Titans fire Chow after three seasons

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:19am

The Tennessee Titans fired offensive coordinator Norm Chow was fired after three seasons in the position Tuesday.

There also appears to be a possibility that Mike Heimerdinger, who preceded Chow, could be among potential candidates to replace him.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher issued a statement on Tuesday regarding Chow’s ouster, saying the team has decided to go in a different direction, as whispers of potential issues between Chow and Vince Young surfaced.

“Over the last week, we have done a lot of self-evaluation, and I think we still have work ahead of us to reach our ultimate goal,” Fisher said in the statement. “I have informed Norm that he will not be retained as our offensive coordinator. I appreciate all of the hard work and contributions he made to the organization during his time here, but I have decided to go in a different direction and will start the process of finding a new offensive coordinator. We wish Norm and his family the best in their future endeavors.”

Speculation on Tuesday was that Heimerdinger might be a candidate, but Tennessee would have to get permission to interview him from the Denver Broncos, where he is assistant head coach. Heimerdinger held the position from 2000-04 with the Titans and had success in turning Steve McNair into an MVP while improving Tennessee’s passing attack with a timing offense.

Heimerdinger was reached by The City Paper while on vacation Tuesday and said, “I’m under contract, so I can’t comment. I have no idea if anything has been done [regarding permission by the Titans] or not.”

According to a source, a decision on Chow’s fate may have been reached as early as late last week, but Chow apparently not notified until Tuesday when he was back in his off-season home of Los Angeles, where his wife still lives.

Chow, 61, was hired in part because the Titans were nearing the end of McNair’s run when he came on board in 2005, and they were set to draft a young quarterback to take his place. Tennessee then took Young with the third overall pick in 2006.

Chow had groomed such standout quarterbacks as Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers in 30-plus seasons on the college level.

Young had won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, but regressed in 2007, throwing just nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the regular season. Though there were few visible signs of a rift, there were rumors of differences between the two that emerged this season.

After a home loss to Jacksonville, Young said he said he didn’t know “if the guys don’t trust me” and comments attributed to Chow on the Titans’ Sunday Night Football appearance at Indianapolis on NBC, saying Young was a “pouter.”

A league source indicated that Chow was unhappy with Young’s preparation, maturity and commitment to the team’s off-season program last year as far as learning the playbook and becoming proficient in the terminology of the offense.

Last week, on WGFX-FM 104.5’s “The Wakeup Zone,” after the Titans’ playoff loss at San Diego, veteran center Kevin Mawae said Young needed to be more well versed in the offense and have a better overall knowledge of the scheme and personnel groupings in the huddle.

The Titans finished 27th overall in offense this season. Tennessee’s red zone offense efficiency was last in the NFL this past season and the team’s nine touchdown passes was also the lowest figure for any team in the NFL.

Running backs coach Sherman Smith, who is also an assistant head coach on offense, was sorry to see Chow leave.

“It was a great pleasure to work with Norm to see why he was successful in college ranks,” Smith said. “He was definitely very innovative. The thing I loved about him was that he relied on his assistant coaches input. He respected your opinion, and I think he was a great guy to work for.”

Among the in-house candidates who could get an interview are quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson, with whom Young has a strong relationship, as well as offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

Recently fired Miami Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron is also an intriguing name currently available.

Whoever the next offensive coordinator is, it will be his charge to help mold Young into a standout quarterback.

“We need to bring someone in that can help our quarterback develop. Who can help Vince Young become all that we want him to become and all he wants him to become?” Smith said.

As for Chow, he will likely land back in the college ranks. His wife and family remained in Los Angeles, while he was in Nashville, and new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel has publicly said he would like to have Chow as his offensive coordinator.

Efforts to reach Chow were unsuccessful on Tuesday.

SCHWARTZ UPDATE: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz apparently is not a front burner candidate now for any of three openings he has interviewed for. The Atlanta Falcons have turned their attention to Jason Garrett and Rex Ryan.

Gregg Williams is the favorite in Washington, while Tony Sparano is the leading possibility in Miami.

In Baltimore, where Schwartz has not interviewed, Garrett is believed to be the front-runner.

