Fisher remains on the job while Adams mulls Titans' future

Monday, January 3, 2011 at 6:57pm

Jeff Fisher still has his job. For now.

The Tennessee Titans’ head coach, currently the NFL’s longest-tenured sideline boss, acknowledged Monday a “unique” set of circumstances surrounding the end of the 2010 season that includes the possibility he might be replaced before the start of next season.

He also expressed confidence that two other senior members of the organization, general counsel and executive assistant to chairman of the board Steve Underwood and executive vice president and general manager Mike Reinfeldt, support the idea that Fisher should remain on the job, at least for the remainder of his current contract, which has one more season.

Underwood and Reinfeldt were in Houston on Monday and met with owner Bud Adams, in what looks to be a concerted effort to keep Fisher in place. Any significant decisions regarding staff or personnel — namely the future of quarterback Vince Young — were placed on hold indefinitely.

“I met for several hours [Monday] with Steve Underwood and Mike Reinfeldt about our organization and where we go from here,” Adams said in a statement released by the team. “I will continue to review all aspects of what we do as a football team, including the coaching staff and other decisions that are in front of us.

“There are several things that need to be considered in this evaluation process, including Jeff’s history with our team, the labor situation and other challenges. I have been at this for a long time, and these decisions take time and thoughtful consideration. I will make the decisions that I feel are in the best interest of the team. I do understand the time element involved and would expect to make these decisions in the near future.

“In the meantime, I will continue to be in contact with Jeff and the senior staff for any additional information that I may need.”

Fisher is the franchise’s all-time winningest coach with a career 147-126 record. He also is the only coach ever to take the team to a Super Bowl, which he did in the 1999 season.

However, the Titans have not won a playoff game since 2003 and have gone 54-58, capped by a 6-10 mark in 2010, in the seven seasons that have followed.

“I’m in a situation here, probably for the first time in my career, where there’s curiosity regarding my tenure here,” Fisher said. “It is a process and we’re going to continue to discuss it. We have some difficult decisions to make, and we’ll continue with that.

“I’ve got a great working relationship with [Reinfeldt] and [Underwood] and we all do with Mr. Adams. This is what’s in the best interests of this organization and collectively. We will come to a conclusion.”

It was clear in what Fisher did not say that Young’s status is the primary factor in his own future with the team he has led since late in 1994, when he replaced Jack Pardee with six games to go.

Any and all questions about Young’s current or future standing in the organization were deflected.

“I’ll address the quarterback situation when the decision is made,” Fisher said.

Earlier in the day, many players were hopeful that Fisher and Young could coexist.

Fisher did offer expansive thoughts about Kerry Collins and the fact that he would welcome back the veteran quarterback, at least as a backup.

The only thing he revealed in regard to Young was that the player, who finished the season on injured reserve, was one of the few who did not show up Monday for exit interviews.

“He was never instructed not to come in,” Fisher said. “We have about 13 players on injured reserve. We had about half of them come in [Monday]; half did not.”

Fisher said that he had no immediate plans to travel to Houston for a face-to-face meeting with Adams but conceded it was possible that could happen before the end of the week. He also said it is likely that changes could be made to his coaching staff and that he planned to be the one to make any such moves.

“We’re in this situation because of wins and losses over the last couple of years,” Fisher said. “Had we been practicing this week [for a playoff game] we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’re not. Nor were we last year. So this is the situation we’re in. It’s the nature of this business.

“I have a great deal of confidence in [Reinfeldt] and respect for Mr. Adams to understand that it makes no sense to rush off to swift judgment in situations like this.”

Apparently it makes sense to figure out what the organization plans to do at quarterback first.

14 Comments on this post:

By: serr8d on 1/3/11 at 7:16

Damn, but I like Jeff Fisher. A good man. I hope he stands his ground, does what's best for himself this time.

If Vince Young is allowed to dictate terms to Jeff, to try to 'get away' with the actions he's exhibited (his immature tantrums and outbursts, his lack of serious off-the-field game study and his lack of on-the-field leadership quality, and no, Vince, a 'tweet! I'm sorry' doesn't count amongst real men), then attempting to go 'over Jeff's head' to 'ole Bud Adams, to override his coach's decisions, then truly Jeff should leave. And be very glad he did.

If that happens, what sort of coach who isn't a dreck would come on board here knowing what's just gone down ?

