FISHER: Concerned about Adjustments

Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher was with the Titans organization when it was the Houston Oilers. He talked about the the growth he and the franchise have had during his tenure, his relationship with Steve McNair (Now with the Ravens), Vince Young's ability to create something from nothing, and what the Titans have to do about the Patriots defense.

Q: How are you?

JEFF FISHER: I'm good. How is everybody?

Q: Not too bad. Things have been very good for you the last six weeks and Vince Young has played very well. Everybody is talking about your quarterback and I suppose that is the way you wanted it when you drafted him.

JF: We expected him to be a good player. We were very, very surprised at his progress early on through the offseason and into training camp. There was no doubt in our minds that he was going to become a starter this year. Obviously, we made a decision based on some things he had done in the games, and more importantly things he had done on the practice field early in the season. He settled down. He still has yet a lot to learn, but he has fun. He is very poised and competitive and very determined to be a good player. The last three or four weeks he has been especially productive for us.

Q: That touchdown run he had at the end of the Buffalo game is the kind of play that catches the imaginations of any coach or any football fan.

JF: Well it does. He has had a number of great runs. One of the things that has really improved his overall play has been the confidence he has in running the football. As a result of a lot of things that were said prior to the draft --such as he can run through college defenses, but will not be able to run through defenses at this level-- I think subconsciously that may have held him back a little bit. He ran and picked up a first down and stepped out of bounds. Once he really got confidence in his ability to do that, I think it has really helped his overall play.

Q: In college, he looked not only like a runner that threw, but he was a thrower that could run. Is that a fair assessment?

JF: Yes. That is what he is doing. He has done a nice job in the passing game. He understands concepts. He makes adjustments. He can make all the throws. In addition to that, he also has the threat of a runner. He finished an overtime game for us several weeks ago against Houston with his legs. It has just been a big part of our overall improvement. People concerned about his legs and what he can do will do things defensively that he is able to take advantage of with his arm.

Q: You have the long tenure with the Titans but it is like a second phase when you have a quarterback that you are probably going to be with for the next 10 years. It is hard to come by.

JF: They are and we are very fortunate. We are very fortunate to have really an outstanding relationship for a number of years with Steve [McNair]. Steve grew and matured and took us to a Super Bowl and was an MVP. He faced a very difficult decision in moving on, but we were fortunate this was the year. We felt very, very good about all three quarterbacks coming out. We certainly felt Vince was the right one for us. As you say, we are looking forward to many, many years together.

Q: What about other aspects of your ball club and its development in retooling itself and getting back to being competitive?

JF: The last couple of years have been difficult. Two years ago, specifically, because of injury and then last year we took our cap lumps. We have had a lot of [draft] picks. We have been fortunate to draft, but we are very young. We have dealt with injuries, but I'm especially proud of this team in light of the start [to the season]. They have hung together. They have a terrific personality and like to practice and prepare and play. They believe in each other. Those kinds of things, those intangible things that are hard to pull together quickly, have come together for us. They have translated into wins for us. This team is having a lot of fun right now.

Q: It seems that you are still a young guy that has been coaching a long time. What is the secret that you have been able to go 11 years?

JF: It starts at the ownership level. We are very, very fortunate to have the full support of Mr. Adams. He understands this game. He understands that there are going to be some difficult times, but it starts there. Then you certainly have to surround yourself with good people. We have done that from a staff standpoint, from a management standpoint. We look forward to coming to work. It should be fun. You work hard, you establish a philosophy and you stand by it. It has proven in the past and it looks like we are headed back in the right direction now.

Q: Will this be the ultimate defensive test for Vince Young and the offense?

JF: Yes. He has had a lot of challenges this year. I think his biggest test was his first start against the Cowboys. He has faced a lot of different types of defenses and people have different approaches. Each week is a new challenge. I think what the challenge this week becomes is not knowing because of the flexibility of the Patriots defense from week to week, the different plans and everything that has been well documented. We really don't have any idea. We can anticipate some things but the big test for Vince and our offense is going to be our ability to adjust.


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