Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that frustrations for an 0-4 team are natural, but he believes the team is still together and not fracturing for a squad that opened the season with such high expectations.
In the wake of Sunday’s 37-17 throttling by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titans now face even tougher challenges the next two weeks, hosting the Indianapolis Colts then visiting the New England Patriots.
“Based on my experience as a head coach in the National Football League, I’ve been around a lot of teams, and I think I can judge teams,” Fisher said. “This is a quality team, a team with a good locker room, and I think it’s a good team talent-wise. There’s not anybody pointing fingers.
“Yes, there’s going to be the post-game frustration that you have, especially when you have a team with such high expectations. But when you come back to work Monday, this team understands where they are, and together they understand it.”
After Sunday’s loss, the mood was one of disappointment and a subdued feel, rather than some of the straight anger that had permeated the locker room after the first three losses.
“We’ve got to find a way to win one game and get that feeling back in our locker room,” center Kevin Mawae said after Sunday’s game. “It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing to say the least. How, it doesn’t matter how we get it. We’ve just got to go back to work and get it as quickly as possible.”
That is a tall order with a red-hot Peyton Manning coming to town with four consecutive 300-yard passing games to his credit, with the Titans having given up 300 or more through the air in three of their losses this season.
The status of both starting cornerbacks will be uncertain as well. Cortland Finnegan missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, and Nick Harper exited in the second half with sore ribs. X-rays were negative, but Harper will be “day-to-day,” says Fisher.
Other than those changes potentially dictated by injuries, Fisher said there will not be any other wholesale moves or reshuffling of the lineup.
“By and large the players that are playing right now, with the exception of the guys that need to heal up, are the players that we’re going to go with. I don’t see any drastic, dramatic changes, no,” Fisher said.
He reiterated his belief in quarterback Kerry Collins, who has played well at times, but has been plagued with six interceptions in four games thus far.
Fisher said he will resist the urge to switch to backup Vince Young. Asked why, Fisher pointed to Collins’ play in directing the offense a year ago.
“One in particular is that we won 13 games with him last year. We hadn’t won a game with Vince at that point,” Fisher said. “Kerry’s not the problem. Kerry is making plays, and putting the ball where it needs to be put. I’m not pleased with the interceptions, but other than that, going back over the last few weeks, Kerry has made some great throws and made some plays. We just need to play better around him.”
The coach also indicated that he has communicated with owner Bud Adams recently and that while the owner is disappointed, he understands the situation the team is in.
"He feels no different than we do," Fisher said of Adams. "We all had high expectations, and we're disappointed."