Tag:Jeff Fisher
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:56 am
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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:58 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Potential head coaches

Zimmer (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s getting to be about that time. Christmas? Yes, of course. Hannukah? Naturally. Festivus? It depends on your syndicated TV viewing habits. The carousel of coaches who are fired and hired, changing the courses of several franchises for the foreseeable future? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Personally, I hate to see any coach drawing the pink slip, but as Bum Phillips once said, “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." Jack Del Rio knows of what Phillips speaks -- he’s already been asked to vacate the Jaguars premises. And there will be plenty more firings to come.

As colleague Will Brinson pointed out in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, at least seven coaches (Steve Spagnuolo, Andy Reid, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris, Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Norv Turner) are on the hot seat, and that means there’s a strong possibility a whole mess of new coaches will be needed. Like last year, when I presented my list of potential coaches*, many of the candidates are career assistants who have never had a chance at a head coaching slot. Some you’ve seen in this role before. All, though, deserve a chance --- or another chance -- to run a team of their own. And who knows, maybe they’d be the one to turn around a franchise in need of a jump-start.

*Only two from last year’s list made it this list (Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer), and with Leslie Frazier, Jim Harbaugh and John Fox in new jobs, I’ve also dropped candidates like Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron from consideration.

10. Bruce Arians: I had Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the list last year, though I figured that’s not going to happen at this point, but why shouldn’t teams take a look at Arians, Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator? He was the head coach at Temple in the 1980s -- his record is an unshiny 21-45 -- but the paradigm shift made by the team since he’s been offensive coordinator is impressive. The Steelers are no longer a smashmouth, pound-the-rock offense. No, with Ben Roethlisberger and a trio of talented young receivers, the Steelers have entered the 21st century with their offense. There was talk Arians was a contender for the Ole Miss job, and it sounds like these people also would be rooting for Arians to get a head coaching job.

9. Joe DeCamillis: Before you say, “Why in the hell would you hire a special teams coach to be your head coach?” remember that John Harbaugh followed a similar path -- he spent nine years as the Eagles special teams coach and didn’t spend one second as a coordinator -- and it seems to have worked out OK for the Ravens. Plus, as CBSSports.com Pete Prisco said in a recent chat, DeCamillis, the Cowboys special teams ace, is organized and passionate. And if Prisco says he’s OK, it must be true.

8. Rob Chudzinski: He hasn’t spent much time as an NFL offensive coordinator, but he’s performed his finest work this year. Sure, he has some talent on his hands (Cam Newton and Steve Smith, obviously), but the work he’s done with Newton this season has been impressive. It’s difficult to remember this now, but Newton was considered a raw specimen with only one year of major college football before the Panthers took him No. 1 in the draft. But with Chudzinski’s help, Newton oftentimes plays amazing football for a rookie. It’s doubtful anybody will take a chance on Chudzinski at this point, but he’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

7. Chuck Pagano: While the Ravens offense has been in a state of flux this season, there’s little question about the effectiveness of Baltimore’s defense, which is ranked third in the league in points allowed and yards. Pagano is only in his first season as a coordinator, taking over this season for Greg Mattison, but the Ravens have been more effective this year (they were 10th in the league in yards in 2010). Pagano might need more seasoning, but he’s a guy who could ride Baltimore’s wave, particularly if the Ravens go deep into the playoffs, into a possible new job.

6. Brian Billick: There are plenty of reasons not to hire Billick. Like he said recently, he’s not young and he’s not cheap. But if you’re not necessarily looking to hire somebody for the next three decades and you have some money to spend, why wouldn’t you take a look at Billick? Yes, he’s pompous (though very good while being interviewed, and I like him on the NFL Network), but he’s also confident in his abilities. As well he should be. In nine years in Baltimore, he went 80-64, and you might remember that he won a Super Bowl title. It would take a special owner to turn to Billick, but I think it could be a very good choice.

