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Thread: The case against Jeff Fisher

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    TNT
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    The case against Jeff Fisher

    Hi peeps, Titans fan here.

    I thought I’d come to a Rams board and read the perception going for Fisher. I must say, and I mean no disrespect, but I see the same old myths being posted here that the bulk of non Titans fans seem to believe when it comes to Fisher, so I thought I’d offer a different perspective.

    Myth #1 – Fisher is hard nosed, and makes a disciplined team

    Since leaving the Titans, various media outlets that cover the Titans have noted how the culture has changed for the better under Mike Munchak. In general, Fisher actually ran a very loose ship. At some point he may have been “hard nosed”, but not really any time recently.

    One of the first impressions a Titans beat writer had of training camp under Munchak instead of Fisher described the camp under Fisher used to run as having a “country club atmosphere”.

    As far as discipline goes, in 2010 the Titans ranked 30th in penalties. In 09, 20th. In 08, 31st. In 07, 23rd. How he gets the tag of being a disciplined coach is a head scratcher.

    Myth #2 – Under Fisher, the Titans always had a tough D

    The Titans D under Fisher hardly changed scheme or approach at all throughout his entire tenure. And this scheme was always extremely vanilla. All he really did was rely on his front 4 to get pressure. When the Titans had an elite player there, like Kearse and Haynesworth, the defense did well. When these guys got hurt, all of a sudden the defense struggled big time – and I mean down to down, not season to season. Haynesworth would come out at times in 2007 and 2008 and all of a sudden the Titans D would look horrible. This was because the Titans D had no scheme or coach level answers for a drop in player talent. Injuries effect even the best teams, but a good sign that coaching and scheming is lacking is when injuries seem to make much bigger impacts than some, and on the Titans, it made massive impacts.

    In his last 10 seasons, the Titans defense ranked in the top 10 three times. I’m not sure how that compares to other defensive experts at HC, but I’m guessing not overly well.

    Fisher always struggled bringing in coordinator talent. Greg Williams was his best, but the list is bleak after that. Schwartz was always pegged as better HC material than DC by Titans fans and his D again relied heavily on the raw talent in the front 4. It was poor until Haynesworth exploded in his contract years (07 and 08). Fisher’s latest DC was Chuck Cecil, who the Titans players heavily criticized afterwards and was just plain awful at DC. Oh, and Fisher tried to extend him and in fact did behind upper management’s back shortly before he left the Titans, which fans believe was a factor in Fisher’s leaving. Nice little tidbit I bet not many here knew. If you guys get Fisher, don't be surprised if Chuck Cecil is part of the package in some capacity.

    Under Fisher, the Titans had some of the worst Ds in recent NFL history. 59-0 to the Pats, anyone? The notion he offered something special for his defenses is without basis, and in fact if he failed to land a HC job, I highly doubt he’d ever succeed as a DC. He wouldn’t even bother being a DC because he brings nothing to the table. He isn’t Wade Philips. The Titans never really had a direction on defensive other than get talented in the front 4, and let them do their own thing. Guys don’t become good DCs with that approach, and I don't think a HC can be said to be "defensive minded" if he isn't at least DC material as well.

    Myth #3 – Fisher brings stability

    This is more of a difference of opinion to call this a myth. But I think a pretty convincing one – what about Fisher do people think produced such a long tenure with the Titans? Fun fact – Fisher was the longest tenured coach in NFL history without a Superbowl ring within that tenure.

    The real reason for the tenure is this – Bud Adams. We all saw how devoted to keeping Vince Young he was, and the same could be said for his approach to Fisher. He found Fisher in the mid 90s and really really wanted him to be great. It didn’t pan out. 99% of the league doesn’t do the same thing with the same results Fisher produced – they get rid of him much sooner, so the tenure is really a hollow positive. It was mostly a product of his owner and the circumstances the Oilers/Titans were in.

    Myth #4 – Fisher mostly had poor talent to work with

    Perhaps this is true, but the fact remains Fisher’s offensive approach is TOP, ball control, and running the ball more than most. After 17 seasons, it became clear this wasn’t a result of his talent pool – this was how he liked to do things. Ask any Titans fan about McNair, and they’ll tell you he was under used. When he won the co-MVP in 2003, it seemed they were finally starting to build a passing attack around him, but instead they opted to hang onto an aging Eddie George and continue pounding it out.

