Coach Fisher's Season-Ending Press Conference





(opening comments)


Well, as you're aware, we finished up with the players this morning. We had checkout physicals and we had a brief team meeting to kind of outline the offseason program. It was a different meeting and it was the one I anticipated last week had we had an opportunity to win the football game. Usually these meetings are difficult coming after a loss. This was different because the guys really, truly were excited for what they were able to accomplish yesterday. Everything that we accomplished in the run game, but more importantly that we were able to get away with a win.

With that being said, I guess I look back and were going to address a season that was certainly unique, certainly a season where we didn't meet expectations. A tale of two seasons if you will, the start, the 0-6 and then the rebound. So, I would say as a whole the team's disappointed if you look back and look at the entire season. Having an opportunity to finish the way we did yesterday I think they move into the offseason and the offseason program with a great deal of enthusiasm. There's a lot of things to discuss internally over the next several weeks, the roster, the restricted and unrestricted players, the direction that we're going to head. Unfortunately, I won't be able to give you a lot of specifics because you can appreciate we've been dealing with football specifically to this point. With that being said, I'll open it to questions.

(on the uncertainty of offseason moves with a potential uncapped season ahead)

There's a great deal of uncertainty. We'll get a plan. We have a plan, we've been discussing it. We'll keep you abreast. There is, the entire NFL's moving into an offseason of uncertainty. Our hope is to keep as many of our good players as we possibly can, but there's going to be turnover, there's turnover every year. The roster turns over probably 20 percent a year. So, there's going to probably be new faces here, some probably with veteran experience, some younger players.

(on if Vince Young proved enough to come back next season)

Vince will return as our starter next year. I won't go into contract terms, but he's going to return as our starter.

(on what Vince Young did to prove he deserves to be the starter)

I think the 8-2 speaks for itself. He's 26-13 as a starter now. I think he came back this year after the bye and got under center as a different quarterback, different person. For the most part his play was consistent. His preparation was excellent and it carried over. We've discussed him throughout the process, the consistency, the fact that he's in the second year with Mike (Heimerdinger) and then another offseason with Mike, those things are only going to help him improve.

(on if he wishes he would have made the move to Vince Young earlier in the season)

No, because I still maintain it was not quarterback play, it was team play. A lot of different things.


(on if there was anything to prevent the 0-6 start)

Just won one of them we would have been 1-5. We did everything we possibly could. The first three games, as I've discussed, a play here or there, a correct call here or there, an incorrect call being eliminated and we win all three of those games. If the starts different then we're still playing. I think we made the best out of the opportunity that we had once we came back from the bye week.

(on evaluating himself after the 0-6 start)

Well, we were all responsible for it. The coaches or the front office wasn't misfielding punts, but we were responsible for it. We expected that we would get a returner out of the group we had, it didn't happen. Like I said, we were able to overcome it and I think that's important.

(on if the 0-6 start was a blessing in disguise and allowed Vince Young playing time)

Again, when you struggle like we did and you have two starting quarterbacks on your roster you make a change. That's what we did and it was great to see him take it and run with it. I think the timing was good and what we were able to see over the last 10 weeks was very important. He's got a lot of room for improvement too. We all know that, all of our players do. He stands to improve and he's committed to improve, that's an important thing. If we look back at his experience this past week, that was a difficult experience for him against the Chargers. He met with me immediately after the game and came back on the field Wednesday as if it never happened. This was all a valuable learning experience for him.

(on the potential defensive personnel moves)

We're going to address the defense and we are going to address the football team. I think if you look at our offense and you look at position by position, you think we've got a chance. We got a chance to improve. We're young at a lot of positions, we have a chance to get better. Defensively, we certainly have to look at it. We finished the year with minus a number of starters. Some of those will return, some of those I can't tell you right now. We have some positions that we're going to address. We'll get involved in it and do the best we can.

(on Chris Johnson's offseason training plans away from the team's facilities)


First, I think it's generally unfair to talk to a person or any player about the offseason program the day the season ended. That's not what they're talking about. It's the furthest thing from their mind. In response to your question, if he was here 100 percent of the time this past offseason he probably would have had 3,000 yards.

