Titans, Fisher: A parting of the ways

Jeff Fisher (AP/Michael Conroy)

Jeff Fisher's status as a lame-duck coach and his decision to give some assistant coaches one-year extensions led to problems with Titans management. In a surprise move, the coach and team opted to part ways.

All we really know about the decision between the Tennessee Titans and coach Jeff Fisher to go their separate ways is this: There are no winners. Losers? Titans fans.

Their team, coming off a 6-10 season, is now without a head coach or a franchise quarterback. There's no one steering the ship. The future is lost in uncertainty.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, Titans faithful. Your TV sets are the closest you're going to come to it for some time.

Where do the Titans go now? Offensive line coach Mike Munchak is considered the early favorite to succeed Fisher, but owner Bud Adams will conduct his own search. There's certainly no shortage of candidates, despite the fact every team with a coaching vacancy has already filled it.

Whoever gets the job will have to immediately find a quarterback to replace Vince Young, who appeared to be the loser in the recent power struggle with Fisher. And if you believe Young's status in Tennessee might change after all this, the team made it clear on Friday: VY still isn't coming back.

Apparently, neither was Fisher. He was prepared to coach the final year of his contract, but it was undoubtedly going to be his last. He didn't seek an extension, and the Titans didn't offer one. According to the Tennessean, reports that Fisher received an $8-million buyout are overstated; citing sources, the newspaper said the figure was less than half that.

The Tennessean also reports that Fisher was feeling frustrated with his situation, knowing he would be a lame-duck coach. Two of his assistants – defensive line coach Jim Washburn and running backs coach Craig Johnson – left for other NFL coaching jobs, and defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was fired. Fisher had difficulty finding coaches to replace them.

Fisher, who had complete control over coaching staff moves, told management this week that he had signed about a dozen of his assistants, including Cecil, to one-year extensions last month. That might have been the last straw.

In a series of meetings with his bosses, it was decided that Fisher and the team should part ways after 17 seasons. Fisher, the only head coach the franchise has had since it left Houston, has 147 wins, including playoffs, trailing only Bill Belichick (177) and Mike Shanahan (160).

Fisher will survive nicely. He's handsome, personable and is a good talker, making him a perfect candidate for a TV-analyst job. When the next coaching job opens, he'll undoubtedly be among the first to be interviewed, assuming he's interested.

Vince Young will find work this offseason as soon as there's a collective bargaining agreement. With a little more maturing, he can still be an effective starter.

And the Titans will endure, too, although they're certain to suffer growing pains as they start building all over again.

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