Coach Fisher's Conference Call to Buffalo Media





(on the win against the 49ers and the sudden turnaround from 0-6)


I passed out Volume two of How to Coach Football [laughter] to the staff during the bye week. What's interesting is I really think it's, there's a couple things. We were minus 14 in takeaway's after the first six weeks of the season, I'm being corrected, minus 10. The big thing the last couple of weeks is we're plus six and haven't turned the ball over. If you can get it turned over and run it like we've been then you've got a chance to win games. But the difference is that we've also healed up a little bit. All around the league people are dealing with injuries, but we missed Vinny Fuller our nickel back and Cortland Finnegan our corner. We got them back the last couple of weeks so we've settled down a little bit in the secondary.

(on his approach when the team was 0-6)

They're frustrated, but they still came to work with a lot of energy and they worked. We had good practice sessions really since the offseason and through training camp. The first three games, a play here or a play there and the outcome's different. Then we had the three in the middle that wasn't good, especially the New England thing. That was hard to work with. The bye week came at a good time. We corrected some things, we got some rest, we worked on some things and fortunately we've won a couple of games now. It's a one week at a time affair in the National Football League and so all of our focus is on this week's opponent.

(on defense's putting a spy on Vince Young)

There's not as much spying as there was early in his career. I think defenses changed a little bit. But as you say, with C.J. (Chris Johnson) doing what he's doing, most of the focus is on the running back.

(on what Vince Young learned while sitting out last season)

I think it was a tremendous experience for him last year watching Kerry (Collins) preparing as the backup for Kerry week after week after week. I think that was a very positive experience for him. Then of course going into the offseason and into camp, everything they did has shown really the last couple of weeks. As I said several weeks ago, we had two starters at the quarterback position and it was time to make a change. I'm pleased with how he's done thus far.

(on if Vince Young has a better appreciation for the game now)

I think the experience itself has helped in a lot of areas. He knows what it takes. He knows it's a challenge each and every week. I think also, in his case, we've surrounded him with good players. The offensive line is solid. They've been able to protect the quarterback. When you can run the football, everybody's lives become that much easier.

(on if Vince Young has developed mental toughness in the NFL)

I need to remind you he was 18-11 as a starter when he injured the knee in the opener last year. So, he had won games for us. He took us to the playoffs. I think the process, it takes time. The position is not easy to play. It takes time. I was not displeased with where he was or his progress at that point. It was just time to make a change because of the things that occurred. So, when we made the change he accepted it and he did everything he possibly could in the interim to prepare himself to play. Now he's gotten that opportunity. It has paid dividends for him

(on if he reflects on the Music City Miracle play)

As far as reflect on it, yeah. For the organization and this staff, it was our first playoff experience as long as I've been here. I started in 1994 and we were four years without. It was our first playoff game and clearly we were able to win that game. I think the play was unique in that it propelled us a little bit. I remember talking to the team before the game and there was literally, with the exception of the punter and maybe a couple players, zero playoff experience on the roster, explaining to them the difference between the postseason and the regular season. When the game was over, we didn't play particularly well but we found a way to win it. I remember both Steve (McNair) and Eddie (George) saying, 'You're right, there was a big jump but we're okay now. We'll be okay.'

(on the argument that the Bills have not recovered since the Music City Miracle)

I'm certainly not making that argument, things happen. There are other teams in the league that have not won playoff game for a lot of years. The National Football League cycles, teams go to the Super Bowl and win championships like Tampa Bay and the Rams, and all of the sudden there's turnover, there's injury and there's change. There are setbacks and you work to get back on top again. So, I've seen some really good football teams on the field for the Bills organization since that playoff game.

(on the close games between the Bills and the Titans over the years)

I think it's been good matchups. Buffalo has always been a well coached team. They've always had very aggressive defenses with good speed. It seems like they've always had good receivers and focused on the running game. I think both of the teams mirror each other. They follow the same philosophies, so as a result you get close games.

(on Chris Johnson's impact on the team)

He's got tremendous speed, vision, obviously, acceleration. He's unique that for his size he's a good inside runner. It's not like defenses have to defend just the outside run play or the toss, the stretch or the boundary. He's a good inside runner as well. He makes defenses, I don't like to use the word be honest, but they have to play defense. He's not a one-dimensional runner. I think that makes him special. Of course, when he gets the ball in his hands he's got tremendous speed that just changes angles. When you have to adjust your angles to the speed, you make yourself vulnerable to cutback.

(on being with the Titans for so long)

I'm very fortunate and that all starts with the ownership. Mr. Adams has been a terrific owner. He understands that there's going to be some tough times, there's going to be injuries, there's going to be things that happen. He believes in the philosophy and understands that we're committed to do what he hired us to do and to try and win championships.

(on Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz being in Nashville for a long time too)

Well, I have a great deal of respect for Barry. I think he's done a tremendous job here considering the circumstances he's had to overcome. The ownership has a great deal of confidence in him and he does a great job communicating. He always puts a team on the ice that's very competitive.

(on the defenses struggles)

Well, you can use stats however you want, today for example, Buffalo's defense against the run. I think that's a misleading stat. They've been rushed 60 more times than the league average. So, you can use them however you want. We did not play well the first six weeks in any phase. We turned the ball over and gave up way too many big plays. It's one of those things where you'd like to be able to put your finger on one thing, but you can't. It's a team related thing. We kind of circled the wagon starting the bye week, got healthy, got back to playing the way we're capable of playing.

(on Chris Johnson's biggest runs coming through the middle)

He gets through there so quick. Safeties have a lot of responsibilities in regards to if there's one in the middle of the field or two playing halves. He gets through there so quick there's very little time to adjust.

(on if there are more eight man fronts)

We've always faced that. That's kind of been the nature of our offense is to run with an extra guy on the line of scrimmage. I think that's what makes C.J.'s (Chris Johnson) effort thus far so precious. People are committing to stopping it, but he's still able to do it.

(on if LenDale White's lack of carries is because Chris Johnson is running well)

Not necessarily, I'd say maybe the last couple of weeks yes, but the first six, no. We found ourselves trailing and throwing to catch up. A couple games the time of possession was skewed or got behind. My hope is that things will even out as the year goes on.

(on if the defense runs a lot of heavy packages)

This is a tight defense. When Jim (Schwartz) took over for Gregg (Williams) there were some adjustments made, not because of the personalities in the change of staff, because the change of personnel. That's what we've done now that Chuck (Cecil) has taken over for Jim. It's our defense and we've had to make some changes. I think for the most part over the years we've done a pretty good job evaluating where our strengths and weaknesses were through the offseason and training camp and gone ahead and try to do the things that you're capable of doing during the year. Sometimes they change, but I think to answer your question, I think the playbook is very similar as to when Gregg was here.

(on developing defensive lineman)

I think it's a combination of things. It starts with the evaluation process. Often times the evaluation process and then the whole coaching aspects are disjointed. We work so close together with the personnel department. They have a sense for what we like. We're involved in those decisions and I think Coach (Jim) Washburn does a great job developing young players.

(on going from 13-3 to 0-6)

I think you have to try and keep it in perspective. What we try do is this, you take it one week at a time to put the loss in perspective and move on, try to continue to improve. The players did a great job staying focused and not being distracted by the critics or what have you, what was being said, just stay focused and trust each other and try to work knowing that at some point we'll get out of it. I think they did. I think the bye week was a huge step in that process.

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