The St. Louis Rams went the first-time-head-coach route when they hired Scott Linehan in 2005. An 8-8 season and one of the worst three-year stretches in NFL history followed.
Then they did it again when they hired Steve Spagnuolo. He went 1-15, 7-9 and then 2-14. The Rams had a lot of problems that had nothing to do with the coach -- especially how the roster was constructed -- but franchise pillar Steven Jacksonsounds happy another first-time head coach hasn't entered the picture. Instead, the Rams brought in Jeff Fisher and his 16 years of head coaching experience.
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"It's quite a difference. Nothing against what I've had before coach Fisher, but you can definitely tell a difference in leadership, a difference in confidence. It's not so much of on-the-job training," Jackson told FoxSports Midwest. "I'm just impressed by what he's assembled with assistant coaches around him. We have very credible coaches that are teaching me and some of my teammates. It's just impressive, what they've been able to accomplish in some of their own careers."
Jackson knows he may not have many years left in St. Louis. He remains a workhorse, but the big plays are few and far between. He's approaching the age of 30 and doesn't want to wait through another endless rebuilding project where nothing lasting gets built.
"It's very refreshing to have a coach that has that kind of resume and brings that kind of credibility," Jackson said. "You can just feel it. It's quite a difference. I haven't felt this way since the 2004, 2005 years, where now it's more so 'when' is it going to turn around, not 'if' it's going to turn around."
Jackson played under Mike Martz in 2004 to 2005. The organization has not even had a winning record once since Jackson entered the league.
People say that winning is hard in the NFL, but losing that much is also hard with so many rules promoting competitive balance. Jackson is confident Fisher will help end this dreadful stretch in Rams history. If it doesn't happen fast, Jackson won't ever know what it's like to play for a winning team.