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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The guys on LAC worked over Fisher pretty good tonight for not letting him do his job which he is good at and talking him into coming here when he had intent of running the show.Interesting comment that Fisher plays not to lose, not to win. Perhaps he is the one that should get his walking papers?

By: BADCOPS on 12/31/69 at 7:00

About time Chow left. Should have happened a long time ago.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

This is an embarrassment to both Fisher and Chow. Chow may have been out of his element. Young is probably more athletic than smart. Bud Adams probably was motivational in seeing that Fisher made this move. This is just another day in a fast track world.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Fisher hires his coaches, not Mr Adams. The offense was not improving and coach Fisher wanted to make a change, I have no problem with it.

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

TITAN1, you were probably one of the fans that praised the hiring of Norm Chow as being a steal, labeling him as the next offensive genius of the NFL before he even coached one game in the NFL. Now you think that firing Norm Chow was the greatest thing to ever happen to the Titans. It's good to see you are still partaking in "MR. ADAMS' KOOL-AID"!

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Titan1, If you were a fish in a catch & release lake you would be caught at least five times a day. God knows you are a good man but oh so gullible.

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

3 years is about as long as Fisher keeps his OCs, Chow's shelf life was up. Firing him over the phone was pretty gutless. Especially from Fisher, a guy who always talks about how to conduct yourself in the "right way" and toughness.It didn't help Chow any that the O was pitiful and VY had made little if any progress on his watch.Is Heimerdinger the answer? Who knows, but if VY does poorly under him then we have to wonder if VY is the guy or if we need another QB.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

"According to a source, a decision on Chow’s fate may have been reached as early as late last week, but Chow apparently not notified until Tuesday when he was back in his off-season home of Los Angeles, where his wife still lives." Via telephone. Nice. Yeah, this Fisher is a real class act, huh? Chow is merely the latest casualty in "Fisher's World" to be crapped on in this manner. Al DelGreco, Joe Salavea, Derrick Mason, Steve McNair, Billy Volek...What a classy guy indeed. He's the one serving the Kool-Aid, not Bud.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

your kidding right? DelGreco Salavea,Mason, McNair, Volek. What do all of these have in common? Career over..except Volek who is still a decent backup (but not willing to mentor Vince which Collins is)

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

JWK, A lot of people (fans and sock puppets) thought Chow was a good hire, just LOTS of people (fans and sock puppets) thought Charlie Weis was a great hire an Notre Dame. The coaching unemployment line is littered with "great hires".

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

producer - Sorry, I was unaware that Mason's career was over. My bad, I was mistaken in thinking that he had over a thousand yards receiving this past season on a team with no offense. I also was confused in thinking that Salavea (who BTW had no "cap" implications at the time of his ouster) had a few very good seasons with Washington after he left here. DelGreco was heralded by Fisher as the lone reason we lost to Baltimore. The way Fisher "threw him under the bus" probably caused the rest of the league to view him as washed up.(You know as well as I that with kickers there is a mentality of "what have you done for me lately?

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

McNair admitted later that his agent told him to go to the practice facility because he knew he would be turned away. The agent wanted to spin it as bad pub which it was not. Steve made a mistake by going for more bucks thinking he would get the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but it did not work out. It was his choice to leave. Volek begged to be traded, didn't want the competition, he is a backup, nothing more.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

TITAN1, my reply was actually directed at producer2, but since you brought it up... Steve had NO chance of playing here another year, since he willingly went along with the franchise's plans by restructuring his contract repeatedly over the length of his stay here. No team in the NFL is going to pay ANY player $50,000,000 for one year of play. That just the way the league is run as a business. Got no problem with that - he knew it was coming. My problem is with the WAY Steve was let go in a completely CLASSLESS manner by your "classy" buddy. (Or maybe you ARE him?) And I ain't buyin' that crap about "Oh, I was out of town and had no idea that they were doing that to him!" Please! You're the head coach, for cryin' out loud. It's the same way he DID treat Mason, who begged Fisher to let him restructure his own contract so the cap hit would be minimized, so he could remain a Titan. And you are correct - Volek DIDN'T want the competition. Would you have, given the same circumstances? WHY was competition even brought in? He was given a complete vote of confidence AND the starting job that he had EARNED by Fisher during the offseason. Then Fisher brought in Collins. HE LIED to the man. Quit making excuses for the turd and accept that. BTW, "..he is a backup, nothing more...". That is a very odd label to put on a guy who set an all time NFL record for passing yardage over a three game stretch. Looks like he might just get a chance to prove you wrong this weekend.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