5. Wade Phillips: The job Phillips has done in Houston this year has convinced me that Phillips deserves another chance at a head coaching job. Obviously, things didn’t end well in Dallas -- do they ever with Jerry Jones, though? -- but did you know he has a better winning percentage (.573) than Jeff Fisher (.542) and Brian Billick (.556)? And that in his nine full seasons as a head coach, he only had one losing record? There’s no doubt that Phillips knows what he’s doing as a defensive coordinator, and we know Phillips can win as a head coach as well. He’s deserving of another chance.
Ryan
4. Rob Ryan: This is what I wrote last year: “We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns (now Cowboys) defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?” Indeed Josh from 2010, it would be pretty awesome.

3. Russ Grimm: He was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year as a player. Now he deserves his own team to run. He was nearly selected to follow Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh -- and some believe he was offered the job before the Steelers rescinded the offer and gave it to Mike Tomlin -- and for now, Grimm is an assistant head coach to Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. You’d think Grimm would get his chance eventually, but he has to wonder how much longer he’ll have to wait.

2. Jeff Fisher: If you were going to hire a former head coach and you had an infinite amount of money to woo even the most resistant of people, you might go with Bill Cowher as the first choice. But my second choice probably would be Fisher. For 17 seasons with the Oilers/Titans, he recorded a 142-120 record, and he came ever so close to a Super Bowl victory. Aside from Cowher, I’m not sure there’s another former head coach out there that would command as much instant respect as Fisher.

1. Mike Zimmer: After a one-year slip-up, when the team was ranked 24th in the NFL in points allowed, the Bengals, once again, are one of the top units in the league. This, even after losing top cornerback Johnathan Joseph to the Texans and after failing to re-sign starting linebacker Dhani Jones. Zimmer has received effective play from youngsters Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and though there are no legit stars on defense, somehow Zimmer keeps making the case why somebody (anybody?!?) should give him a job. It’s time for Zimmer to have his shot.

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Report: 2 teams have reached out to Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher could return to the sidelines in 2012. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, Jack Del Rio became the first head coach to get canned this NFL season. He won't be the last. In fact, by the time the offseason rolls around, there could be up to 10 teams looking for new coaches.

One name mentioned at the top of most lists: Jeff Fisher, the longtime coach with the Oilers and Titans who was fired last offseason. Over the weekend there were reports that any interest he might have in the Chargers job (which almost certainly will be vacant the moment Norv Turner puts the finishing touches on another disappointing campaign) will hinge on whether general manager A.J. Smith is relieved of his duties, too.

Now that we're three-quarters of the way through the 2011 season, clubs have begun making plans for 2012. According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, two teams have reached out to Fisher about possible coaching opportunities.

"The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, and St. Louis Rams could be possible destinations for Fisher," La Canfora wrote Monday. "Fisher has very strong ties to ownership in Dallas and New York; San Diego is the closest thing to a hometown team; and St. Louis' front office has ties to him as well, with Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff's father, Marv Demoff, being Fisher's longtime agent."

On Sunday, we posted a list of current coaches on the hot seat:

* Norv Turner (4-7)
* Steve Spagnuolo (2-10)
* Jim Caldwell (0-12)
* Tony Sparano (4-8)
* Todd Haley (5-7)
* Tom Coughlin (6-6)
* Andy Reid (4-8)
* Raheem Morris (4-8)
* Leslie Frazier (2-10)

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has since said that Frazier's job is safe, and there's a report that Reid can stick around if he dumps offensive coordinator Juan Castillo. But there's a good chance the other teams above could be in the market for new coaches (although we can't understand why Coughlin would be fired -- he's done well given all the injuries the Giants have endured this season).

Whatever happens, there's a good chance Fisher is back on the sidelines in 2012.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Coaching hot seat adding names down the stretch

The question now: who will replace Norv? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner's days in San Diego are numbered. We've heard nothing official from Chargers owner Dean Spanos, but between another underwhelming season (this one includes a six-game losing streak) and the near-daily rumors about Turner's demise, it doesn't take Norman Einstein to make the logical jump that San Diego will be looking for a new coach the moment the season ends.

The biggest question is whether general manager A.J. Smith will be relieved of his duties, too. And that decision could determine who replaces Turner. During NFL GameDay Morning, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports that a) Turner is as good as gone (not news) and b) A-list coaches like Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher would have interest in the job … but only if Smith is out (news).

