Jeff Fisher is mindful of the fact Floyd Reese was the man who recommended him to Bud Adams to be the head coach of the then-Houston Oilers in 1994.
There has been a lot of speculation about a supposed power play by Fisher to nudge Reese aside and take more control of personnel issues himself. Unless Fisher went behind the back of COO Steve Underwood to talk to owner Bud Adams, that didn’t happen, according to Underwood.
And it doesn’t sound like something Fisher would do, either. Fisher has recently supported Reese publicly, despite their conflicts over the years.
It’s part of the nature of the beast for there to be conflict between a coach and GM. Coaches always wish the GMs and scouts would do a better job of identifying and signing talent, while the GMs and scouts always say the talent is there but isn’t being coached up properly.
Despite their differences, both men have always acted professionally and with respect to one another.
Fisher made these comments in the wake of Reese’s resignation:
Floyd was the general manager that gave me the opportunity to be a head coach, and I was the only head coach that he has ever hired. And 13 years later it is difficult to imagine that I am going to be working here without him. He has done a tremendous job over the years.
We have had our moments, but those moments have always been productive and constructive, and I just can’t say enough about what he has done for this organization. When a head coach works hand in hand with the general manager, it is difficult to find a better relationship than we’ve had over the years.
This is not a result of my deliberate intentions to carve more control. The organization is not set up in that fashion. We will continue in that same structure from the standpoint of whomever we hire and myself will work together for Steve and ultimately Mr. Adams.
In his press conference, Underwood confirmed that Fisher would have no new responsibilities and the new GM would assume basically the same responsibilities that Reese had.
I personally believe Fisher will have increased control over personnel decisions. This last year, we saw the Titans release more draft picks than ever before, guys that Reese normally would have kept as part of the final 53-man roster. It was a sign of Reese’s waning power and the shift of influence to Underwood and Fisher.
It will be interesting to see what develops, both in hiring a new GM, and also in Fisher’s own negotiations for a new long-term contract. Fisher’s option for 2007 was recently exercised by Adams.