Rams fire coach, GM after another dismal year

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Next year will be Chris Long’s fifth season with the St. Louis Rams. The defensive end will be playing for his fourth coach in a seemingly endless cycle of futility.

Having survived Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett and Steve Spagnuolo, who knows what’s next? And this time, the Rams also are shopping for a general manager.

It's building, it’s rebuilding. It's building, it’s rebuilding,” Long said. “We take some hits and we have to get back up and dust ourselves off. We’ll certainly have to dust ourselves off after this season.”

Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney were fired Monday, one day after the Rams wrapped up a 2-14 season tied for the NFL’s worst. Kevin Demoff, vice president and chief operating officer, said owner Stan Kroenke made the decision Sunday night.

Demoff said a report that former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher had already been scheduled for the first interview was “100 percent false.” But he added that Fisher was a “potentially attractive candidate.”

Demoff’s father, Marvin Demoff, is Fisher’s agent.

“I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that because I happen to know someone that knows Jeff well, that I know Jeff well, that Jeff’s going to be our head coach,” Kevin Demoff said. “I know that makes for great conjecture, great Internet fodder and stokes the rumor mill but it’s completely unfounded,”

Devaney said in a statement Monday night that while the record was disappointing, “I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.” He thanked Kroenke and the previous owners, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, for hiring him and also thanked fans for their support.

“To all in St. Louis, I’ll meet you further on up the road,” Devaney said. “Cheers!”

Demoff expects the search for both positions to be concluded in the next few weeks and said it didn’t necessarily matter which position was filed first. Former coach Dick Vermeil and Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk will be consultants, and Demoff said Kroenke “will be heavily involved.”

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the only assistant coach under contract through next season.

“I’m sure Josh will have opportunities around the NFL to possibly be a coordinator or better throughout this process,” Demoff said. “It's going to be fluid, but we’ll figure out what’s best for both parties.”

The Rams made a six-win improvement last season and played for the NFC West title in the finale, but were just 10-38 overall in three seasons with Spagnuolo and Devaney calling the shots. Devaney joined the front office in 2008, but the Rams were 12-52 in his four years as GM.

It's amazing how easily it all could have gone the other way and this would be a totally different meeting at the end of the year,” Long said. “And, maybe we are still playing. It's a fine line between being good and bad in the NFL, and we’ve learned that over the past couple of years here.”

Kroenke fired his coach and GM with one year remaining on their contracts, and with fan interest dwindling. The Edward Jones Dome was little more than half-full later in the year and the team had to purchase tickets to meet requirements for a sellout in the finale.

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