It’s been a widely known fact that Jeff Fisher has a relationship with his players that seems to be friendship first as opposed to boss and co-worker. When the St. Louis Rams convinced him to return to the NFL after a one-year hiatus post-firing from his former gig with the Tennessee Titans, Fisher bringing that bond to a team in a complete rebuilding phase was an important part of the equation. Now that the coach is squaring off against his former squad with some of the players that he was a part of bringing into the organization, maybe things will get emotional for the generally stoic Fisher.
Or maybe not, as he told ESPN:
“There’s 16 players on the roster that were there when I was there, so the roster is just about completely turned over. There’s just a few coaches on the staff. So, the front office is turned over. To me, this is just another opponent.”
While playing the ‘it’s just another game’ card is fine and dandy to the media, it’s hard to believe Fisher won’t be looking to show the Titans organization that they made a mistake letting him go. For a coach that was a former player this type of game is what you live for to get back at a former team and show them what they are missing out on.
And the Rams will have no shortage of that dynamic on Sunday either as Fisher brought along a lot of former players from his Tennessee days to the Rams. Guys like defensive end William Hayes and cornerback Cortland Finnegan made the move with Fisher back in 2012, and just this past offseason Fisher recruited tight end Jared Cook to his current squad via free agency. There’s no doubt there will be some motivation to get the win on Sunday, and Finnegan articulated that quite well saying:
“I think it will be ramped up. I know he’ll shake a lot of hands and talk to former coaches and players that he’s seen, so it’s going to be emotional to say the least. I think he wants to win because it’s the next game but also because we are playing a team he formerly coached and he was a big part of building that tradition and history there. We definitely want to win for him.”
So despite what Fisher says along with the lack of roster and front office familiarity, it seems like a win this week would mean a little bit more than any other game. Look for this game to have an added emotional edge to it with the entire roster giving it that extra effort to get a big win for the coach on Sunday. Given the way he is, however, don’t expect to see Fisher crack much of a smile one way or the other.