After flirting with Rob Ryan, the St. Louis Rams have replaced Gregg Williams with Tim Walton, who will run the defense for Jeff Fisher after Walton left the Lions. In Detroit, Walton coached under Fisher disciple Jim Schwartz. But Fisher and the Rams haven’t just been turning away from big-name defensive coordinators. Last week, the team released Titus Young only days after claiming him off waivers.
Jeff Fisher joined The Fast Lane on ESPN 101 in St. Louis to discuss the hiring of new defensive coordinator Tim Walton, his fit in St. Louis and his history with similar defenses. He also touched on Titus Young, who was signed and released in less than a week, the controversial conclusion to the Super Bowl, as well as his feelings on Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson.
On the process that led to them hiring Tim Walton as their new defensive coordinator:
“We started through the progress, and then when it became apparent that things were not going to be a fit with Coach Ryan, then I moved down the list. And it wasn’t that Tim was our fourth or fifth guy we were going to talk to; it was just a matter of being able to set things up. I had fully intended on spending more time with Coach Walton, particularly because the time I had spent with him last year at this time. So once we got him in the building and got him in the meeting with the rest of the staff, it was just obvious that this was the perfect fit for what we needed to get done.”
On what drew him to Walton:
“Tim is a excellent communicator. He understands the game very, very well. … He’s done a great job wherever he’s been. He recognizes talent, he’s a technician.”
On Walton being familiar with the system and the terminology in St. Louis:
“The terminology is similar, as opposed to someone else who hasn’t been in this defensive tree, if you will. So Tim has a good sense of what we call things and what we want to do. And obviously he’s going to have a much better sense, in time, as to how we’re going to be significantly different than Detroit.”
On signing and releasing Titus Young within a few days:
“We wanted to go into detail with the young player. So if you let him clear waivers then you’re competing with the rest of the clubs and he’s on the free-agent circus tour, if you will, and you’re doing a brief interview and so on and so forth. So we felt that by claiming him … we would have a lot more time to do that. And so we did so. We claimed him, we brought him in, we spent a great deal of time with him. … And at the end of the extended interview process we just felt that we were better off going on as an organization.”
On if he feels that controversial Jimmy Smith-Michael Crabtree play at the end of the Super Bowl was a penalty:
“I think that’s called. I think you want that called. … I think that’s a penalty.”
On Sam Bradford:
“His play was directly affected by the people around him. There’s times when it’s difficult to step up in the pocket and make the good throw. That’s not the quarterback’s fault. That’s whatever’s going on out front. We’re pleased with what Sam did. He’s got an exciting future. I know he’s really excited about coming back in here in April and getting started and not having to learn another offense.”
On Steven Jackson, whose future in St. Louis is up in the air:
“We’d like to have Steven back and we’d love for him to be able to finish his career here. … We’re the same with Danny [Amendola] and the same with the other unrestricted guys that we have.”