Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Jeff Fisher happy for Mike Munchak
ESPN.com news services
Mike Munchak on Monday became just the second coach of the Titans since the franchise moved to Tennessee from Houston in 1997. And the man he replaces, Jeff Fisher, gave his former assistant a glowing endorsement.
"I have confidence in him and think he'll do a great job," Fisher told the Tennessean. "Mike and I are good friends, and he has been with this organization longer than I was. Whatever I can do for Mike in the future, I'd be more than willing to help. But he's going to do a great job.''
Mike Munchak takes over as coach of the franchise that drafted him in 1982 and retired his No. 63 in 1996.
Fisher was the Titans/Oilers coach for 16 seasons. The 51-year-old Munchak has been with the Titans franchise as a player or coach since being drafted by the Oilers in 1982. Munchak had been Fisher's offensive line coach the past 14 seasons before being promoted to head coach.
Munchak, who becomes the 16th head coach in Titans/Oilers franchise history, made one thing very clear Monday: Change is coming, even though he coached under Fisher for so long.
"I'm going to be my own man, and I'll be judged by what I do and not what was done before me. I'm not looking here to blame anybody about what was left for me," Munchak said. "I think it's a great opportunity here with what we have, and I think I'm the guy to pick up the pieces and hopefully get us in the right direction."
Fisher told the Tennessean that Munchak is making a smart move by changing things up.
"Mike needs to change things," he told the newspaper. "He needs to do things different. Everything from minor schedule changes to even a culture change, and he knows that and will do that."
Owner Bud Adams called Munchak's hiring a special day for the franchise. Munchak became the first former player to coach the team.
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"He has been a hard worker, and he has only known success and how to achieve success," Adams said Monday by telephone from his Houston office. "He made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has the respect of people he played with and those who have played for him. He is a smart football man and leader who will guide us again into the playoffs."
Fisher told the Tennessean that Munchak will earn his team's respect.
"There is no nonsense with Mike, and the players will find that out,'' Fisher told the newspaper. "He will command their respect and attention, and I believe he has the total respect of the players.''
Munchak will have flexibility to fill his staff as he'd like. He made the first major change Tuesday, Mike Heimerdinger, who had interviewed for the Titans' head coaching opening, was fired as offensive coordinator.
Munchak said Monday he wasn't committing to anyone just yet.
"I feel like we're starting fresh. It's not same old, same old. We come in, sit down and figure out what's best for the Titans going forward with what we have. ... Anything's possible," Munchak said.
Munchak has to fill at least six positions left open by his promotion -- the firing of defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil and departures of assistants who coached the defensive line, running backs and wide receivers. His best friend and former teammate Bruce Matthews is considered a possibility to replace him on the line, but he is an offensive assistant coach with the Houston Texans.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.