By: gapch51 on 1/3/11 at 11:25

If Bud Adams keeps Young and cuts Jeff Fisher loose, I would like to have the address to which ALL of my Titans goodies will be sent.
I whole heartedly agree with serr8d. Vince Young needs to grow up and be a pro. If he can't handle being a professional, he needs to admit it to himself and everyone else and move on. He has been given several chances to "grow up", but every time he falls right back into his self-consumed behavior.

By: gapch51 on 1/3/11 at 11:26

I'll send everything except my Drew Bennett autographed cap!!

By: richgoose on 1/4/11 at 12:17

To say that Bud Adams is an unusual man would be akin to saying that Rasputin was eccentric.

Adams will not be predictable in this case as he has not been predictable in the past.

He has elected to live in Houston while being one of the most dispised people in the entire city. Only a ghoul would consider that.

Jeff Fisher is going to have to beg this bucket of horse manure to keep his job.

Jeff, Unless you have lost all your money do not let this b-- -t- -d hold you hostage.

By: fdanshep on 1/4/11 at 7:35

I hope Jeff Fisher retains his job and I hope that Young is someone else's headache next year. Let's face it, when healthy, Kerry is a serviceable QB but he is not going to lead the Titans to the Superbowl. Vince is a nutcase with good athletic ability but not a franchise QB. The winning record that people throw out as a testimony to his being a "winning QB" has come against the lower echelon teams. He is not gong to lead the team to the superbowl and the other drama has gotten sickening.

We need Fisher and another quarterback to get this turned around on the offensive side and a hard look at the defensive coordinator.Titans should also take a hard look at getting Hainsworth back in the middle to apply pressure on the QB.

One thing that I think Fisher should do is get a little more like Bill Parcels, Mike Ditka, Tom Coughlin in his approach to the players. Jeff is known as a playrers coach. I think he needs to institute a little more fear of the consequences of bad play and mistakes in his players.

If Fisher goes and Vince stays I will be selling my lower bowl tickets as long as he is there.

By: Jagman on 1/4/11 at 7:56

Fisher should have been replaced a long time ago. Look at his winning percentage compared to other coaches. What has he done lately? He may be a "nice" man; but Bum and his son were nice too.

By: jwk6179 on 1/4/11 at 9:46

I say get rid of both Jeff Fisher and Vince Young. Fisher has been with the Oilers/Titans since the end of the 1994 season and usually, when a coach has been at one place that long, it gets harder and harder just to make to 8-8 every year. Also, with the exception of the second half of the fisrt Colts game, the Texans game at home and this past Sunday's Colts game, the team QUIT ON HIM. He has lost the locker room.

As far as Vince Young goes, I was never impressed with him as NFL QB. And I don't think a lot of other NFL teams are clamoring for him as a NFL QB, either. And to think, the MAJORITY of the Nashville Sports Media already had him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, just minutes after the Titans selected him in the 2006 Draft. Iirc, Mike Keith called Vince Young a "Future Hall Of Famer" right after the Titans selected him.

By: Magnum on 1/4/11 at 12:24

Jeff could stay or go as far as I'm concerned. He seems like a likeable guy and I hope he ends up in a good situation if he is forced out or decides to leave. Having said that, the thing that gets to me is that if he is ousted, it will be due to Young. To me, Young is a winning quarterback, exciting to watch and could even be considered a franchise quarterback...that is for about half to two thirds of the season. Then something happens. He breaks a nail, the media scrutinizes him a little too harshly, Fisher asks him to study the game, etc., etc., etc.

By: GUARDIAN on 1/4/11 at 12:41

GUARDIAN- Jeff Fisher is the heart and soul of the Titans. He is a TENNESSEAN at heart and without him they won't be my team.

By: yogiman on 1/4/11 at 3:47

If Adams keeps Young over Jeff Fisher, it makes you wonder where he got the brain to make his wealth.

Consider: Fisher goes, young is kept, and in his first game next year year he gets "slammed to the ground" and injured to an 'out of career' situation. Will Mr. Adams be so glad he kept him and got rid of Fisher? I don't think Young was that good of a "team man" to put into such an exceptional status.

By: wayneCaluger on 1/4/11 at 3:47

I feel obligated to respond the Bum Philips statement regarding he like Fisher was a nice guy but needed to go if the Titans are to ever succeed. Bum was named Oiler head coach in 1975 serving in that capacity through 1980. As coach of the Oilers, he became the winningest head coach in franchise history (59-38 record). Under Phillips the Oilers reached the AFC Championship Game in two consecutive seasons, losing to the Super Bowl-champion Steelers 34-5 in 1978 and 27-13 in 1979. Bum had his only Oilers head coach losing season in 1976 at 5-9. In 1975 he went 10-4; 8-6 in 1977; 10-6 in 1978 and 11-5 in both 1979 & 1980.

