Coach Fisher's Monday Press Conference




Monday, January 3, 2011

(opening statement)

Okay, as you can see by the statement that you were just handed from Mr. Adams, the process has begun.  It is a process that is very complicated and sophisticated, there is a great deal of uncertainty as it would relate to the labor situation.  There are a lot of things that are going to be continued to be discussed.  I can confirm that Mike (Reinfeldt) and Steve (Underwood) did go to Houston this morning, they met with Mr. Adams—I did not, for obvious reasons.  I had the team to deal with today.  We will continue meeting, I just visited with Mike and Steve and we're going to continue the process.  I know I am in a situation here, probably for the first time in my career, where there is curiosity regarding my tenure here.  I know that everyone has a lot of questions here, but it is a process and we're going to continue to discuss it.  We have, as you can appreciate, some difficult decisions to make so we'll continue with that.  In the event that I can't answer your questions it is because we're still in the process.

(on if it bothers him he might have to wait to learn whether or not he will be retained as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans)

No, it doesn't.  I think the perception is that decisions are going to get made first thing Monday morning, and that has been the case around the league, but it's not going to be the case here.  I am not troubled whatsoever simply because we have great communication lines right now.

(on when he is going to go to Houston to meet with Tennessee Titans Owner Bud Adams)

We haven't discussed that yet.  We'll visit tonight and I could go in the next couple of days, and it may not be necessary to go, we don't know.  The communication lines are wide open.

(on if he wants to be the head coach of the Titans if Vince Young is on the team next year)

Again, there are some things that we have to discuss.  As I said, we would address the quarterback situation when the season is over and it's been over for less than 24 hours, so we still need some time.

(on if Vince Young's presence on the team undermines his authority as head coach)

Again, I'll address the quarterback situation when the decision has been made.

(on if he would be open to the idea of being traded to another team to be their head coach)

The league bylaws prohibit trading coaches for compensation.  You are no longer able to do that; the last time that was done I believe was (Jon) Gruden.  It's not a question, it's not a possibility—and I am under contract here.  I've said time and time again, I hope to finish my career here.

(on how important it is for everyone involved that a decision is made relatively quickly)

There are a lot of things involved here, as we alluded to.  There are staffing decisions that may be affected by this.  Anytime you get in a situation like this there is going to be change, and so there is the potential for change.  I was one coach short this year when Kennedy (Pola) left, so there is going to be some change there.  The sooner the better, but again, as complicated as these issues are, it makes no sense and I have a great deal of confidence in Mike (Reinfeldt) and respect for Mr. Adams to understand that it makes no sense to rush off to swift judgment in decisions like this.

(on what he thinks is a reasonable timetable for the decision regarding his future with the Titans)

I can't go there.  I know that we're going to be meeting.  I'm going to visit with Mike (Reinfeldt) and Steve (Underwood) some more tonight and there will be discussions over the next few days.  Again time frame—I know the curiosity is there, I know the speculation is there as well, but we're going to do what is in the best interest of this organization. 

(on if Mr. Adams has total control in the decision regarding his future as head coach or if he has some power in the decision as well)

Again, I want to say this, I have a great working relationship with Mike (Reinfeldt) and Steve (Underwood) and we all do with Mr. Adams.  This is what is in the best interest of this organization and collectively we will come to a solution.  We just have not had the time to address it.

(on why he's the best choice for the head coach of the Tennessee Titans)

I feel like I've been the best coach for this team since I've been here.  I understand this team; I have a great relationship with Mr. Adams and Steve (Underwood) and Mike (Reinfeldt) and I think they understand the direction, they understand the difficulties that we've had and we're all in this to do one thing and that is to get back to the playoffs and win a championship.

(on what changes he thinks need to be made to improve the Titans as a football team)

Obviously, we've got to address our defense.  I think we became a little deficient on defense this year from a personnel standpoint, from an injury standpoint.  Obviously, as I've been talking about for weeks, we need stability and continuity at the quarterback position.  That started the ball rolling, as it would have the impact that it had on the defense.

(on it the current uncertainty regarding his job is challenging to himself personally)

It's not, as I said to Steve (Underwood) and Mike (Reinfeldt), I said we have some work to do and we'll get through it.  We've been through tough times before and we roll our sleeves up and we work ourselves out of it.

(on if he is willing to make coaching staff changes)

You're dealing with hypotheticals.  I have been the one who has made the staff changes since I really I took over.  So if there is changes, those changes will be made by me.  I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done if in fact we do need to make changes.

(on whether the decision is about wins and losses or his relationship with his quarterback)

We are in this situation particularly because of wins and losses over the last couple of years.  Had we been practicing this week, we wouldn't be having this conversation.  We are not, nor were we last year.  It is the situation that we are in; it is the nature of this business.

(on whether he is alright coaching with just one year left on his contract)

Again it is one of those things that we are discussing.  I know there are a lot of questions like that but until we are able to sift through everything, I can't comment on all that.

