St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti during training camp at the NFL football team's practice facility Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson
December 07, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) Frank Cignetti paid the price for the failures of the St. Louis Rams' offense.

There's not much time left for his successor to pick up the pieces.

The Rams, next to last in offense in the NFL and last in several key categories, fired their offensive coordinator Monday. Rob Boras, assistant head coach/offense and tight ends coach, will take over the coordinating duties.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday he was making the move now thinking about the future of the franchise. He's in his fourth season and yet to field a winning team with St. Louis (4-8).

''All the blame's not to fall on his shoulders, but that's the way this business works,'' Fisher said, adding players should also shoulder responsibility.

''Everybody contributed,'' the coach added, ''but we have to move in a different direction.''

Fisher said he'd been thinking of making a change for a few weeks. He said he hadn't told Cignetti until relieving him of his duties at about noon Monday, then told the players about two hours later.

''I've looked hard at it over the last couple weeks,'' Fisher said. ''We're getting what we want out of them on the practice field and it's not carrying over to the game.''

Fisher said it'll still be a run-first offense, just as it was under Cignetti, but a bit more creative. He also thought the switch would ''stimulate the staff.''

St. Louis has lost five in a row and had a season low for points in a 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Before the skid, the franchise had a winning record in November for the first time since 2006.

''It doesn't matter if I've been here eight years, it hurts the same for everybody,'' defensive end Chris Long said Sunday. ''That's losing in embarrassing fashion five games in a row. The guys in here are not happy, I can guarantee that.''

Both the 45-year-old Boras and the 50-year-old Cignetti had been with Jeff Fisher since the head coach was hired in 2012. Cignetti was quarterbacks coach for three seasons and was promoted to offensive coordinator in February after Brian Schottenheimer became offensive coordinator at Georgia.

Boras also had been a finalist for the coordinator's job back in February. Cignetti's experience calling plays had been the tipping factor then, and now that'll be Boras' job.

Kenan Smith was promoted from offensive assistant to tight ends coach. He had been helping with tight ends.

The Rams are last in the NFL in passing and last in third-down conversions with a success rate of just 24.5 percent. They've been hard-hit by injuries on the offensive line after beginning the season with the youngest group in the league, with five rookies getting starts.

St. Louis was held to 212 yards and nine first downs Sunday, and was 1 for 12 on third-down conversions. It's been held to single-digit scoring three times this season.

Opponents are averaging about 10 more offensive snaps per game. On Sunday, the Cardinals ran 84 plays and had the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game, while the Rams ran just 50 plays.

Fisher changed quarterbacks again Sunday, making backup Case Keenum the starter this week against Detroit at home. Keenum was cleared from a concussion in time to serve as the backup against the Cardinals, but Fisher didn't want to use him because of a lack of practice snaps.

Nick Foles has been a bust with just seven touchdown passes to go with 10 interceptions, including four the last two weeks when he returned to the starting job after Keenum was injured.

Fisher said two players in the concussion protocol, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and tight end Lance Kendricks, were both improving. The coach was more concerned about safety T.J. McDonald, who was undergoing tests for a shoulder injury.

Replacement kicker Zach Hocker will undergo an MRI for a thigh injury that limited him Sunday. Fisher was optimistic regular kicker Greg Zuerlein would be able to kick in practice when the team returns Wednesday.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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