Fisher says losing streak not evidence Titans have quit

Monday, December 6, 2010 at 5:53pm

It’s a well-worn axiom that quitters never win.

So at a time when – in some ways – it looks as if the Tennessee Titans might never win again, coach Jeff Fisher can’t get away from questions about his team’s effort in Sunday’s 17-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I was asked several times, ‘Did your team quit?’” Fisher said Monday. “This team didn’t quit. They didn’t give up a point in the second half. They got a fourth-down stop; they blocked a field goal. They played hard, we just didn’t make the plays.”

Quantifying effort is virtually impossible, which makes it difficult gauge the accuracy of Fisher’s assessment, even though his team has lost its last five.

Other problems, though, are much more easily identifiable.

Time of possession. Turnovers. Rushing offense and defense. Third down offense and defense.

Any one of them increases the challenge of getting a victory. All of them at once makes it virtually impossible, as the Titans have shown.

“Our issues are team-related issues,” Fisher said. “Right now the number-one concern of mine is time of possession. We’re last in the league in time of possession, and it’s uncharacteristic of us to be last in the league. The team’s contributing to that.

“It’s not just the offense and our inability to convert third downs or defense and its inability to get off the field on third down. It’s the turnovers – we’ve turned the ball over in the last five weeks much more than we did in the first and we’re not getting our turnovers. We have to get the football back; we have to protect it and we have to improve in both areas on third down. A lot of that starts with the run game.”

The Titans have come up short on time of possession in each of the last six games. The first of those was a 37-19 victory over Philadelphia in which the offense produced an unusual number of big plays and scored quickly, and the defense scored one touchdown of its own.

Since then, every opponent has run the ball more often than Tennessee and has had a significant edge in time of possession, none more so than Jacksonville. The Jaguars ran it 53 times, 35 by Maurice Jones-Drew, and held the ball nearly twice as long as the Titans (39:54-20:06).

“These guys are trying to get the ball carriers down,” Fisher said  “… They’re hustling to the ball. We certainly weren’t equipped to defend the run 53 times, considering the status of the defense and the number of plays we’ve played over the last month. I don’t think anybody is against that offense.”

Yet the Titans are equipped to run it themselves with running back Chris Johnson and an offensive line that was considered a strength at the start of the year. Johnson has carried the ball just 20 times in the last two games.

“We’re not getting the carries,” Fisher said. “If we convert on third down or get a turnover we’ll get the carries.”

It’s like a scavenger hunt. Uncover something and it just leads you to something else.

Tennessee has converted fewer than one-third of its third-down attempts in every game during the losing streak capped by a season-low 18 percent (2-for-11) against Jacksonville.

The defense has not created a turnover in either of the last two games and no more than one in any of the last five. Over the last four weeks the Titans’ turnover ratio is minus-8.

The good news is that there’s every reason to believe the Titans actually will win again. This is the fifth time in the last seven years they have had a streak of at least that length during the season.

Always, they eventually won again. Yet they did not make the playoffs in any of those years.

“I think the key here is that we don’t go in with the mindset that we can’t afford to make a single mistake or else,” Fisher said. “ … You just have to relax and have fun and play hard.”

In other words, don’t quit.


• With the next game set for Thursday, the Titans had a walk-through Monday afternoon and released an official injury report.

Notable in that he was not included on that report was wide receiver Kenny Britt, whio has missed virtually all of the last five games with a hamstring injury.

In all, six players were listed, including five defensive linemen – Dave Ball (hip), Tony Brown (knee), Jacob Ford (knee), Jason Jones (shoulder) and Sen’Derrick Marks (ankle). Ford and Jones participated on a limited basis. The others were not involved.

• Cortland Finnegan was named the Titans’ 2010 Community Man of the Year.


10 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 12/6/10 at 9:27

The Titans will not win another game. Jeff Fisher will leave to become the head football coach at the University of Montana. Vince Young will be named by the 87 year old owner as the first player/coach in NFL history.

Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailery circus will get the rights to show the Vince Young post game show and the training camp and all the interviews with the media.

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 8:16

Of course the coach is going to say the team hasn't quit. If they haven't, they are really bad. Personally, I don't think they're as bad as they're playing. So they must have quit.

