Over the past few days perhaps the biggest name on the coaching market has been Jeff Fisher. Fisher is an extremely experienced coach who spent the better part of two decades in Tennessee and Houston coaching the Titans (once Oilers). With Bill Cowher being coy about whether he wants to coach again and Jon Gruden having already been fired in Tampa once, it’s Fisher who has been built up into the ideal head coaching candidate.
Unfortunately, or fortunately as I’ll get to, Fisher won’t be coaching next year in Tampa.
Though that may seem undesirable, I’ll let you in on a little secret, Jeff Fisher is not the coach he’s being made out to be. He’s not what the Buccaneers need. I’m not talking about his record or his playoff appearances either, no I’m talking about the fact that the Buccaneers need a coach who is going to come into their young locker-room and put the hammer down. Fisher is not that guy.
Now I know a lot of people want to believe that he is the ideal hire and would take Tampa to a place of legitimacy. They may point out his experience with mobile quarterbacks and working under a GM to support that argument. But the truth is Jeff Fisher has never really been the kind of authoritarian coach that fans the league over are crediting him for being.
A lot of players ran wild during Fisher’s tenure as head coach. To name a few, Vince Young more or less put Fisher on the hot seat himself, Adam “Pac Man” Jones began his bad behavior in Tennessee, Albert Haynesworth caused all sorts of problems for him before the Titans let him walk in free agency (remember before the holdouts and griping how Haynesworth stomped on Andre Gurode’s head? Yeah several years later that was under control…), not to mention numerous other agitators that were allowed to disrupt the Titans’ locker-room.
That is not what the Bucs need. This Buccaneers locker-room has more than a few players who are capable of acting out or embarrassing the team, in his history as a coach Fisher has not been terribly successful in handling those sorts of situations.
What about Fisher’s handling of Adam Jones gives Bucs fans confidence he would deal with Aqib Talib any better? Jones left the Titans not after Fisher grew fed up and dismissed him, but after Roger Goodell finally came down on him with a major suspension. I’m not saying Fisher isn’t capable of disciplining players, I’m just saying if you look at the situations that he faced over his tenure as a head coach I don’t think his body of work really indicates he has been good doing so in the past. That’s not opinion so much as what we’ve seen.
That’s not good when the Bucs are currently dealing with culture issue in their own locker-room. Right now the Bucs are a selfish team. And the last several years of Fisher’s tenure in Tennessee were marred by a team filled with selfish players with individual interests. Based on his last performance, he seems to let selfish players just continue being selfish.
Think about Chris Johnson, Vince Young, Pac-Man and Haynesworth, all superstars whose egos swelled to disruptive, even counter-productive proportions under Fisher.
Maybe he’ll be better in his next job, but that’s taking a big chance with a young, headstrong roster like the Buccaneers have.
Ironically one of the first personnel decisions he’ll have to make should he become the head coach of the Bucs (which he won’t), would be what to do (once again) with Albert Haynesworth.
The point is that Jeff Fisher is not likely to come coach in Tampa, but that’s not a bad thing either.
He was never the ideal fit.