NFL Wire News

Fisher makes first return to Tennessee


The Sports Xchange

EARTH CITY, Mo. — St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher spent 14 seasons as the coach of the Tennessee Titans, and he is entering his fourth season with the Rams.

On Sunday, he will make his first return to Nashville to coach a game since leaving after the 2010 season. The game will be televised nationally by FOX at 8 p.m. ET.

“You know, it’s a preseason game and it’s an opportunity for us to get better,” Fisher said in typical coach-speak. He then added, “I had great memories down there, but obviously it’s been a while. I guess I’d say I’d rather go down there for a preseason game than a regular game, but we’re looking forward to it. There’s some other guys in addition to myself that have some special memories there.”

Several members of Fisher’s staff were with him in Tennessee, including assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, senior defensive assistant Chuck Cecil and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Assistant linebackers coach Joe Bowden played in Tennessee for three seasons under Fisher.

Fisher does get to Nashville now and then because he still owns property there. When asked whether he expects a warm ovation, Fisher said, “I don’t know what to expect. I just know we’re going to go down there, focus on trying to get better and play time and keep people healthy and playing hard.”

Fisher coached through the transition from the Houston Oilers to the Titans — a process that started in 1997 and included two years as the Tennessee Oilers, when the team played first in Memphis and then at Vanderbilt as the new stadium in Nashville was being built. In their first year as the Titans, 1999, they went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl. They went 13-3 again in 2000 but got knocked out in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“The thing reflecting back, it’s the relationships with the players,” Fisher said. “All of the players that came through there, getting through the move process, the relocation process, and then the ’99 season and the 2000 season, where I think we had a better team than we did in ’99. It didn’t work out for us. It’s a great organization. I owe a tremendous amount to the Adams family for the opportunity. We won a lot of games down there.”

The Titans apparently have a video tribute planned for Fisher, but he said, “That’s the first that I’ve heard of it. So I’ll probably miss it. Coaches on the sideline don’t watch stuff on the board.”

NOTES: Left guard Rodger Saffold, who suffered a shoulder injury on the fourth offensive snap for the Rams in their preseason opener against Oakland, won’t play against the Titans. Fisher said, “We’re going to hold him out this week, but he’s doing well. Doing much better.” … Defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, last year’s second-round pick, is being counted on to be the nickel corner with the loss of E.J. Gaines for the season because of a foot injury. Said Fisher, “He’s improving every day. He’s light years ahead of where he was last year. It was all happening really fast and it’s starting to slow down for him. When he knows exactly what to do, he does it very well. We’re counting on him to be effective in the slot, which means, as a third corner, you’re probably going to play 50-60 percent of our snaps.”

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