The Rams have to fire Fisher before more damage is done

I’ve seen some curious reasons why teams fire their coaches and managers. The Lakers let Pat Riley go because they thought he had been there too long despite four titles in nine years, for Pete’s sake.

It’s somewhat obvious that Rams fans want coach Jeff Fisher to be fired. The reason, until the last two weeks, mostly escaped me. It’s not that the Rams sucked — although the defense surely did when they got their heads kicked in by New Orleans 49-21 Sunday. They’ve been competitive. They’ve rattled off the occasional upset to give their new fans hope.

None of that covers up the disturbing regression made by key Rams players. Instead of building around cornerstone players to make a run at a playoff berth this year, many of them have declined before our very eyes. That’s not just an indictment against a Fisher. It’s against the coaches that he hired.

Consider left tackle Greg Robinson, taken No.2 overall in the draft three years ago. These last two years, he’s committed four more penalties than anyone else in football. He was scratched from the lineup Sunday even though he’s healthy.

You might also recall how Aaron Donald was rated a Top 5 player in the league, a game-changing defensive tackle. That so-called disruptive force led a defense that allowed 49 points on Sunday.

And for that matter, why the hell did No.1 overall pick Jared Goff not take any snaps in a game until last week?

The Rams can’t run, can’t protect their quarterback and in one case, can’t drive sober.

There is no reason to believe he and the staff he hired have the wherewithal to counsel Goff into being an elite quarterback. Hell, they already had their chance with Sam Bradford.

Fisher’s gotta get run before he can do any more damage to the franchise.

The offensive coordinator is likely the first fall guy for the Rams

The first thing to acknowledge is a grand failure can be a time for learning. And didn’t we all learn a lot about the Los Angeles Rams when they got their butts kicked in San Francisco on Monday?

The upshot is that L.A. might have had as much success running the flying-wedge offense last night if Congress had allowed it. Strap on the leather helmets, boys, it’s gonna be a dangerous ride to the outskirts of Concussionville.

The primary takeaway from this 28-0 wreckage is that most of it is the offense’s fault. The Rams gained just 185 yards, only 65 of it on the ground. The Rams took great pride in their running game, with last season’s rookie of the year running back Todd Gurley finishing as the league’s third-leading carrier. A good running game in the NFL is about 150 yards.

If you watched the game, the Niners were all too happy to commit more men into “the box,” football parlance for defenders lined up between the offensive tackles and no more than five yards from the line of scrimmage. They dared L.A. to pass, and the Rams were utterly dreadful.

Case Keenum didn’t even complete half of his passes (17-for-35). Wait, scratch that. If you count the two interceptions he threw, technically he did.

Even worse is wide receiver Tavon Austin’s four receptions. Keep in mind, Austin signed a contract extension before the start of the year with a princely sum befitting a No.1 receiver. If you’re going to get paid like a No.1 receiver, you have to produce like one. Four receptions for 13 yards won’t make anyone outside of your own family believe you’re the next Torry Holt.

As often happens when an offense gets humiliated to this extent, the defense flips out. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald is likely facing suspension for losing his mind and getting ejected. I’d like to tell you I witnessed what he did, but I don’t even want to listen to Chris Berman on commentary during good times.

Ultimately, there’s no way you get rid of Keenum, Austin or Gurley. What usually happens is ownership wants answers. And coach Jeff Fisher might point to offensive coordinator Rob Boras.

How do you break up a defense that stacks its men on the line of scrimmage? One way is the threat of long passes. Austin should have been running wind sprints to draw defenders with him, whether or not Keenum could throw the ball in that direction. If Austin is averaging three yards per reception, he may as well have never left the huddle because he sure as hell didn’t leave the line of scrimmage.

I don’t claim firing Boras will be an instant cure, nor do I believe he will be cut after one game.

However, Fisher has yet to finish a winning season with the Rams. This team is under pressure to win more than lose now, let alone lose by four touchdowns.

Expect Boras to face heat quickly, because it won’t get any easier for the Rams.

No, Jared Goff is not a bust

Yesterday, as the nation vented about San Francisco’s backup quarterback, Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher did likewise on the No.1 pick in spring’s NFL draft, albeit with a velvet glove.

Jared Goff won’t start for the Rams. Hell, he’s not even the first backup. He’s at No. 3 on the depth chart.

In Minnesota last night, a preseason finale where the first-stringers spend three hours in pads winking at the girls in the stands, Goff led the backups on the Rams to a touchdown in an opening drive and stunk up the joint after that. I think he went 6-for-16 overall, but after a while I watched “Tyrant” DVDs because this girl is freaking gorgeous.

Goff goofed in the preseason. The quarterback of the future completed 22 of 49 (44.9 percent) attempts for 232 yards (4.73 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, two interceptions, three fumbles and a 55.8 passer rating.

Considering what the Rams surrendered to draft Goff, four picks in this year’s draft was only part of the haul, people are understandably freaking out. I like that the Rams returned to LA, but I care more about Goff’s future than I do about you-know-who’s socks.

