In the wake of the stunning news of a late-January firing of Titans coach Jeff Fisher, one of his key defensive players chimed in regarding the move.
Safety Chris Hope joined Craig Shemon and Bob Berger of Sporting News Radio on Thursday night to discuss the situation.
“I was very surprised and pretty much shocked at the time when I heard the devastating news about Coach Fisher not returning next season,” Hope said. “It’s like a loss to your family, man. Coach Fisher is one of the most respected and highly regarded coaches in the league.”
Hope said he “never imagined” not playing for Fisher in 2011, and that it’s hard to think about the Titans “without putting Jeff Fisher’s name in the equation.”
Hope said he doesn’t know who’ll replace Fisher, the coach of the team since the years before the franchise moved from Houston. “Whoever the next coach is, he has some big shoes to fill. . . . [Fisher is] what the Tennessee Titans are about,” Hope said.
“One of the better coaches in the league,” Hope said. “One of the best I’ve ever played for.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether similar opinions flow from within the locker room. Though Fisher managed to survive nearly a generation of short fuses and hot seats created by the “if they did it why can’t we?” realities of parity, the final destination won’t be Canton or anywhere close to it. Six playoff appearances, one Super Bowl appearance, a winning percentage not far north of .500, and a team that has developed a reputation for being dirtier than Bob Saget’s mouth.
Assuming that Fisher takes the year off, the next question will be whether there’s a demand for Fisher’s services in 2012.
Given that John Fox parlayed an eight-year run in Carolina that included a Super Bowl appearance and ended with a 2-14 flame out, chances are that Fisher will find another home.