    Whether he had a lack of talent to work with or not, Fisher’s ultra conservative style simply wouldn’t maximize talent anyway, especially not in today’s NFL, where passing is clearly the way to win Superbowls. You don’t need an elite QB to have an aggressive passing attack, and I can’t see how a head coach could maximize QB talent without already being familiar with that. I don’t care if he did have a franchise QB all of a sudden to work with, he is NOT a pass first minded coach and has shown in the past he can’t attract elite coordinator talent. Oh, and as far as defensive talent goes, the years the Titans D was good, he most certainly did have plenty of talent to work with.

    Conclusion

    Fisher is a good coach, but he is being massively overrated at the moment because of his friends in the media. The guy had Mortenson’s son in camp as a QB for god sake, who has done nothing anywhere else – he is also best buds with Hoge and other “insiders”. Trust me, the media circus was well anticipated by Titans fans who know this. The Nashville media were too soft to ever stress him out, probably because he was buddies with all of them too.

    If you guys miss out on him, I actually think you dodge a bullet. He is very dated, overly conservative, and loyal to aging vets to a fault. He would need to have changed a LOT during this past year off to be able to live up to the hype. One thing Fisher would bring to the Rams is an unmatched knowledge of the game’s rules, and hence a sensible approach to challenges etc. He will also be good in press conferences and other media relations. Otherwise, though, I really don’t see him being the catalyst for success for the Rams. I know you guys are in a bad spot at the moment and could use some veteran respect at HC, but I see very few reasons why Fisher can be this guy long term, short of a massive change in philosophy in his year off coaching.
    Last edited by r8rh8rmike; -01-11-2012 at 12:08 AM.


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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Interesting insight. Thanks TNT and welcome to ClanRam.

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    TNT
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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    I did have a few links to quotes from articles in Myth #1 supporting the change in culture point since he left and also the quote about the "country club", but they were removed by a mod I think - sorry if linking to external sites is a rule here.

    Of course having said all this, Fisher isn't a terrible option in what is a weak head coach market (as far as proven names go) and I can see the attraction for a franchise on the down and out lately as I think Fisher will improve things for the Rams, I just feel there is a lot not properly known about Fisher because he enjoyed a very sheltered existence with the Titans, out of the spotlight. Due to his style of offense, whenever the Titans did go well, they had the appearence of winning despite their players, when more often than not they were very shackled.

    He could very well turn it around and become great, he just never showed it for the Titans.

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    I did have a few links to quotes from articles in Myth #1 supporting the change in culture point since he left and also the quote about the "country club", but they were removed by a mod I think - sorry if linking to external sites is a rule here.
    I did have to remove the links to approve the thread. Sorry about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    Of course having said all this, Fisher isn't a terrible option in what is a weak head coach market (as far as proven names go) and I can see the attraction for a franchise on the down and out lately as I think Fisher will improve things for the Rams, I just feel there is a lot not properly known about Fisher because he enjoyed a very sheltered existence with the Titans, out of the spotlight. Due to his style of offense, whenever the Titans did go well, they had the appearence of winning despite their players, when more often than not they were very shackled.
    Again, I appreciate your perspective, which might temper the fact that Fisher is percieved by many as some sort of a savior. Something I'm not convinced of.
    ramsbruce and THOLTFAN81 like this.

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Like a punch to the gut. Great info though! Welcome!
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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Thanks TNT for coming here and providing us with a Titans fan view of his tenure in Tenn. Great stuff, kinda makes me like Fisher even less. Appreciate the insight.


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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Whatever....I still want him on our sidelines.

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Thanks for the insight. It just goes to show that we don't really know what we're going to get if he coaches the Rams. He has the experience but that doesn't mean instant success. And he would have to get us to the playoffs to probably live up to the hype now.

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Nice insight and thanks for the post.

    I've always been hoping for Marty Shottenheimer here but I know it's not going to happen

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    So the coach who you had for 16 years sucked. Wow, that's really unfortunate.

    Thanks for stopping by.
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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    I've said that Fisher is the guy based on what's out there, (Gruden, Cowher, any coordinator) and his track record of winning teams, but also said that I'm not ready to declare him the savior some believe him to be. Only time will tell.

    But after going through the Martz, Linehan and Spags tenures, he'll be an improvement. ...and unlilke Bud Adams, if he doesn't pan out, Stan won't hesitate to cut him loose and we start the process over again in a couple of years.
    Faithful Rams fan since 1968

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    We don't have much to pick from if you want experience as HC. However, I'll go on record as saying I hope we don't get him. I don't like his philosophy in this day and age of football (more pass oriented).

