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John Fassel probably said more than he should have about Jared Goff

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While Richard Sherman's tackle sent Jared Goff out of the Rams vs. Seahawks game and into the concussion protocol, it appears to be legal hit according to the NFL's rules.

Rams interim head coach John Fassel consistently has generated the impression that he’s overwhelmed by the job that he unexpectedly inherited four days ago, at times demonstrating a Chris-Farley-interviewing-Paul-McCartney sense of awe regarding the gig.

Here’s one specific area where Fassel finds himself over his skis: Comments to the media about players in the concussion protocol.

Last month, the league directed all teams to “refrain from making public comments regarding the condition of a concussed player or speculating as to when he may return to practice and play once in the concussion protocol,” and to respond to questions about players in the concussion protocol by saying “that the player is in the concussion protocol under the supervision of the medical team, and the club will monitor his status.”

Asked Friday by reporters regarding the condition of concussed quarterback Jared Goff, Fassel said more than “the player is in the concussion protocol under the supervision of the medical team, and the club will monitor his status.”

"[O]ur schedule for the week is the players will he off Saturday and Sunday,” Fassel said. “There will be treatments Saturday and Sunday morning. Then when we come back Monday, we’re going to treat it like our normal week Tuesday. So, he’ll get three more days to get treated and become assessed, and we’ll probably make a decision from there where he’s at, how much he’ll be able to do in practice. By then, we’ll probably have a better idea of how close he’ll be to playing in the game.”

The decision as to whether and to what extent Goff will be able to practice won’t be made by “we"; it will be made by the medical team only. While Fassel stopped far short of saying anything that would suggest the team will apply any direct or indirect pressure to doctors to secure Goff’s clearance to play, the terms of the memo are clear -- and it’s clear that Fassel said more than he should have.

It’s only partially his fault. Thrust into the job on a short week, Fassel had too much to digest and process and execute in the last four days than any reasonable person should be required to do. Still, the team is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the head coach complies with all applicable policies, and a team’s decision to take the unprecedented step of firing a coach one day after a game and three days before the next one and appointing an interim coach with no head-coaching experience necessarily will result in mistakes being made.

Which would have made it far more sensible to keep Jeff Fisher through Thursday’s game, firing him with nine full days until the next one.