Wednesday, January 5, 2011
With VY out, is Adams sticking with Fisher?
By Paul Kuharsky
Jeff Fisher may still not be safe now that Vince Young is out.
Bud Adams loved Vince Young, but the Titans' owner was not beyond convincing.
He came to see Young as Jeff Fisher had. Senior executive vice president Steve Underwood and general manager Mike Reinfeldt backed Fisher’s stance and evidently persuaded Adams that Young was not right for the future of the franchise.
The Titans are moving forward with Young out of the plans. (See this post for the statements with the news.)
Fisher has won Round 1, but he has not won.
Included in Adams’ statement was this: “I also informed Jeff today that I was continuing the evaluation of the coaching staff and I am hoping to make a decision soon.”
I’ve been saying that in Fisher versus Young, Fisher had to win.
But has Fisher become stale and expendable as well? He certainly overestimated his 2010 roster, underestimated the leadership void and oversaw insufficient in-game adjustments. Judge him strictly on his merits, with Young now out of the equation, and a case can still be made for change.
Maybe he had a quarterback forced on him, but Adams didn’t push any defenders on Fisher. A defensive coach, Fisher had an awful defense this season.
Still, with Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis getting a new contract and Houston's Gary Kubiak and Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio surviving, it's hard to envision Adams paying Fisher for 2011 as well as paying a new coach while labor strife may result in a lockout.
I suspect this will all amount to an in-house trade -- Young off the roster and the right for Fisher to approve the next quarterback in exchange for Fisher making some staff alterations.
Fisher’s under contract through 2011, but all but one of his assistants have expiring deals.
The most controversial guy is defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, who Fisher promoted from defensive backs coach two years ago when Jim Schwartz left for Detroit. I thought he was growing on the job, but several players have grumbled about his unwillingness, or inability, to make in-game adjustments. And he’s not the one assistant with another year on his deal.
It would be very difficult for the super-loyal Fisher to sign off on parting with Cecil, but he probably must be flexible here.
While we await Phase 2 of Adams’ decision, here’s numerical context on Fisher that Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats & Info compiled for us.
Fisher’s winning percentage now is .542 (142-120). Among NFL coaches who have at least 140 regular-season wins, only Dan Reeves has a lower win percentage. Reeves was 190-165-2 in the regular season, for a .535 mark.
Among head coaches with at least 140 regular-season wins, no one has had fewer winning seasons than Fisher’s six. The next closest would be nine winning seasons (Mike Shanahan and Marv Levy).
If you knock that down to a 120-win threshold, Fisher still has the fewest winning seasons. Jim Mora (215), Dick Vermeil (120), Mike Ditka (121) and Weeb Ewbank (130) all had seven winning seasons.
Among coaches with 140 regular season wins, Fisher’s 5-6 playoff record makes for the third-worst playoff winning percentage (.455). Marty Schottenheimer is at .278 (5-13) , Chuck Knox at .389 (7-11) and Bud Grant is also at .455 (10-12).