So, I’m not sure what being a nice guy has to do with not being a winning coach? It appears the polar opposite, Mike Ditka or a Buddy Ryan doesn’t work all that well either! How can you hold a coach totally accountable when an owner picks and backs players he picks while financially limiting his coaching staff on players they need to field a winning team.
What I think we can learn from Bum is reading between the lines of one of his many quotes. He said and I quote, "Dallas Cowboys may be America's team, but the Houston Oilers are a Texas' team". In my opinion this underscores Bud Adams team philosophy and is the root cause of the team inability to succeed regardless of who the head coach is. The Titans are a Texas team, not a Tennessee team and Bud is making sure it stays that way.
All you have to do is look at the makeup of the Titans. Of the 62 Titans players (53 active roster and 9 on Injured Reserve), six are from Texas colleges and five of those are from the University of Texas (Michael Griffin, Ahmard Hall, Bo Scaife, Chris Simms and Vince Young-- Kevin Matthews played at Texas A&M). The Titans have the largest number of players from one university (University of Texas) than any other NFL team. I can only recall a maximum of 2 players from UT-TN (currently none) being on the Titans since they moved to Tennessee, yet virtually every NFL game I’ve seen has at least one player from UT-TN and certainly not four or five from one college.
You would think if there were five players on the Titans roster it would be from a SEC team since the SEC surrounds Titans! Of the 62 Titans players (53 active roster and 9 on IR) 3 are from Auburn and Georgia, 2 are from Vanderbilt, and 1 from Mississippi State. If you add in the Practice Squad you have one each from LSU and Mississippi for a total of 11 from the SEC compared to 6 from two universities in Texas alone. I’m sure if you factor in the other 10 Big 12 Conference Teams will also have the largest number from any one conference as well.
Based on the number of UT-TX players on the Houston Titan roster it appears Bud has a bigger say so than just if his home town Houston quarterback plays and who goes if he doesn’t. When it comes to money he opens the wallet when it’s a UT-TX player and sits on it if they don’t.
Regardless if a coaching change is needed or not (we need a Defensive Cord) if Bud doesn’t cut VY loose first you can scratch every potential head coach off the list from Wade Philips on down. Forget top coaches like Cowher and Gruden naming a few who don’t need the Titans blemish on their resume. It’s insane to think any coach would want a job with both hands tied behind their back, told who they have to play, who to draft, free agent picks limited by money over need while inmates run the asylum as Warden Adam protects them from the guards/coaches.
And, regardless of chosen side or even if you are a football fan or not, if you live in Nashville you have a 200 million taxpayer backed bond for LP Field hanging over your head. With last nights WTVF on-line vote of 19% favoring giving Fisher the boot compared to 69% favoring giving VY the boot you better pray Adams listens to his paying customers. If not, Bud better figure out how bring Lombardi back from the grave, get off his wallet and everyone pray this doesn’t become another Houston Oiler disaster with taxpayers once again holding the Bud bag as he moves on to another city.

By: serr8d on 1/4/11 at 7:25

Nice summation, Wayne. Very nice. Thanks for that.

By: richgoose on 1/4/11 at 9:55

WAYNECALUGER............Nothing has been written or posted about the Oilers/Titans franchise that captures the essence of a Bud Adams franchise better than your comments.

I post repeatedly that this is and has always been a mediocre franchise even with the best of coaches.

I cannot imagine Dungy,Gruden,Cowher,Harbaugh or any other top name coach even considering becoming the coach of a Bud Adams franchise.

Nashville and middle Tennessee paid a terrible price over the long term for this NFL franchise.

By: dangerlover on 1/5/11 at 2:18

For the record, Waynecaluger is incorrect about the Titans being the only team with 5 players from the same university...the Bears have 5 from Vanderbilt. I have a hard time following the logic that an NFL team should attempt to aggregate talent from one region given the distribution of talent across CFB and the way the draft and free agency work.

I also take issue with the characterization of Gruden as a top notch coach...riding the coattails of Dungy to the superbowl does not an elite coach make. Like him or not, Fisher is the best Tennessee will do for now.