Jeff Fisher is a coach. Simple. Nothing more. Nothing less.
He's not a genius. He's not an innovative mastermind. He's just a coach.
Four weeks ago, Fisher was mired in a disappointing mess, perhaps the lowest point in his career. After posting the best record in the NFL in 2008, the Tennessee Titans were staring at an 0-6 start in 2009. Preseason Super Bowl contenders, the Titans were in the running for the first draft choice in the 2010 NFL Draft.
On Oct. 10, the Titans walked off the field in New England after losing 59-0, one of the single worst performances in NFL history. It was the low of low for the Titans.
Fisher was on the chopping block. Fans were unhappy. The owner was unhappy. No one was happy.
Then, things got even worse when owner Bud Adams started making certain demands on the team. He wanted Vince Young to start over Kerry Collins.
Critics wondered how long Fisher could survive in an environment where the owner had started dictating decisions on the field.
But Fisher didn't complain. He did what he is paid to do. He kept coaching.
On Monday night, the Titans beat the Houston Texans, bringing their season record to 4-6. No, the Titans didn't look like a great team. But they did look like a team.
Players were excited to be on the field. No one tried to be hero. Everyone just tried to the win the game.
That's a testimony to Jeff Fisher. It would have been easy to toss in the towel at 0-6. At that point, the season could have become a single-rush to get individual stats for players.
Now, players are starting to believe that the playoffs aren't out of the question. In the grand scheme of things, that is lunacy. Teams don't start 0-6 and then finish 10-0. That's not how it works.
But Fisher never stopped believing that was a possibility, and now the players believe it as well.
In all likelihood, the Titans will probably finish the season 7-9 or 8-8. Four weeks ago, that possibility would have been a joke.
That's what sets Fisher apart from other coaches. He is at his best when things are most difficult. He pulls people together. He brings teams together.
Isn't that what a coach is supposed to do?