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    So the coach who you had for 16 years sucked. Wow, that's really unfortunate.
    I'm not getting that at all. He gave a pretty even-handed fans assessment, pointing out what he saw as flaws, as well as saying Fisher was a good coach who could bring some positive things to the table for the Rams.

    While I'm certainly no expert on Fisher, I agree with the OP's takes that while Fisher would bring experience and sound decision making, his conservative philosophies could be a bit outdated.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    This is such an important topic that I feel compelled to come out of retirement to throw in my two cents.

    The Rams need a good personnel guy separate from the coach to keep a team on track for the long term. Kroenke said as much in his only interview on the topic. But actions speak louder than words & this courting of Fisher has me worried that The Rams are getting the cart before the horse,anyway.

    Fisher had a strong counterpart in Holovak and Reese in the first half of his tenure with The Oilers/Titans.If you don't know those names, I suggest you spend a little less time monitoring pundit twitter accounts & do some research on Fisher's actual career. When he got more influence over the FO (got the dreaded executive VP title in 2000,iirc) & Holovak retired as a scout & Reese was marginalized ( chillingly similar to the Armey/Martz situation), things went downhill.

    The drafts and FA acquisitions of the Titans in his first 5 yrs were very solid, finding not only Pro bowl caliber leaders at the key spots ( McNair,George, Kearse) but many solid starters and more than a few late round gems like Runyan. Please go to Pro Football Ref & check the franchise draft history. This was a well-built team in the 90s & was never as badly-eroded a talent pool as The Rams; The Oilers were a perennial playoff team going through a rough QB transition when he took over.

    It was after the SB run year that things started to get sketchy; the drafts weakened, older stars/incoming FAs were overpaid & mostly crashed/faded, younger ascending players were let go.Character issues led to onfield & off field discipline problems, salary cap problems, etc. In short, the kind of locker room environment that Fisher and Adams( always a meddlesome wingnut but it seemed to get worse when he made himself Prez) created in the early/mid 2000s was pretty toxic or do you think McNair's bizarre death and Vince Young's meltdown were just coincident with Fisher & The Titans rep as a wild bunch on the field?

    On the other hand, I'm not buying the weak assistant claim for a minute.If anything, I think finding & developing in-house coaching talent was a strength of Fisher's. Dismissing guys like Gunther Cunningham, Jim Schwartz, and Heimerdinger seems a little sour grapes to me. Ditto for Gregg Williams. Kinda like saying "Apart from Bill Walsh, The Whiners never had a great offensive coach...". I'm exaggerating for effect but still.....

    Both the AFC Central and AFC South were tough divisions in which to play defense or offense. The Jags were a high-power offensive team in the late 90s(Brunell & Jimmy Smith,Mccardell,et al), The Steelers pounded the rock with Bettis & had good defenses. Hardly surprising that Fisher's offensive strategy to win that division was more conservative/ball control-oriented.Even in the "declining" years after the AFC South was created, few teams had consistent success vs the Manning machine once it got humming. And please name the 4/3 defense that was successful without top talent in their front four?


    In short, Fisher, like all but a few very special coaches, needs a strong personnel guru. If he's hired with a "yes man" crony as I suspect Lake Dawson to be, RamsNation is in for disappointment long term.

    Imo, it was the lack of constructive tension between Devaney and Spagnuolo that undermined a lot of the good they did; a good GM would not have indulged his coach with guys like James Butler and Craig Dahl or, as I suspect happened, forced him to take on an OC like McDaniels whose philosophy was such a poor match for Spags' defense, on the opposite extreme.

    Are you ready to put your trust in FishLake like Chip did with DeSpags or The Muumuu did with Zygmunt and Martz? I'm not.
    mde8352gorams likes this.

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    Re: The case against Jeff Fisher

    Thanks Azul. you make some very valid points and I agree that we are deluding ourselves to a degree by thinking that JF will solve our problems, when in fact he could be bringing a new set. We should probably step back from the coaching feeding frenzy (if indeed JF selects Miami) and find a solid GM/personnel guy, then address the HC situation. Like you I have been thinking back to our better FO days when people like Jack Faulkner (LA Rams) or Charley Armey ran the show. I think Stan will take a deep breath after the JF decision and put his mind to structuring a sustainable regime that knows how to evaluate talent and then coach them up on the field.

    Thanks for coming out of retirement. Go Rams!

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