When the Los Angeles Rams visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it will mark the meeting of the last two teams coached by Jeff Fisher. The veteran coach spent 16 seasons with the Titans franchise, shepherding the team across state lines and into a Super Bowl, and coached the Rams for five years, during which he also led their cross-country move west.
While things didn't end quite as he'd prefer in L.A. -- Fisher was fired late into a 4-12 season in 2016 -- the coach told The Midday 180 radio show in Nashville on Friday that he doesn't regret the denouement. In fact, Fisher feels his legacy lives on in Sean McVay's playoff-hopeful team.
"I'm a huge fan of the Ram players," Fisher said. "They're basically -- I don't want to say my players, but I had a lot to do with that roster. Left them in pretty good shape. And Sean, as he's proven in this very short period of time, is an outstanding young coach. And he's got the offense rolling, which they needed."
Fisher also proclaimed himself prophetic for trading up to select Jared Goff with the first overall pick last year. After a miserable first season, Goff has shown marked improvement with an offensive guru manning the controls. His 35.3-point increase in passer rating from 2016 is the largest such increase in the NFL this season. With his 98.9 rating, Goff is also among the top-five highest-rated second-year passers in league history.
"We knew that was coming," Fisher said. "... That's why we traded up with you guys here [the Titans] to get him, because we knew he had that kind of potential. We felt like both the quarterbacks had a chance to be franchise quarterbacks. We were right. Philly got theirs [with Carson Wentz], and the Rams got theirs."
But the difference between last year's lottery squad and this season's potential Super Bowl favorite is the addition of players who weren't on the 2016 team. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan and wideouts Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp were all acquired by McVay and general manager Les Snead after Fisher's exit.
Fisher's name has been kicked around in the news recently due to reports that the coach, publicly absent from pro football for a full year for the first time since 1980, is looking to jump back into coaching.
Reports have the veteran "eyeing" several teams, including the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, all of which might fire their coaches by the end of the season. Whether these franchises are eyeing Fisher, who hasn't produced a winning season since the tail end of the Bush administration, is another story.
"I get a kick out of people who [say], 'Oh, you just tied Dan Reeves for the most losses in the history of the National Football League,'" Fisher said. "Well I'm a few wins away from being in the top 10. So, where do you want to emphasize; what's your point? Two franchises, five different cities, six different stadiums. Not an easy thing to do."