I been reading a few things disparaging about our head coach and I will admit that when he was hired, I was apprehensive, he never really stood out to me as someone that could take us to the next level, he never really won that big game, he was never known as a coach that was a smart coach, he was a "player coach". My opinions maybe skewed since I liked Vince Young and I hated how Coach Fisher would treat him, I thought it was unfair and was hurting the team and that is something that a coach should never do, but his own ego in front of what is best for the team, but that was a few years ago. I was open to giving Coach a pass on past issues I had with him, with all this stuff going on this season I figured I would investigate as much as I could and present some facts about our coach and maybe that would dispel any misconceptions or prove them right.
I will first start with Steve McNair and that Titans teams of the turn of the century were very physically tough teams, when you played the Titans back then, you would feel it for weeks to come. I was never a Eddie George kinda guy, but he was a beast back in the day, Steve McNair was a beast, every bit of the Franchise qb one could ever want.
Now I will start facts and quick bio and lets see where this leads us,
In 1985 an injured Jeff Fisher assisted defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan with the greatest football team of all time, in 1986, he followed Buddy Ryan to Philadelphia where he was the defensive backs coach. In 1988 he became the youngest defensive coordinator in the league when Buddy Ryan promoted him. Those philly teams were stacked defensively, with such stars as the late greats Jerome Brown and Reggie White, they also had Eric Allen, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, those teams were all time defenses, and Coach Fisher let them to pretty great statistical seasons, but they were never able to win the big game while he was there, 1988 lost divisional round to the Bears, 1989 lost the wild card to the Rams, 1990 they lost the wild card to the Skins, not all those losses were because of bad defensive play, the offenses failed to put up points.
1991 Brought Coach Fisher to LA to be the defensive coordinator of our beloved Rams coached by John Robinson, his second stint. We went 3-13 and our defense was ranked 27th in scoring. We were not exactly void of talent defensively, we had Jerry Grey, Kevin Greene, a young Todd Lyght, Daryl Henley, he left after that year to be the defensive backs coach for the enemy, he coached the dbs for the 9ers for the next 2 years before being hired by the Oilers in 1994 as a def coordinator, with 6 games left in the season Head Coach Jack Pardee was fired and Jeff Fisher became head coach. That year his defense ranked 21st in scoring and went 2-14, and for his 6 game stint as head coach they went 1-5.
1995 Jeff Fisher was gifted Steve McNair and they were able to right the ship to the tune of 7-9, they were the 15th ranked offense and the 7 racked defense. 1996 brought Eddie George and the ship continued they finished 8-8, their offense moved up to 10th, but their defense slipped to 16th and it was the last year they played in Houston, they moved in 1997.
The Tennessee years, in 1997 the Tennessee Oilers finished 8-8, offensively 14th, defensively 12th, 1998 they finished 8-8 offensively 13th, defensively 12th, in 1999 they got a new name and uniform and that must have been the thing that took them over the hump, they finished 13-3 and lost to the Rams in the Super Bowl, their offense was 7th, defensively15th. 2000 They kept up the winning ways, 13-3, ranking 13th in offense and 2nd in defense. 2001 was a let down, they finished 7-9 the offense was 12th, but the defense slipped to 25th, this was due to the departure of long time coach Gregg Williams and the promotion of linebackers coach Jim Schwartz to def coordinator.2002 Schwartz figured things out a lil bit helping Fisher to a 11-5 record moving that def from 25th to 11th, the offense ranked 13th. 2003 was a big year for the Titans, they finished 12-4 and Steve McNair was the NFL co MVP that year, offensively ranking 5th, and the defense slid down to 13th. 2004 Steve McNair only played in 8 games and they finished 5-11 the offense slipped to 15th in the league while the wheels came off the defense slipping to 30th. 2005 was another bad year for the Titans, Norm Chow got that offense off track ranking 21st and the defense made some headway ranking 29th.2006 was a new era for the Titans, no more McNair, and so begins the Vince Young era, they finished 8-8 ranking 16th offensively and 31st defensively. 2007 A winning record finally reappeared they finished 10-6 ranking 22nd in offense and 8th defensively. 2008 Norm Chow was out and Heimerdinger was in, the record showed that was a good move, finishing 13-3 offense finished 14th and the defense finished 2nd. 2009 Jim Schwartz left for Detroit and that hurt, the Titans finished 8-8 Chuck Cecil had the defense ranked 28th, and the offense ranked 16th. 2010 was Coach Fisher's last in Tennessee, they finished 6-10 ranking 17th in offense and 15th in defense.
Coach Fisher finished first in his division 3 times, making the playoffs 6 times, he has 5 career playoff victories and 6 losses, a career .455 playoff record, his regular season record of 142-120 is a .542 winning percentage. It took him 4 full seasons to make the playoffs making a slow gradual incline to the playoffs, and maintaining that status as long as he had a franchise qb and continuity amongst his coordinators. He has never had a winning season where his running back did not top 1000 yards. In 2012 there was 16 1000 yard rushers only 7 of them were on a playoff team. This is no longer a "key" to the playoffs. He is known as a defensive coach, yet his teams have only had a top ten defensive ranking 4 times (points) and 5 times (yards).
I put the offensive and defensive rankings in because I thought they told an interesting story,over 16 years as head coach his offense never ranked higher then 5th, but the rest of his tenure he just had a middle of the road offense and on the defensive side of the ball the years where he brought in a new defensive coordinator the defense fell apart, these are trends that are rather evident. Another thing I noticed is that of all the Offensive Coordinators he had, Norm Chow was probably the most progressive and that failed him and when a more conservative offensive coordinator was hired a better record followed.
History will repeat itself and appears that it is, this is not a bad thing, this is what we all signed up for when we hired Jeff Fisher, he is not a cerebral coach, he relies on his coordinators more then I realized when I looked back and studied the ebbs and flows of past seasons, the loss of a coordinator would really effect the outcome of a season, always in a negative way, and this was a shock to me since most of the changes came in house. Fisher is loyal to a fault and once again not always a bad thing, he seems to do things in an old school fashion. I think that for those who are upset right now, I think it would be best to re-evaluate our expectations and buy into what Jeff Fisher is doing because he will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Our new Owner is a hands off owner that likes things quiet he got his guys in place and will ride them for a long time. We have our playmakers, but we will not be the most dynamic, explosive team in the NFL. Coach Fisher is not interested in being flashy offensively, his history has shown he wants to be a strong tough defensive team and have an offense that doesn't screw the game up. This is a new era in football and I am not sure that game exists anymore.
As the perceived majority of the fans out there, I beg this is not true and Coach Fisher is able to alter past tendencies and gives us what we all want, I fear that this will not happen and I guess in the scheme of things it is not all bad, we have hope, we have faith and we have a front office we can all believe in.