It wasn’t that long ago when — if a quarterback was a top draft pick — he was expected to sit and learn for quite a while. It’s the right call here.

I realize that’s not what people who shelled out dough for jerseys and tickets want to hear.

They want to get excited about a future that doesn’t include Case Keenum or Sean Mannion.

I also understand EA Sports “Madden” video games make us all believe we are just one cheat code away from being an NFL quarterback, but the position is hard to master from level to level. You don’t pass much in youth leagues. You do in high school. The athletic talent level increases dramatically in college, and the intellect and athleticism spike dramatically in the NFL. You can up-up-triangle-down-X your way out of a blitz from the Cardinals.

Goff has no business starting. Consider some recent quarterbacks who did in their first year. Robert Griffin III did lead the Redskins to the playoffs, but that was with a simplified playbook and he still blew out his knee. And he’s trying to rebuild his career with the Cleveland Browns. Good luck with that.

For every Ben Roethelisberger, there are two or three JaMarcus Russells. For every Russell Wilson, there is a J.P. Lowsman and a Matt Leinart. For every Cam Newton, and the jury is still out on him after that Super Bowl disaster, there is a Cade McNown, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf and a Brady Quinn. Maybe even a Tim Couch.

The thesis being for every rookie quarterback pressed into service, the odds favor flameout better than they do fabulous. Even Derek Carr, who by most accounts exceeded expectations in year two, has his doubters because Oakland is loaded with younger elite players. Can Carr keep up, is the question.

So Goff on the bench is a smarter move to me. The Rams run the ball better than they pass, anyway. Besides, there is one area where L.A. needs to be assured that Goff was the right move: work ethic.

Earlier, I mentioned you-know-who, the 49ers quarterback turned social activist. He, too, was once the hot future all-everything in the NFL. Granted, he didn’t get playing time until his second year, but it didn’t take long for NFL defenses to adjust. And because he was more concerned with kissing his own biceps than adjusting his game, he failed, too.

Ultimately, I’m suggesting to you that because an NFL defense is an ever-evolving tactical unit of violence, speed and intellect, younger quarterbacks need time to get acclimated. It worked back in the day. It’ll benefit the Rams and Goff now.

The week in L.A. sports (8/12/16-8/18/16)

I didn’t post about SoCal sports last week because I was too busy ripping the flesh from my ankles in New York. I averaged 10 miles per day in dress shoes, despite the subway system. I don’t know how women do it in heels. I really don’t.

On the plus side, I learned that my blog needs focus to grow an audience. What type of focus? No idea. So there’s that.

What happened with our favorite teams over the last week? Glad you asked:

Dodgers: The boys in blue took over first place in the last couple of days, which is nice but — and I have daily arguments with people about this — the point is not to win the division. The point is to win the World Series. And this team is unlikely to do that.

Consider these excellent points brought up by the Los Angeles Times on the Dodgers pitching staff.

As a side note, you’ve likely never heard of Joe Davis because Los Angeles doesn’t get to watch Dodgers games on TimeWarner SportsNet, but he’s apparently the heir apparent to Vin Scully — on a year-to-year basis. Davis is a 28-year-old self-described “broadcasting nerd.” Seems nice enough. He currently works with a partner on Dodgers road games, last night with Orel Hershiser.

Davis doesn’t live in Southern California, though, which makes me wonder: If he’s such a broadcasting nerd, wouldn’t you want to hang with Scully for a while?

Rams: More than 90,000 people went to the LA Coliseum to watch an exhibition football game. That’s how stupid the NFL was for not bringing a team here earlier. Angelinos missed football so much that 90,000 of them were willing to leave the Coliseum after the game into that funnel of broken dreams known as the USC parking lot.

Damn, last time I was there for a crowd that big, it was for a Rolling Stones concert. It took more time to leave the parking structure than Mick and the boys spent on stage.

The Rams won with fourth stringers in the fourth quarter, which isn’t good.

An inspired thought from CBSSports.com: Coach Jeff Fisher isn’t as good at assembling a team as you think.

Galaxy: The team has struggled to score recently as its lineup has been missing Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes. LA escaped Colorado with a 1-1 result. Keane returns to action when the team travels across the country to take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium tomorrow.

Lakers: Nick Young appears to be done with the team, not by his choice. The guy, who in his defense was the victim of the D’Angelo Russell videoclip prank in the spring, has actually attempted to mend fences with the teammate who stabbed him in the back. It doesn’t matter. Russell was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, and he’s Nick Young. The Lakers can’t find a trade partner. The talk now is that Young will simply be cut.

Meanwhile, the Lakers also signed Yi Jianlian from China. He was a draft bust from 2007. The No. 6 overall pick played 272 games over five seasons, first with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Clippers: Paul Pierce said he will return for a 19th NBA season, according to the Orange County Register.

Kings: People love lists, so the NHL Network created a time killer, “Top 20 Defensemen in the Game Now.” Drew Doughty is No. 1. Not a bad choice.