(on what he would tell Mr. Adams about the future of Vince Young as a quarterback)

That would be between Mr. Adams and myself.

(on if he has control of the 53-man roster under his contract)

I have never discussed stipulations in my contract and I won't.

(on if he misevaluated parts of the roster that cost the team)

Again I go back to the injuries and the difficulty at the quarterback position over that three or four-week stretch.  We didn't anticipate that.  To me that is where things started and then of course I mentioned you saw what Kenny Britt can do on the field.  He certainly was off to a big night last night before he got hurt.

(on if the message to Mr. Adams is that we have most of the pieces and we just have to keep them healthy)

I believe he has a pretty good understanding of our roster, clearly, as it has been communicated through Mike (Reinfeldt) and myself.  The foundation is here.  We just need to upgrade some positions. 

(on whether he has spoken to Mr. Adams since Vince Young was placed on injured reserve)

Yes, I have had a conversation with him.

(on how recently they talked)

Not in the last couple of weeks.

(on how much of a wild card the impending lockout is in the determination)

Again you talk about a complicated process.  It is complicated.  If there is in fact a lockout and we go through the draft for example if you wanted to trade for a player you couldn't.  You can only trade picks.  There are a lot of different things involved in this right now.  That is why we are taking our time and exercising as careful consideration as we can.

(on if he feels like he has to win his job back)

No I don't.  The only thing I have to prove is just winning ballgames.  We are trying to put, through this process, put this organization in a position where we can do that once again.

(on what this team needs to go get to improve on the field)

First off, the season is less than 24 hours old.  We have a process that we go through as it would relate to evaluating the players, ranking the players with the staff, working with Mike (Reinfeldt's) people upstairs with the pro personnel department and so on and so forth.  At first glance, we have to address the quarterback situation for the future.  We have to address our defense.  We have to address the penalty situation specifically on defense.  We have other statistical areas that I think are obvious, our third-down efficiency on defense.  We have to get the run game going once again.  There are a number of issues and they are addressed by scheme, through personnel, through emphasis, but all those have to be addressed.

(on whether he thinks Mr. Adams is on board that the team has to address the quarterback situation)

Again it is a process and it's communication that has taken place between the four of us.

(on if Vince Young was instructed not to come in for an exit physical like the rest of the team)

He was never instructed not to come in.  We have 13 players on injured reserve.  We had about half of them come in today, and half did not because they wouldn't pass physicals and they're undergoing rehab.  And he did not come in today.

(on whether or not Young should be present)

Again, it goes back to why he came for just the third quarter of that ballgame and hasn't been here.  You're going to have to ask him.

(on how Fisher stands with Steve Underwood and Mike Reinfeldt)

I think we're clearly on the same page, and I think all of us understand what's important as the future, as we move forward, in the future of this organization. 

(on whether or not he will talk to Vince Young in the process)

Again, as we go through the process, and we talk about the future of this team, and we address the different situations, there's always that possibility.  But these are discussions that are going to take place between the four of us and nobody else.

(on if there's a point where this process can take too long)

You know what, yeah, if we're sitting here after the draft.  But I think everybody understands that this is something that needs to get put behind us.  Again, I understand the curiosity, and I understand the need for answers right now, but we'll get them to you as soon as we have them.

(on if Mr. Adams has the same sense of urgency)

Yes, he does.  He clearly does.

(on if Fisher gets the sense that Mr. Adams is displeased)

You know, we've talked about the overall success and failures of the football team and why, and addressed specific areas.

(on if he wants Vince Young back as the quarterback)

Again, when the decision is made, I'll voice my opinions on that.

(on how much the Vince Young situation impacted the team)

That would be difficult to answer.  Vince has won a lot of games for us when he's been healthy.  So it would be hard to quantify that. 

(on his confidence that other quality quarterbacks would be available)

We haven't come to a conclusion yet, so I hate to speculate that we've drawn that conclusion, and now we're going to go out and decide who's going to be there.  Once we're through with this, we'll simply do our best we can to illustrate the direction of this franchise.

(on if the process is the same as any other year)

Well, clearly circumstances make it different.  The evaluation process that I spoke of that the staff will do and the player evaluation and, of course, our medical evaluations, all those are consistent with how we handle them year after year.  But no, this process is a little more unique.

(on the strangeness of being on the "hot seat" when most think he could get another job quickly)

You know what?  It's part of this profession.  I can go to the training room right now and get a thermometer and drop it on my chair in my office, and it isn't hot.  Not in my office.  That seat's not hot in there.  It's the same seat I've been sitting in for years.  So that's the perception out there.  Again, I'm trying to assist the organization in a process that's complicated.

(on if he feels confident that he's still the best person for the job)

Yes, I do.  I have said that.  I'm under contract here, and I want to finish my career here.

