In a few days, we will find out a lot about Bud Adams and the Tennessee Titans.
After Vince Young Meltdown II, the Titans owner said the quarterback and head coach Jeff Fisher will have to find a way to work through their differences. Both Young and Fisher are under contract, and Adams’ statements indicate that he intends to keep the feuding coach and quarterback on the team in 2011.
One has to wonder if Tennessee’s poor performance of late has changed Adams’ mind about Fisher, or if favored son Young is being questioned within Adams’ inner circle.
Fan sentiment among Titans diehards has swung heavily against both Fisher and Young. I’ve made it clear since the 2009 six-game losing streak and Fisher’s decision to don a Peyton Manning jersey at a fundraising event that I want the head coach to be issued his walking papers. Also, after defending Vince Young for the better part of my time as Titans Tracker blogger, I have destroyed my burnt-orange colored glasses and question whether the player with so much athletic upside will ever become a mature quarterback.
What will happen next week? Will Adams stand by his words and do nothing? Will he fire Fisher? Will he tell General Manager Mike Reinfeldt to cut ties with his favored son?
Many factors come in to play in Adams’ decision making process, including the status of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. I will not pretend to be interested in or knowledgeable about the CBA. I simply want the league and the player’s union to find a way to make a deal and make sure the players play a full schedule (16 games, not 18) in 2011.
Let’s explore the likelihood of a few scenarios and the implications on the Titans’ future prospects.
Both Fisher and Young stay – 50%
A younger Bud Adams was not hesitant to fire coaches, good or bad. The fact that Fisher has survived so long cannot simply be a result of his win-loss record or his playoff performance, neither of which is terribly impressive. I can only assume that an older Adams has decided that team stability is worthwhile, and that the quickest path to a Super Bowl victory is to keep his head coach, and consequently, the coach’s management style and philosophy, intact.
Adams is obviously emotionally invested in the quarterback who is a legend in the cities of Houston and Austin, Texas. Young was on his way to his best statistical season before injuring his thumb. Keeping the quarterback creates a sense of stability between the white lines; however, Young would have to (again) earn the respect of teammates who may have grown tired of his immaturity and lack of leadership.
Fisher goes, Young stays – 40%
Adams may look at the team’s 1-8 finish (I’m assuming the Titans will lose to the Colts in Indianapolis) and the disagreement involving his favored son and decide it’s time for the long-tenured coach to pack his bags and go. You also can’t help but wonder if Adams listens to fan sentiment, because many savvy fans think Titans players have quit on Fisher and that it’s time for a change.
Young goes, Fisher stays – 10%
Fisher may convince the elder Adams that everything is under control except the unruly quarterback forced upon him and the team in 2006. If Young is cut, Fisher will also have to convince Adams that a younger veteran quarterback can come in and help Tennessee reach the playoffs quickly.
I still believe the odds of Young playing for another team in 2011 presents too much risk for Adams. First, he would be essentially admitting failure, since it is believed that he forced then-General Manager Floyd Reese to draft Young in 2006. Also, if Young gets another starting job and plays well, Adams will bear ten times the regret Fisher has for letting go of Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount.
Both Fisher and Young go – 0%
Letting go of both Fisher and Young puts the Titans in full rebuilding mode, and Adams, who turns 88 on January 3, may have no desire to undertake a rebuilding project. Ironically, showing the door to Young and Fisher might be the best thing for the Titans franchise in the long run, and doing so would make the largest number of Tennessee fans happy.
What do you think of the scenarios? What will Adams decide next week? Should the Titans rebuild or reload in 2011?