"Remember, Cowher's mentor is Marty Schottenheimer who went 14-2 and lost a power struggle with A.J. Smith," La Canfora said. "Jeff Fisher, I'm told, would have some reservations working with Smith. So if [the Chargers] want the kind of coach that they may desire, then they may have to blow up everything to get him."

Other coaches on the hot seat heading into the final five weeks of the season (via La Canfora):

* Norv Turner (4-7)
* Steve Spagnuolo (2-9)
* Jim Caldwell (0-11)
* Tony Sparano (3-8)
* Todd Haley (4-7)
* Tom Coughlin (6-5)
* Andy Reid (4-8)
* Raheem Morris (4-7)
* Leslie Frazier (2-9)

La Canfora "doesn't really see a scenario where" Turner, Spagnuolo and Caldwell are back next season. He also mentions that Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli "always hires within his family tree," one which includes Kirk Ferentz and Josh McDaniels.

Regarding Jacksonville's job opening: "Mike Sherman was contacted by the Jags before they fired Jack Del Rio. He was at A&M at that point. Texas A&M has since let him go. Mike Sherman, Jay Gruden, Brian Schottenheimer -- names to watch in connection to that Jacksonville job."

Most amazing: no one's talking about Mike Shanahan's job security.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Potential Jack Del Rio replacements + expert chat



Posted by Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson

The early list of candidates to replace Jack Del Rio is long and varied. (US PRESSWIRE)

Jack Del Rio's out in Jacksonville and that means it's time for everyone's favorite rollercoaster ride: the coaching carousel! JDR's been replaced by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for the rest of 2011, and Jacksonville represents an interesting situation because most folks believe they're not capable of landing a "big-name coach."

However, all the usuals are on our list, as well as some names you might want to keep an eye on. If you think we missed someone who's a viable candidate, leave them in the comments or tell us on our new Facebook page.

Jack Del Rio Fired

Mel Tucker, DC, Jaguars

Tucker's the interim coach for the Jaguars after serving as defensive coordinator for Jacksonville for the past three years, and that gives him a leg up on everyone else in Jacksonville's coaching search. Tucker's teams haven't been top flight the entire time he's been in J-Vegas, but the Jaguars 2011 defense is one of the best in the NFL, ranking fifth in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed in the league. That's even more impressive considering how terrible the Jaguars offense has been. A strong close to the season could vault Tucker to the top of Gene Smith's list.


Dirk Koetter, OC, Jaguars

Koetter didn't get the interim coach label (it went to Tucker instead) for Jacksonville, which doesn't bode well for his future with the club. But he's got head coaching experience at the college level, running Boise State from 1998-2000 and Arizona State 2001-2006. Of course, the downside of Koetter is that he's been running the Jaguars offense since 2007 and, with the exception of 2008, it's been a below-average unit since he's gotten there. If Koetter can get Blaine Gabbert and the offense to show some life over the final five games, he'll be a strong candidate, if Tucker doesn't beat him out.

Jay Gruden, OC, Bengals

Even though Gruden's in just his first year as an NFL coach, he's already become a hot name as a possibility for future head-coaching jobs. His work with a Bengals offense that features two rookies -- Andy Dalton and A.J. Green -- as the centerpieces can't be ignored, and Cincy's success 11 games into the year vastly outweighs the fact that Gruden spent the previous decade or so years coaching in the UFL.

Rob Ryan, DC, Cowboys

Though Ryan has drawn a lot of attention for his mouth in Dallas, he's also drawn a lot of attention for the success of his defense. His brother is succeeding as a head coach in New York, obviously, and it's believed to be only a matter of time until Rob gets a chance. Don't sleep on him being the only coach who might actually increase ticket sales, too. The biggest question might be whether the Jaguars prefer an offensive guy heading up the team.

Rob Chudzinksi, OC, Panthers

"Chud" took his first coordinator gig this season when he followed Ron Rivera from San Diego to Carolina to serve as offensive coordinator of the Panthers. And he's drawn plenty of attention with the work he and his staff have done with Cam Newton, one of the most prolific rookie quarterbacks in NFL history. If the Jaguars believed Chudzinski could have the same effect on Gabbert as he did Cam in 2011, they'll certainly be interested in at least adding him to the short (?) list of potential candidates.

