Tennessee Titans  

 

Titans owner: Fisher safe for now; practices to be closed during bye

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Whatever Jeff Fisher plans to do to fix the Tennessee Titans' losing ways will be done behind closed doors.

At 0-6, the reeling Titans, coming off a 59-0 rout at New England that is the NFL's most lopsided loss since 1976, are as far away from last season's 10-0 start as possible. Fans want Fisher fired, though team owner Bud Adams isn't yet ready for a midseason change.

Faulk: Where is Young?
When I ask myself if Jeff Fisher is doing everything that he can to allow the Titans to win, I have to look beyond just the X's and O's and the details of what it takes for this team to win.

The Titans have a dynamic player in Vince Young. It's easy to see what teams like Miami and Philadelphia are doing with the Wildcat package and the stress it creates for defenses. The fact that the Titans' defense is out on the field so much and giving up big plays, going back to their ball-control offense and bringing in Young as a changeup would only ease the pressure on the defense.

Even if you don't use a package featuring Young, but you show it, it's something defenses have to prepare for. The fact that Fisher doesn't have such a package -- or that they have it but aren't using it -- makes me wonder about what the Titans' intentions are with Young, or what the problem is with him.

-- Marshall Faulk

So Fisher is closing practices this week as the Titans try repairing all that has gone wrong. It's a flexible bye week schedule that could feature two sessions per day or walk-throughs before and after practice. The coach is looking at everything, will split work between veteran Kerry Collins and backup quarterback Vince Young, and some roster changes might result.

And the future for the NFL's longest-tenured coach with his current team? Fisher insisted Monday that he isn't worried, not with everything he has to fix.

"I'm not in any kind of survival mode or worried about my job or worried about job security," Fisher said. "I have a good coaching staff. I've got tremendous confidence in my coaching staff and tremendous confidence in my players we're going to get this turned around."

Adams' last head-coaching change came in 1994 after a 1-9 start when he promoted Fisher from defensive coordinator. Fisher has lasted longer and won more games for this franchise than any other coach. Adams told The Tennessean he is worried but will make his decision on the future after this season.

The 0-for start is stunning because this is the franchise that returned 20 starters from the team that went an NFL-best 13-3 last season. Two local TV stations streamed Fisher's news conference on their Web sites Monday, and one radio station also aired it live.

The schedule hasn't helped, with four of the first six games on the road against teams now a combined 22-13 and none with a losing record. The next four games offer little hope either, with only the Buffalo Bills (2-4) on Nov. 15 currently below .500.

This week's focus will be on the basics of throwing, catching, blocking and tackling. The only thing the Titans are doing OK? Chris Johnson is second in the NFL with 596 rushing yards.

Fisher said he isn't making any coaching changes or taking over the defensive play-calling, even though these Titans now have given up nearly as many points through six games (198) as they did in all of 2008 (234). They rank last in the NFL in that category in the first season under new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil.

"He's not the one missing the tackles," Fisher said of Cecil. "He's not the one getting to the quarterback. He's not the one giving up the plays down the field or making the mental mistakes."

The offense shares as much blame.

The Titans dropped six passes during the first half Sunday against the Patriots and turned over the ball a season-high five times. Collins botched a couple snaps, and a would-be reverse to Nate Washington wound up as a 22-yard loss on a pass. The only other completed pass was a screen to fullback Ahmard Hall for 15 yards.

Collins now has eight interceptions, one more than he did in all of 2008. Adams wants to see more of Young, the No. 3 pick overall in 2006, but such decisions are up to Fisher. Young hasn't been any better in two relief appearances, going 0 of 5 with one interception.

Who will start Nov. 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)? Fisher isn't saying.

The bye will heal up defensive backs Cortland Finnegan (right hamstring) and Vincent Fuller (broken right arm), but running back LenDale White hurt his left knee during the second quarter Sunday. He walked to the sideline, then rode a cart to the locker room and was seen walking gingerly after the game. He led the AFC with 15 rushing touchdowns last season, but he has only one in 2009.

Fisher is trying to sell this bye week, with Monday a day off for players, as a fresh start.

"This is the coaches' and players' week to get things fixed, and there will be things that we won't be privy to discuss for competitive reasons," Fisher said. "There may be changes in the lineups. Hopefully, we can get some people healed up and ready to play for us. I'm expecting to put a different team on the field next week as we practice for Jacksonville."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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