven-win season. The 49ers struggled in the lowly NFC West that same year, then went worst-to-first. Change, in that division, can occur quickly. No reason to think the Rams, with some help in the injury department, can't be a contender quickly. They nearly made the playoffs in 2010, and they have the best quarterback in the division.  

As for the Dolphins, well, this is a big blow. It's the second straight offseason they went on what became a very public pursuit of an A-list coach, only to fall short. A year ago that led to an untenable situation for Tony Sparano, who didn't stick around very long afterwards. Dolphins players support the candidacy of interim head coach Todd Bowles, according to team sources, and they certainly finished strong. If this becomes another year of transition, they could do worse than hire Bowles, though he is very interested in other options, including the Raiders. Miami's search is pretty wide open beyond that, as they have interviewed coaches who specialize in offense, some who are defensive coordinators and some who handle special teams. Whomever they get, he will lack the stature and immediate respect Fisher commands.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Dolphins now could turn to Bengals' Zimmer

Fisher actually walks into a good situation and could turn things around quickly. Many of the Rams' problems were because of injuries. With healthy players, a coach who is known as a players coach and someone who will add the much-needed skill players, the Rams will be competitive right away. Miami could turn to Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who had a strong interview and could formulate a solid staff. Zimmer has coached 4-3 and 3-4 fronts and has paid his dues. The key, of course, is solidifying things at quarterback. To that point, Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski would make sense. Wouldn't be bad if Miami spoke with South Florida product Winston Moss of the Packers, either.

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  • Jason
  • Fisher has opportunity to turn Rams into offensive juggernaut

Jeff Fisher is a tremendous head coach -- but his success was always linked to his QB. When it was Steve McNair, they were going to Super Bowls and AFC title games. When it wasn't? Tennessee struggled. But St. Louis is the perfect situation for him -- he's inheriting a potential franchise QB in Sam Bradford, and if they take Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon with the second overall pick, suddenly it's a high octane offense and the defensive whiz can fix that unit. Fisher should have them hovering around .500 in 2012 and challenging for the NFC West on a regular basis as long as he's there. He chose the division of least resistance in not going to the Dolphins, and I can't blame him. Do you want to try to make hay against the Patriots and Jets or the Seahawks and Cardinals? Smart choice.

The Dolphins should be an easy sell, but they're not. The team looks loaded again with Reggie Bush blossoming and Brandon Marshall back to being a beast. The defense is better than people think and, publicity-wise, it's Los Angeles Lite. But everyone wants to work for an owner they're comfortable with. And when your owner says he wants Jim Harbaugh, doesn't get him, and extends Tony Sparano only as an afterthought, are you confident you're in a great situation? When a month into the regular season, you say you're searching for a franchise QB after this year (sorry Chad Henne), are you confident you're in a great situation? The Dolphins should be able to choose whoever they want, but I think plenty of the smart coaches are going to pass, and they'll have to take a chance on someone who's never been a head coach before or from the college ranks.

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  • Albert
  • Fisher's success will depend on Bradford's development

Fisher can get the Rams turned around quickly, with a franchise quarterback in place and young talent in spots. But it will depend largely on how he uses the team's draft pick (second overall) and financial ($40 million in cap room) resources going forward. He'll need to create a good environment for Bradford to grow in, and hire the staff to take care of the schematic things as well.

As for the Dolphins, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer would make all the sense in world. He worked with GM Jeff Ireland in Dallas and is well-regarded as a tough, driven coach who players will go to battle for. At the very least, that would allow a franchise that's been fractured over the last year to move forward with a singular vision.

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  • Elliot
  • Fisher should concentrate on building Rams' defense

Jeff Fisher can make an immediate impact with the Rams by virtue of having a distanced perspective, as well as a defensive mind. With no bias towards individual players, he can set out to fortifying key position groups, starting with the offensive line. Secondly, the run defense got hammered last season by DeMarco Murray and Beanie Wells last season. Hammered. Fisher coached many teams that were outstanding at halting opposing offenses on the ground. Lastly, his presence will change the culture around the organization, as his name carries a lot of weight around the league.

As far as the Dolphins, I sure would like to see Mike Zimmer get a long look. Yes, at one time, he and Tony Sparano were on the same staff in Dallas, but any correlation would stop there. Miami's talent is on the defensive side of the ball, which is Zim's discipline. He led the 2003 Cowboys' defense to a top overall ranking, and that unit did not have the talent the current Dolphins have.

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  • Pat
  • Phillips could be a candidate for Miami

It was clear a week ago the Dolphins were going to lose the Fisher battle if they didn't give him full control. Yesterday, a very reliable source told me the Rams would give him the green light on all controls. Jeff isn't a power monger and he will deligate in order to build a great team. The Rams aren't that far off when all the injured players return and should be in the mix for the division title next year. As for the Dolphins, look for a guy like Wade Phillips to emerge early next week as a candidate.

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