What are the expectations from Vince Young this year and what do you expect to improve upon?
Fisher: “We’re hoping that we improve in one area and that’s wins, and that’s our goal. I’m very pleased with his offseason and what he did throughout the offseason through the OTAs, even through the off time, and then, of course, through training camp. He’s had a very, very solid camp, way ahead of where he was last year. We did lose Travis (Henry) but we have confidence in the ability of LenDale (White) and Chris (Brown) and Chris Henry, the rookie, so we feel good at that position. And we have a big group of solid receivers whom all will play and have proven, at least on the practice fields and sometimes in games that they can make plays for him.”
Is running back by committee affective or can it be? You’ve had it before.
Fisher: "“We also had the luxury of number 27 here who played nine years and didn’t miss a snap. I think those days are over. You guys see it first hand there as well. You have two really solid running backs, exceptional backs, that can spell one another and we’re hoping that’ll be the case with LenDale and Chris (Brown).”
What do you see in David Garrard? He didn’t play so well in Tennessee last year.
Fisher: “We made a few plays fortunately or we would have not had a chance to win that ballgame, but we have seen him, we have faced him before. He’s poised. He sees the field well. He’s very instinctive. He’s a strong runner and he’s a very accurate passer on the run and can make all the throws. There is no question that we’ve felt over the last few years that he was deserving of a starting opportunity. The decision that was made was obviously made for reasons that we’re not aware of but I feel like he has a great future ahead of him. He’s a very strong threat from a playmaking standpoint, if you combine his arm strength, his throwing ability and then what he can do with his legs.”
Do you have any interest in Byron Leftwich?
Fisher: “We have two quarterbacks on the roster at this point that we’re happy with and that’s Vince and Kerry (Collins). We’re always looking to upgrade at different positions but at this time we have not had any contact with him other than a 48-hour debriefing here this weekend (I’m kidding).”
You said last year to have a rivalry, the teams have to win. Is there a rivalry now since both the Jaguars and Titans were 8-8 last year?
Fisher: “Yeah, we split last year but the Jaguars, I believe, won four out of the last six contests. We don’t necessarily pay much attention to what’s happened in the past. We feel like, as you would all expect, that both teams have improved so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
How will Vince Young improve his completion percentage? Is the key by dropping down and finding guys underneath?
Fisher: “Yeah, it’s all about making decisions but it’s our responsibility also as a staff to give him outlets, and it’s his team’s responsibility to get open. So, one would expect that completion percentage and other things as far as his play would improve from year one to year two and continue to improve.”
Young appeared to struggle in the two games against Jacksonville last year. Is that more of a sign of Jacksonville’s experienced defense?
Fisher: “Jacksonville has created a lot of problems for big quarterbacks, experienced quarterbacks over the years. They’re a very aggressive, very disciplined defense and there is just not a lot of places to take the football so you have to credit their defense with that. In our second match-up here last year for a number of reasons, two specifically, we only had 35 offensive snaps and so it’s hard to get any kind of rhythm there. We had difficulty converting third downs and then the defense got the take-aways for the scores and that put the Jaguars’ offense back on the field. I would have like to have thought that had we had played a more conventional game that Vince would have improved from his first outing at Jacksonville last year.”’
What makes Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew such a dynamic duo and is it because they have different styles?
Fisher: “Their styles are different but they’re both well coached, they’re hard runners, they’re instinctive. I’ve had great respect for Fred over the years. I think he’s one of the top backs that have played this game, and Maurice is off to a great start from a career standpoint. They’re both hard to get down. They run with good vision and they understand the scheme. They trust their blockers.”
Do you think Jones-Drew surprised some people last year?
Fisher: “Not necessarily. We had him rated quite high on the draft board. We thought he was going to be a productive runner. You could take a good back and put him behind an average offense line and a good back will disappear. But you could take a good back and put him behind a good offensive line with a good scheme that’s committed to it and you’re going to reap the benefits and that’s what I think you saw from both of them last year.”