(on Vince Young becoming an elite quarterback)

He's still very young. He hasn't played a lot of games, hasn't started a lot of games, 26-13 is a pretty good start. So, I feel like he can continue to get better. As a team we have to get better. We lost two of the last 10 games to the top two seeds in the AFC. That's not good. If we're going to be where we want to be, we've got to learn to win those games, we have to improve.

(on Chris Johnson getting 2,000 yards and if the offense has evolved to a one running back set or multiple backs)

First let me address the 2,000. I think he's one player that has a chance to do it again, he's young. I think he has a chance to do it again. The goal of the organization and the team is to win football games. He's special. He has the potential to go the distance and change games and do those kinds of things. I'd like to see, not balance, but I'd like to see another back involved in the rotation, for example LenDale (White). His 64 carries or whatever he had this year wasn't enough. The reasons are obvious for that.

(on the nature of the running back position to have multiple backs)

Yeah, it's the position, the nature of the position. You need to have depth, you need to have a rotation.

(on preventing Chris Johnson from having a downturn next season because of so many carries)

We'll address that with him as we will with each one of the players how we're going to approach the offseason. Some will be different obviously. He's unique. He could play 10 more games right now. He's rare. He'll rest up and take his time off. It's not going to take him long. He won't get out of shape and gain weight and do all those things. He'll be fine. Obviously looking ahead, we probably won't have to play him much in next preseason.

(on having multiple running backs)

I can't answer your question right now and say I'm going to have a guy with 60 percent of the carries and a guy with 40 percent of the carries. This is a good problem to have. I've got the league leading rusher by over 500 yards. He's healthy and he's coming back and he's young. Whether we rotate them next year, that remains to be seen.


(on Chuck Cecil)

I thought Chuck did a good job. I thought he overcame a difficult situation with some personnel issues early in the season losing part of the secondary, but he hung in there. I thought he did a nice job. He put players in position to make plays. It's always a challenge in your first year. It was a challenge for Gregg (Williams) his first year. It was a challenge for Jim (Schwartz) his first year. Look at the numbers and things because they always improve. Not because of the coach necessarily, but because we improved as a team. We get better players on defense, he's a better coach.

(on the holding penalty that negated Chris Johnson's long touchdown run)

It should not have been called in my opinion. I was very disappointed in it. There could have been 20 of those called in the game. That play was called six yards down the field and to me it should not have been called. I don't understand it. The disappointing thing about it is had it not been called, that would have changed things. We had the ball, we had eight minutes to go in the game and now we're looking at the all-time record. That would have changed our approach in the ballgame. You have to deal with it. By the way, his foot didn't touch the line against San Francisco either. So, you're talking about 80 yards there. But that's football.

(on Keith Bulluck's future)


Again, there's a number of these things that we have to discuss. I've said all along that it is my hope and wish that Keith Bulluck could retire as a Titan. Obviously, the injury complicates things. But there's a solution out there and we're going to work towards that.

(on the offseason plans with or without a CBA agreement)


Again, some of the questions are difficult to answer because we haven't really had the opportunity to really sit down and plan. I think generally speaking, as an organization, we plan as if there's a cap. You go out and you do what you need to do to get better. That's going to be the approach. The budget and we have the willingness to spend. We go out there and do the best we can to replace the players or add to the roster.

(on if anything needs to be addressed with Mr. Adams)


No, I don't have to address anything. We communicate and he's excited about the way we finished up and excited about everything and looking forward to the offseason. So, there's nothing to address. We keep him informed as to all our decisions.

(on Jevon Kearse)


As you look at a typical career of a player, he's going to have his flourish. Depending on position, he'll have his best years early. As you get to the twilight of a career, you have a skill set that diminishes ever so slightly. That's been his case. He's a great person. He's had a great career and he's a real good teammate. He just was not able to answer the bell like we would have liked this year. Again, I'm not going to address his future whether he'll be back or not. I have great respect for him and how he handled everything and how he worked and tried to keep his body in shape to where he could be productive.

