Jeff Fisher continues to make headlines as the most likely candidate for every available coaching position in the NFL. There has been analysis as to why he is so great, and there has been analysis as to why he isn't so great. Ultimately, he will find a new home as the new head coach of an NFL franchise, and until then we will speculate about where that will be.
Today, the Oakland Raiders made a somewhat surprising move and fired coach Hue Jackson. Jackson had one season as Raiders head coach, and most analysts would say he did a reasonable job. The Raiders finished 8-8 on the season, and were in the division race until the last game of the year. They significantly fell off toward the end of the season, losing four out of their last five game, but they had reason to be optimistic heading into the offseason.
Jackson took responsibility for the team missing the playoffs, and his end-of-season speech was relatively inspiring. After losing the final game of the season, he said this in his post game press conference:
I'm going take a stronger hand in this whole team, this whole organization. There's no way that I'm going to feel like I feel today a year from now. I promise you that. There's no question. Defensively, offensively and special teams. I'm not feeling like this no more. This is a joke.
Regardless of how this offseason would have played out for the Raiders, it is irrelevant now that they are in the search for a new head coach.
Cue Jeff Fisher.
Of course we are going to talk about Fisher and yet another coaching vacancy. The difference between this job, though, and the jobs in Miami and St. Louis, is the fact that I feel this is the best opportunity for Fisher to succeed.
First, looking at the Miami head coaching gig, I just don't get the feeling they are what Fisher is looking for. They don't have a "young" up and coming franchise QB. They don't have an extremely high draft pick, and frankly they have been looking too hard at coaches and front office moves to make them win as opposed to planning and molding the on-field talent.
Does anyone else find it a bit "weird" that Fisher hasn't made a commitment yet? Typically a coach accepts a position within a few days of the interview. Fisher seemingly told the Rams, "I'll let you know," and everyone else can just speculate on where/when he will let them know.
There have been indications a possible Rams move to L.A. is somewhat of a hold-up in the deal, and it should be. We all remember Fisher's last coaching gig where he moved a franchise from Houston to Nashville. Fisher doesn't speak of the move too fondly, and not having a home field for two seasons certainly left a bad taste in his mouth. Looking at his next position, I can respect the idea of not wanting to go through that again.
Then there are the Raiders. Certainly a stories franchise, marred in recent years by the sometimes crazy behavior of their owner Al Davis.
The 2011 campaign saw Davis pass away, and the franchise now has the opportunity to correct the wrongs that the late Davis brought upon the franchise.
Since 2002 the Raiders have had sic head coaches. The most of any NFL team by far. The team has been struggling to find consistency since the '90s despite having some years where they were AFC favorites.
Is there any other coach on the market who screams consistency better than Fisher? As a franchise looking to find someone who can stick around for a while, Fisher is possibly the only candidate with a proven track record in that department.
Fisher spent 16 seasons with the Tennessee Titans and they were competitive most seasons.
Add in Fisher has the USC/ Southern California connection and you have the Raiders' first selling point.
The Raiders have a heck of a running attack with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden, and they do have a capable quarterback in Carson Palmer, which having a good QB was one of Jeff Fishers "bug-a-boos."
The Raiders ranked 11th in passing yards (247 YPG) and seventh in rushing yards (131 YPG), certainly promising numbers.
The Raiders struggled defensively ranking at the bottom of the NFL in defense. This is another reason Fisher would be a great fit. He is a defensive minded coach who likes tough defenses. His penchant for building tough defense would fit right in with Oakland's fanbase and the black hole would welcome toughness.
New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is going to have to make a big decision in the upcoming week. With Davis passing away, it is imperative that Oakland reverses its recent history with coaching departures and media fights amongst departed employees.
Stability is oftentimes the name of the game in the NFL, and as Oakland looks to find their new face of the franchise, they need to look for someone who is comfortable taking accountability for the franchise and standing out front answering the tough questions.
Fisher is such a candidate, and I feel as though Oakland is a much better option for Fisher than St. Louis or Miami. Fisher is expected to make a decision on his coaching future this week, and all indications have been that the Rams are the front runner. Time will tell if this Oakland vacancy changed anything, right now it is still looking like St. Louis has the upper hand.