Ever since Young walked out on the team following a week 11 loss, it was apparent that the Titans owner would have to choose between the quarterback he adored and the man who has coached his team since 1994. In a somewhat surprising move, he went against his talented, but troubled, quarterback. Yet in a statement about Young's eventual dismissal, Adams didn't fully commit to the 52-year old Fisher, who is the longest tenured head coach in the NFL:
"As you are aware, we have been engaged in a series of internal discussions over the last month about the future of our football team. We have two critical decisions to make - the direction of the coaching staff and the future at the quarterback position. They are separate issues to me and will be dealt with separately.
Today, I informed our general manager Mike Reinfeldt to move forward with plans to begin the process of identifying the next quarterback for our franchise. He will inform Vince Young's agent that Vince will not be on our roster next season. I want to offer my personal thanks to Vince for all of his positive contributions to the club. These kinds of decisions are never easy and this is especially true for this particular player. I certainly wish that things would have worked out better, but I think it is best for the franchise that we move on at this point.
I also informed Jeff (Fisher) today that I was continuing the evaluation of the coaching staff and I am hoping to make a decision soon."
Reading between the lines, I'd say that Adams' heart told him to go with Young, while his head told him to stick with Fisher. It's a surprising move given Adams' clear affection for Young and the fact that Fisher's teams have slipped in recent years. For all the stability the coach supposedly provides, his teams have a 54-58 mark since 2004 and he's only made the playoff six times in 16 full seasons.
[See also: Why on earth would the Raiders fire Tom Cable?]
Young, on the other hand, has shown flashes of the brilliance that made him a legend at the University of Texas, but has been largely defined by his bizarre off-field antics, which included him walking out on the team following a loss to the Washington Redskins in week 11. After that, it was clear the two couldn't co-exist.
I wouldn't read too much into the lack of commitment to Fisher. It wouldn't make sense to get rid of both coach and quarterback, so the wishy-washy nature of the statement is likely the Titans way of not rubbing it in that Young lost the internal power struggle. That news can wait for another day.
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- Jeff Fisher
- Vince Young