producer2, Sorry, I got going with my "verbal diarrhea" and completely forgot to make my point in my reply to you. My point wasn't whether or not any of the players mentioned should or should not have been cut. It was the classless manner in which it was done by your hero.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Did coach Fisher do something to you personally? Good grief, never have seen anyone attack one of the top coaches in the league like you have.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Volek set the record throwing against prevent defenses trying to play from behind. Just look at the colts game at Indy during that stretch. He tested the waters and nobody wanted him as their starter. Coach Fisher did nothing classless.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Didn't do anything to me other than deprive me, a ticket buying, tax paying supporter of the team of numerous wins with his poor play calling and arrogant, ego driven decisions. Never even met the guy, personally. Atlanta wanted Billy. He chose to stay here because he was promised a starting role with a team he had been with for years, in a system with which he was familiar. Hopefully one of us will get our chance Monday to say, "I told you so". You say Fisher has never done anything classless?? No more Kool-Aid 4 U.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The staff lost confidence in Volek during the preseason and realized he was not #1 material. It was his to lose, and he lost it. Most Titan fans I know personally, and fans from other message boards are thrilled that he is our coach. Then there is the minority that don't like him for whatever reason. We will just have to agree to disagree.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Hey - I agreed with you on the Adam Jones thing earlier - we've got that! I know that is the story that was spun to the fans by Fisher about Volek. I'm just trying to read between the lines, because that just made absolutely no sense whatsoever. How does one earn the starter's job with his play and courage (don't forget the spleen)during the regular season, and then lose it during practice during the offseason? (Unless it was actually a personal issue) Besides, one of the lies coming out of that deal was that Volek didn't want to put in the time before/after practice with the wideouts - a fib that was vehemently disputed by his own team mates/receivers' when they were asked about it by reporters after the fact. Like I said earlier, regardless of whatever personal squabbles existed between Fisher and Volek, it was absolutely in the best interest of the team to keep him here and give him his shot, instead of aquiring an old, immobile quarterback for pocket change that couldn't even keep the team's collective head above water long enough to let VY watch and learn before being thrust into the fire. It looked like initially that Vince was able to handle it, until he got injured and lost his own mobility, then he looked like a deer in the headlights. Let's not forget that he won ALL of those games last year with his legs - not his arm. I'm not knocking Vince, I still think he is better than anyone has been at the same stage of their careers(s), I just think the better plan would have been to let him sit at least a year, after which time he might not have HAD to rely on his legs so much. Retaining Volek would have given him that chance, and would have given the team a better chance of winning early last season than did Collins. Unfortunately, because of Fisher's ego, Vince & his team mates didn't get that chance.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Titan1, we are finally on the same page. Jeff Fisher is just doing his job the way he sees it. For my pennies worth,I give Fisher a vote of confidence.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Just thought I would let you guys go at each other for awhile. I needed a break....You are right Junebug, not all of those players careers were over in some instances (Mason)the dollar figure was too high. As far as Volek, I have a few sources and I don;t blame him, he wanted to start and all he was going to get was one year tops and he did not want to teach his replacement. Same problem the Oilers had with Chris Chandler who did not want to mentor McNair. It is interesting that you now consider Collins old and immobile when just a few short weeks ago you thought he was the only way we could win a game.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

producer2 - you need to go back and reference the old posts, if you still can. You have me mixed up with another poster there. I have NEVER said we have a better chance of winning with Collins. You must be referencing my post prior to the playoff game, where I stated that we had better install some quick passes, like NE had done against the Giants, and Manning had done against us the week before, since in both instances their coaches new their QB wouldn't have much time to get the ball out, given the stellar pass rush of both of their opponents. I stated in that discussion that I would rather have VY ANY day over Collins, but that after Fisher's usual political statement early in the week that Collins probably WAS going to get the start - get your facts straight before you start slinging around accusations.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

my apologies.....

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Accepted - it's all good. This whole forum is just good fun to me.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

yes but it is hard to remember who hates who anymore. :)