Jeff Fisher, former Titans head coach

Until he was fired last season by the Titans, Fisher was the NFL's longest tenured coach having been on the sidelines in Tennessee (and before they moved, Houston) for 17 years. He's well respected by his players and clearly capable of building a winner over the long haul. His background is as a defensive coach, but the Titans' offense had little trouble matriculating the ball down the field with the right personnel (see Eddie George and Steve McNair, for example). Xs and Os are important, but more important is motivating a team in dire need of direction.

Bill Cowher, CBS Sports NFL analyst, former Steelers head coach

The former Steelers coach said earlier this season that he had no plans on coaching in 2012, but like most things, plans can change depending on the circumstances. In this case, we're guessing Cowher would need 10 million or so circumstances to nudge him back onto the sidelines. Jacksonville isn't as glamorous as, say, Miami or New York, cities with other possible job openings at the end of the year, but presumably Cowher will be motivated by more than the local Zagat's guide. The Jags have played like an uninspired bunch in 2011 and while Cowher may not possess the tactical acumen of, say, Bill Belichick, he is, above all else, inspirational. Plus, there's a good chance Cowher will bring some of the Steelers front office with him wherever he ends up, which means built-in roster depth and salary-cap savvy.

Brian Billick, FOX Sports NFL analyst, former Ravens head coach

Billick got his job with the Ravens because he was hailed as something of an offensive mastermind during his OC-ing days with the Vikings (not hurting that perception: Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Randall Cunningham). He's not much into developing quarterbacks he was also responsible for drafting, but Gabbert's already there. Maybe he'd have better success if he wasn't actually burdened with selecting the player, too. Either way, Billick was a winner in Baltimore even if it wasn't always pretty. He's been out of coaching since 2008 but it's only a matter of time before he gets another chance.

Brian Schottenheimer, Jets OC

The list of hot young coordinators isn't as long as it once was. Crash-and-burns from the likes of Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels tempered some of the "let's go young!" enthusiasm temporarily favored by owners and front-office types. But Schottenheimer, despite the annual criticism, is considered an up-and-comer with the Jets. That offense, with Mark Sanchez under center, is far from high-powered, instead built around the run. They've had success with that philosophy, twice making it to the AFC Championship game, but the "ground and pound" approach relies on a stout defense. The Jags have the makings of that, although it's not clear Schottenheimer would be able to get the most out of Gabbert or Jacksonville's offense.

Russ Grimm, Cardinals associated head coach

Just over four years ago, Grimm was in line to replace Cowher in Pittsburgh and widely considered head-coaching material. He lost out to Mike Tomlin for the Steelers gig and has been the associate head coach in Arizona ever since. He was an offensive lineman during his playing career and he would bring a certain toughness the Jags have lost this season. He's not a top candidate but there's no guarantee the Jags will be able to land their No. 1 choice.

Wild Card: Tom Coughlin, Giants head coach

Apparently, Coughlin's on the hot seat in New York, although that seems silly given that the Giants have been besieged with injuries and bad luck. It's not like he's lost the team, but should he get canned, Coughlin could be worth a long look to return to the place where it all started for Jacksonville. He was the franchise's first coach, from 1995-2002, and he led them to two AFC Championship appearances, and in 1999, a 14-2 record.

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:31 am
 

Mike Heimerdinger, 58, dies of cancer

HeimerdingerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Mike Heimerdinger, a former offensive coordinator for the Broncos and Jets who was most recently employed as the offensive coordinator for the Titans, died Friday after a short battle with cancer, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter

Heimerdinger, 58, was diagnosed last November, but that very same week, he put off chemotherapy to return to his job, calling plays in the press box during gameday. Heimerdinger said he wanted to remain with the team as he went through his outpatient chemo, and that’s what he did the rest of the 2010 season.

But after Jeff Fisher resigned following the season, new Titans coach Mike Munchak decided not to keep Heimerdinger. For his part, Heimerdinger didn’t appear bitter about his firing nor about his diagnosis.

“The hard part is I am not a real patient person, and this is not a patient disease,” Heimerdinger said in June. “It is a marathon, and I want it done now. I want the chemo to work and doctors to say, ‘It is all gone.’ But that is not going to happen. So you have to come to terms with that. That is the hard part for me.