(on people that say change is needed for the organization and for him personally)

You know, I've been asked that year after year after year: how do you keep going?  Well, back 10 or 15 years ago, when they said five years is about enough.  My response is the roster changes.  The roster turns over.  The message doesn't get old.  The roster changes, and you've got a new team sitting in front of you every three or four years.

(on how any changes would impact other people)

What are you relating to?  Are you talking about the staff?

(on how the changes would affect the staff and how important the offseason is to the organization)

Yes, it is.  We're in a position where we haven't been before.  When you add to that the uncertainty of the labor situation, I can stand up and say the only thing that is certain is uncertainty right now.  We have to work through it.

(on how much difference a win Sunday would have made)

I think, yeah.  In the wrap-up meeting with the players, I think it would have been.  I praised them for tremendous effort and staying in that game as long as we could.  We had a chance, but we couldn't get a snap.  But I thought the effort was there.  Clearly it's different when you finish a season on a winning note versus a losing note.  But again, the players right now, their world is full of uncertainty too.  I couldn't stand up before them today and hand out OTA dates and offseason start dates to them, you know?  You just can't do that.  So what you do is you discuss the effort, you discuss the reasons for the disappointment in the season, you discuss the recent outcome of the game, you encourage them to rest and recover, and when things are settled, come back ready to get better.

(on the possibility of Kerry Collins returning)

Yeah, I think he's a possibility.  I don't think he's a possibility necessarily as a starter, but I think he's certainly a possibility.  He's still got time left.  He had an outstanding performance yesterday.

(on the possibility of Randy Moss returning)

I think we'll evaluate that.  I think he'll be, as Kerry will, be part of that whole evaluation process.

(on the pros and cons of signing Stephen Tulloch to a long-term contract)

Again, I'm not going to go into at this point who is restricted, unrestricted—I'm not sure who is at this point as it relates to the labor agreement.  We're going to go through players one at a time and go through strengths and weaknesses.  We do that every year in the process and see if in fact we need to try and get better or if this player in particular can get better.  I mean Tully has done nothing but improve since he got here, but beyond that I'm not going to comment.

(on why the team put David Thornton on the active roster but never activated him for a game)

What we wanted to do, was we wanted to have David out of respect for David and the tremendous rehab and work that he went through to try and get his hip back to where he can compete and play.  We felt the best thing for us and the best thing for David was to keep him on the active roster rather than revert him to PUP in the event that we had an injury at the outside linebacker.  I really don't believe, nor does David believe that he could have played consecutive games.  I think he might have been able to play a game, but David has worked very, very hard.  I don't know what his future is, but he worked very, very hard and David was kind of a safety net for us in the event that we lost a starting linebacker.

(on if he misjudged the leadership of some of the younger players on the roster)

I don't think that we had a leadership crisis.  We had players in every room, on the practice field challenging one another.  One doesn't expect to see a first-year player step up in that area per say, but we certainly got a lot of production out of our first year players.  I thought this team stayed together through some difficult times, through a lot of drama and distractions and I thought they did a pretty good job staying together.

(on where this team rates as an underachieving team compared to previous teams he has coached)

I think our record reflected where we were at the bye week, and then I think we couldn't overcome some of the injury situations.  Then we lost a game in overtime because of penalties and so on and so forth.  I don't ever refer to a team as one that underachieved.  This is a team that, I think, lost more games than I thought it should have.  I think we had a chance to win a couple more games, realistically speaking.  I think the condition of our defense and I think the injury situation, at times, became prohibitive for us.

(on how the drama surrounding this year's team compares to drama surrounding previous seasons)

Our philosophy here is to square your job and just go and keep working and work through it and dwell on your football and dwell on your x's and o's.  Address it, everything needs to be addressed and I addressed it as each issue came up, but there were probably a few more issues this year I think you can all agree than we've had in years past.

(on whether penalties are a result of the discipline of the players or style of coaching)

I've talked about the defensive line penalties.  Obviously, we just had one yesterday and I don't believe we had one the week before.  We got that settled down.  It is the nature of the way we play defense, it is all about getting the edge and getting a jump and beating the snap count.  There is a trade-off for a few penalties, if you are getting sacks, but when the penalty numbers get high as they did in consecutive games there is no excuse for it.  We have to revisit that and obviously, I'm not making excuses and I'm not saying it is OK.  We had other penalties throughout the year that hurt us.  Jason (Babin's) penalty in overtime in the Redskins game certainly was one that we couldn't overcome.  That is an area that we need to address as I referred to some of the other areas, like third-down efficiency and so on and so forth.

(on if he would have preferred that the Vince Young issue in the locker room would have never become public)

In this day and age there is no way anything stays in the locker room anymore.  It is eventually going to find its way out.  That is why you try to avoid those situations.

(on whether he thinks his meeting with Mr. Adams will include Vince Young)

I would assume when we get together it will be Steve (Underwood), Mike (Reinfeldt) and Mr. Adams and I.

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