January 07, 2012

The Rams' pursuit of Jeff Fisher, their top head coaching candidate, will take another significant step Sunday when Fisher visits the team's suburban St. Louis complex for a further round of interviews and meetings with club officials, a league source confirmed Saturday evening.

Fisher is being pursued by both St. Louis and Miami, and is expected to choose between the Rams and Dolphins at some point early next week. Despite at least one St. Louis-area radio report on Friday claiming Fisher was "on the verge'' of joining the Rams, the ex-Titans head coach has not made any decision or opened contract negotiations with St. Louis, the source said.

However, it is seen as a positive that Fisher wants to tour the Rams' team facility and meet as many members of the organization as possible, getting a feel for the operation he would be joining in St. Louis. Fisher interviewed with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and team officials in Denver at mid-week, because that's where Kroenke bases his operations. Kroenke also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. Fisher on Tuesday interviewed with the Dolphins at their team facility in South Florida.

While the Rams are still considered the slight favorite to land Fisher, a source said Fisher is intrigued by some aspects of the Miami job, beyond just the size of the contract the Dolphins are prepared to dangle before him. Miami owner Stephen Ross has said he will not be out-bid for Fisher's services, and it is expected the Dolphins will be able to top whatever salary range St. Louis offers.

After going to St. Louis on Sunday, Fisher will likely take Monday to make a decision, and then perhaps open contract negotiations on Tuesday with whichever team he chooses. By that timeline, it's expected he would be ready to be formally introduced as either the Rams or Dolphins' new head coach by Wednesday.

Beside Fisher, the only other coaching candidate who is known to have interviewed with the Rams is Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who met with Kroenke and Rams COO/football operations chief Kevin Demoff Friday in Denver. But the Rams are believed to have as many as eight or so other potential coaching candidates identified in their search for the fired Steve Spagnuolo's replacement.

In addition, the Rams are known to have interviewed at least one general manager candidate on Saturday, after firing GM Billy Devaney last Monday. One name to know in the Rams' general manager search is Lake Dawson, the former Chiefs receiver who this season was Tennessee's vice president of football operations. Dawson worked the previous four years as the Titans director of pro scouting, and he is known to be someone Fisher would be comfortable with if St. Louis hires both men to front the organization. Even if Fisher doesn't take the Rams job, Dawson is considered a strong candidate for the Rams GM position.

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