“I was hoping it went away. I was hoping that the first treatments, it would go into remission and disappear. Obviously it didn’t, so I’ve had to do more treatments. The main thing is to keep it under control and not spread it. And it hasn’t spread, and it is under control. Hopefully, we can keep it under control.

In the offseason, he won the Halas Award for overcoming adversity from the Pro Football Writers Association.

"He was passionate about the fight, obviously because of his love for his family but what also drove him passionately was his desire to get back on the sideline,” Fisher said, via ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “He loved his family, he loved this game and all that came with it. We've lost a great one."

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Kiffin says 'almost impossible' to win with Davis

Lane Kiffin took shots at his former boss, Oakland owner Al Davis (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Raiders owner Al Davis is an easy figure to mock.

His organization’s obsession with drafting speed -- Exhibit No. 1,240: Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft -- can be laughable. His press conferences, though very infrequent at this point in his life, are fascinating as much for his physical appearance as what he’s actually saying. And his decisions on the coaches who will lead his team are … well … questionable at best (Art Shell again? Tom Cable? Lane Kiffin?).

People forget that he was a well-respected Raiders coach in the 1960s, and many of the ideas he brought to the game (or, you know, took from others) were influential into making the NFL what it’s become today.

But could anybody make an argument that Davis’ time hasn’t passed him by?

Kiffin certainly wouldn’t, as he makes perfectly clear in this ESPN interview when asked whether it was impossible to win in Oakland.

“It is almost impossible,” Kiffin said. “I don't know why I didn't listen, [because] so many people told me that. That's why, if you ask [Steve Sarkisian], he didn't go. He had a chance to go. You're just so far behind other clubs. You're waiting for [Davis] to wake up and come to work at 2 o'clock in the afternoon to make decisions that the rest of the league is making at 6 o'clock in the morning. You're still running videotapes over to the hotel so he can watch practice at night.”

Kiffin was also asked about Davis’ use of an overhead projector at the presser to announce Kiffin’s firing and if that was a metaphor for the way Davis runs his team.

“It was sad, really, to see somebody who's accomplished so much in his career and been such a powerful figure in the NFL ... to see that was actually pretty sad to watch,” Kiffin said. “But you're exactly right, an overhead projector -- that describes the pace that you're dealing with of the way an organization is being run.”

Of course, you have to consider the source, considering Kiffin flaked out at the University of Tennessee before taking the head coaching job at Southern California and then tried to hire a Titans coach behind Jeff Fisher's back. And though some of what he says comes off as cruel, he’s not necessarily wrong.

But remember, when Davis fired Kiffin, he held a news conference in which he basically ripped the hell out of Kiffin and pointed out all his deficiencies, saying, “I think he conned me like he conned all you people.”

Kiffin, I’m sure, hasn’t forgotten that. And, like I said, Davis is not a hard figure to find if you want to take your shots at him. It's actually pretty sad that Kiffin has decided he wanted to pick on his 82-year-old former boss.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Titans will have to cut Vince Young in a hurry

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Jeff Fisher might think that Vince Young can learn from his mistakes, but we all agree that if Young gets that opportunity it will be somewhere other than Tennessee. New Titans coach Mike Munchak made that clear in April and nothing's changed in the three month's since.

Except that the proposed new collective bargaining agreement now makes getting rid of Young a priority for the Titans. The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt provides the details:

"Young’s scheduled to receive a $4.25 million roster bonus on the 10th day of the 2011 league year," Wyatt explains. "Under the old CBA, the Titans would’ve had 10 days to trade him before they had to release him. Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange obtained a summary of the proposed deal that was reviewed by the NFLPA* this week and it states the due date for all offseason option and roster bonuses will move to the second day of the new league year."

Translation: instead of 10 days, now the Titans have one day to trade or cut Young or they'll owe him a cool $4.25 million. And Wyatt's thinking on what this means for everybody involved is spot on. "No team is going to be willing to trade for Young since everyone knows the Titans plan to release him."

All that's left, it seems, is to figure out where Young will play in 2011.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com