Chris Long Feels the Rams have Confidence Under Jeff Fisher, Claims he’s Learned to ‘Work Smarter’ as a Veteran Player

December 20, 2012 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce

The St. Louis Rams may sit at 6-7-1 heading into the final two weeks of the NFL regular season, but this organization is brewing with much more confidence than it has in the past. Just look at how the Rams have played against the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers and you can see why Rams fans are excited about the future. Jeff Fisher has made this team competitive again.

Chris Long gives Coach Fisher high praise in the following interview, as well as his take on the Rams’ season so far.

Chris Long joined ESPN 101 in St.Louis on The Fast Lane to discuss the changes in his work ethic since his rookie season, a different vibe in the Rams’ locker room under Jeff Fisher, the coaching demeanor of Fisher behind the scenes and the progression of rookie Michael Brockers.

What’s different about this Chris Long compared to the one who came in the door as a rookie?

“Well, my body hurts more [laughs]. I think the experience. Every year you find ways to work harder. You think you are working as hard as you can as a rookie, but you find ways to work smarter and work harder and, in turn, play harder on Sunday. I’m able to play harder than I have ever played on Sunday, and more physically than I have ever played. I am not getting any younger, so what that’s telling me is that I am learning to work harder. There’s working smart and working hard. Learning from vets that I have been privileged enough to learn with really helps you a lot. It becomes more year-round. You have to take care of yourself more year-round, and now we are in the hunt and we have a great coach and things are looking up.”

Is there a whole different atmosphere in the locker room? Are you feeling something different?

“Yeah, it’s definitely something we can feel and it’s just confidence is what it boils down to. … Confidence is such a big key. You can’t fake it and you can’t produce it out of nothing, and Coach Fisher gives us that confidence that we are going to be in every game and it’s going to be on us to execute. As you see Sunday, if we don’t execute we’ll still lose the game in the NFL, but we are going to be in every game and we’ll be physically competitive and a team will walk away and say, ‘That team plays hard and that team plays physical.’ That’s fun for us.”

Is Jeff Fisher a mellow head coach who is confident?

“Jeff Fisher is great because less is more. It really is. It’s a true statement with pro players. We’re all intelligent and we all work hard and we all have a lot at stake. We don’t need a coach to make us want it more. He’s got the right guys in the room and he’s going to tell us what it takes to win and he’s going to put us in a position to win. It’s easy to want it when you have a coach like Jeff Fisher. You want to play hard for him and he takes care of you and he just trusts that he’s got the right guys in the locker room who work hard.”

What do you think about the rookie Michael Brockers so far?

“I think a lot of Brock. I think he works very hard and has a good attitude. A lot of kids, they don’t want to learn from older guys. He’s kind of welcomed that coaching and whatever we have to offer. … You can’t come in and pretend to fix every problem a rookie has. You want to help him when you can, but Brock has done a lot of this on his own and obviously he was dealing with an injury, which is tough, but I know what the injury is like and it took him about two months to get back to his real self and you started to see him playing like what we all expected late in the year, and he hasn’t looked back since he got healthy and he’s been better every game. We look to continue that trend.”

Listen to Chris Long on ESPN 101 in St.Louis here

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