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VOL. 35 | NO. 3 | Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Adams decided to keep Fisher

By Terry McCormick

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Jeff Fisher’s future may be more precarious in 2011 than any other point in his tenure as coach of the Tennessee Titans.

Coming off a 6-10 season, Fisher is faced with playing out the final year of his contract next season, trying to earn an extension all the while trying to find a new quarterback to replace Vince Young, and to fix a defense that has sagged for the past two seasons now.

And with a lockout potentially shortening and even threatening the ‘11 season, it is safe to say many NFL teams decided the status quo was better than the unknown.

The possibility of a work stoppage, and the fact that Fisher is owed $6.5 million for next year, probably factored into Adams’ staying put with the league’s longest-tenured head coach. Adams admitted that the lockout situation has everyone in limbo around the league.

“With the union, you don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen there. Right now, it looks like we’re gonna have a lockout,” Adams says.

Two teams in the AFC South made similar decisions, Houston keeping Gary Kubiak and Jacksonville staying with Jack Del Rio rather than shortening the time needed for a new coach to install his own system and acquire his own players and assistant coaches.

So worried were the Cincinnati Bengals that they extended the expiring contract of Marvin Lewis for one year, in the wake of a disastrous 4-12 season.

Coaches who are under contract would have to be paid during a lockout, and no owner would want to have to pay two coaches – one fired and one waiting for a lockout to end – not to coach.

Steve Underwood, the Titans’ senior executive vice president, downplays the possibility of lockout as a factor is Adams’ decision to keep Fisher for 2011.

“I can’t speak to other teams’ motivations, but the uncertainty with the timing of a new labor agreement is something that all teams probably considered with the possibility of a new coach,” Underwood says.

“Mr. Adams alluded to this in his comments last week that it was a part of the equation for evaluating where we are as a football team, but I didn’t get a sense from him that it was an overriding factor. A team will look at a number of different things when making these decisions, and ultimately he believes in Jeff Fisher as our head coach.”

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