(on if Jevon Kearse checked out mentally at the end of the season)


No, I talked with him. I don't think it's that at all. He asked if he was going to be inactive and I said he probably will be. He'd rather stay here then make the 10-hour trip back and forth. I totally understand it, I get it and don't have any issue with it. I have a great deal of respect for him.

(on David Thornton making the trip and Jevon Kearse not)


Every situation's different, they're all different. I'm not frustrated or disappointed or anything. I had a heart-to-heart, man-to-man conversation with him. I told him I'm fine with whatever he decides.

(on Kerry Collins)


I would like to see Kerry finish his career here as well.

(on Nick Harper)


Nick Harper was playing with a cast and a surgically corrected forearm and was cleared by the doctors.

(on Nick Harper playing hurt)


He along with 90 percent of his teammates were playing hurt. He was cleared play and was excited about playing and did the best he could considering the circumstances.

(on Kerry Collins being okay in a backup role)


I believe so.

(on Commissioner Roger Goodell saying the competition committee needs to look at how teams approach late games in the season)


We will follow the commissioners' direction and will discuss it. It won't be discussed until probably February until we get to our first meeting. It has been discussed before. We did come up with a solution and we'll discuss it again. Without having discussions with the other members, off the top of my head it's going to be a hard thing to accomplish. Unfortunately, coincidentally, moments after his comments, Wes Welker went out for the year. It's just a hard thing. The club has the right, as we discussed last week, each club has a right to do what they see fit as far as moving into the playoffs. It was, despite the fact it was a real unusual year, there still was a great deal of excitement and anticipation and teams in it until the very end. It's something that we'll look at.

(on compensatory draft picks being a solution)


I haven't really had an opportunity to discuss anything that was floated out there. It's a hot button, as there are several others, and the committee will get right on it in February.

(on whether Colts GM Bill Polian would be involved in Competition Committee talks about teams playing starters)


We don't invite and not invite specific people based on their positions, but no, it's all discussed. There's been some very amusing discussions over the years, as you can imagine.

(on whether he expects Craig Hentrich to retire and how well Brett Kern has played this season)


Brett's done a great job for us, and you know, I'm going to let Craig make that decision. His rehab, he's working hard. The rehab is coming along well. We just have to wait and see. We're fortunate that Brett was available when he was because I think he's got a chance to be a very good punter in this league, and he's got one of the best mentors in Craig working very close with him.

(on if he wants any memento from the Seattle game and Chris Johnson's accomplishments)


I've got the memories, no. That experience yesterday was really, really special. Even Kevin (Mawae) said it, and I'll kind of repeat Kevin. This might have been the highlight of his career, being associated with a game like that and the picture that they took after, the pride that they took in it was special for the offense.

(on if he could assess his year as a head coach)


My expectation this year was to do much better than we did last year, and so I didn't meet my expectation. It's disappointing. I'm disappointed for the team because of the high expectations, because of the commitment that we had in last year's offseason program. We spent the whole offseason wondering what would have happened had C.J. (Chris Johnson) not gotten hurt in the second quarter against Baltimore last year, and unfortunately we didn't get to answer that question because we started slow.

(on whether he fully expects to be the head coach of the Titans next year)


Yeah, you guys are stuck with me for a couple more years at least.

(on Mike Heimerdinger being qualified to interview for head coaching positions)


I believe there's a number of coaches on this staff that are. I believe Dave McGinnis is certainly qualified to do it again, but Mike is also. I would not be surprised if somebody inquires to talk to Mike because of what he's been able to do.

(on what it would do to the offense if Heimerdinger left)


Mike's been central to the success of this offense. You saw the immediate turnaround last year after he returned for the second time. Again, hypothetically, it would be certainly difficult to replace somebody like that, but that's the world we live in. You do the best you can.

(on if he spends part of the offseason looking back at decisions they've made and self correction)


We'll do that. I'll do that. Mike (Reinfeldt) and I will get together and do that, and I'll do that with the staff. We go through a lot of detail as far as what we could have done differently.

(on how difficult it will be to watch the playoffs knowing the Titans are not playing)


It won't be hard at all. I just won't turn it on.

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