By: jwk6179 on 12/7/10 at 9:05

Maybe in the eyes of Jeff Fisher and Titan1, they haven't quit, but in the EYES of EVERYONE ELSE, THEY HAVE QUIT!!! Even the MAJORITY of the NASHVILLE SPORTS MEDIA (Plaster, Hines, McCormick, Wyatt, even Frank Wycheck) have PUBLICLY STATED THAT THE TITANS HAVE QUIT ON JEFF FISHER!!!

By: erbymi02 on 12/7/10 at 9:43

No body likes to think of the Titans as quitters. I think this team has lost confidence in their coach. Who over the past 5 games have made some questionable decisions concerning who starts. For one; the quarterback postion has never been resolved, (After the last Vince Young meltdown - he was no even at the game) Who is the Titans starting quarterback. I don't even think Jeff Fisher is sure. Its Vince, no it's Kerry wait it's Rusty Smith. Who the Hell knows. Fishers contract is up for renewal in 2011. So far the front office has not said they would renew Fishers contract. Folks, as much as I hate saying it, maybe its time for new leadership. I think Bud Adams is probably seriously pondering this question. I say let Fisher go, get someone who can work with the QB's. Pick a fuc*in# starter and lets ride out the season with him. Win Loose or Draw. The Vikings did it with Brett Farve. The man has had many bad games but they play him. For the Titan's QB I mean it has to be the most demeaning feeling thinking you are the starter but you are coached like you are second or third string. Does Tennesee have what it takes to be an AFC contender. YES! Tennessee like its institutions on higher learning hire these morons and they treat the job like it will never be put in jepody. Fulmer was that way so was the coach at Vandy. Fisher is a great guy and I hate to say it but he needs to Go.

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 9:53

I think the instability at QB is due to injuries. VY got injured then Rusty came in with no success. Collins was already injured but is clearly a better option than Rusty, so Collins started. I see no inconsistencies, he's just playing the hand he's dealt.

And what does the starting QB have to do with stopping the Jags running game? Does Collins play linebacker too?

They've given up.

By: erbymi02 on 12/7/10 at 11:15

Sure they're plagued by injuries - but guess what? most of the league is plagued with injuries by game 8. Yes, he's (Fisher) playing the hand he's dealt. However, the QB issue does not start with the Jags, it starts with Game 1. Don't get me wrong, I like Fisher and he's been great. However, Who is the starting QB? It has always been a question (dates by to McNair) and this problem still plagues the Titans - The QB represents leadership both on and off the field. Further the decisions to release Vanden Bosh, Bulluck and other hurt the defense as well. I still think its time to take a look at the coach.

By: gdiafante on 12/7/10 at 11:29

Um...Fisher isn't the GM, he's the coach. And VY has been the starter since last year if he's healthy.

By: TITAN1 on 12/7/10 at 1:50

They haven't quit as evidenced with holding Jacksonville scoreless in the second half. They just aren't playing well. I don't think coach Fisher gets fired at the end of the season because I don't see Mr Adams paying him his last year of his contract and him not coaching the team. If Mr Adams insists on coach Fisher starting VY I think he will just do the best he can during the last year of his contract. Going to be an interesting off season.

By: courier37027 on 12/7/10 at 9:38

TITAN1 by your math and logic if holding Jacksonville scoreless for second half is not quitting, what do you call Titans' 13 quarters without scoring a touchdown on offense? Splitting the atom? Achieving world peace? Because the Titans offense is 650% more effective in not scoring a touchdown than Titans defense was, holding Jacksonville scoreless for two quarters.

By: junglejim on 12/11/10 at 8:25

the Titans SUCK big time. I'm tearing up my titans shirts and coats. I'm selling my sky box but I'm gonna pee in the middle of the floor first. buddy adams needs to wake his ole ass up and fire fisher and all the other coaches. I say make dandy randy moss the head coach and change the mascot to a wussy in honor of all the players. The only player that I've seen who made a half hearted effort to win is my little steel ball chris johnson. I think if we could get him to shave his head he'd pick up 2 or 3 seconds in the 40 yard dash. Them jeri curls have to much drag on that little man. Hell.....make him half owner of the team for $50.00 Anyway......most of the titans fans are fed up for this year. maybe we'll have better luck nexk year....FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE FISHER AND YOUNG.