NFL notes: Fisher under no pressure to return

Coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans shouts against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on...

Coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans shouts against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Marc Serota/Getty Images/AFP)

Bill Lankhof, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:02 PM ET

Jeff Fisher is playing high-stakes poker with the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams.

He is in the enviable position of knowing that, no matter which cards he is dealt, he can’t lose.

The former Tennessee Titans head coach is calling all the shots as the annual NFL coaching carousel spins towards a dizzying apex.

Fisher continued talks on Friday for the top job with Rams owner Stan Kroenke. This comes days after he talked to the Dolphins. Speculation is Fisher is leaning towards the Rams because they have a quarterback of the future in Sam Bradford and the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft.

If he doesn’t like what either club offers, Fisher could just fold and go home. After being bought out a year ago after 16 seasons — making him the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL — it’s not as if he is desperate for a paycheque.

If he comes back, it will be because he wants to coach, not because he needs a job.

Fisher has indicated he is considering offers from only the Dolphins and Rams and that he will make a decision next week. Altruistically, it provides the teams an equal chance and gives Fisher time to consider his best option.

Or, a cynic might suggest, it could just be a way for Fisher to get the clubs into a bidding war. Good thing there are no cynics here. Right?

What Fisher decides will have a domino effect. If he doesn’t sign with the Rams, it gives Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton a shot. The Rams have received permission to speak with him in case they can’t get Fisher.

If Fisher does sign, Horton is out of luck and, so too, likely is Josh McDaniels, who likely wouldn’t stay as offensive coordinator. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Chiefs and Patriots already have asked the Rams for permission to speak to McDaniels.

The Patriots would like to bring back McDaniels to replace Bill O’Brien as offensive co-ordinator. The Chiefs, also with a head coaching vacancy, can dangle a bigger carrot. In this case, bigger might not be better. After all, in whose hands would you trust your future? Tom Brady or the immovable force otherwise known as Palko/Orton Inc.

HE’S PRO-NFL

Mike Sherman gave it the old college try, and found it trying.

The former Green Bay Packers coach, fired by Texas A&M following a disappointing 6-6 season, is actively seeking a return to the pro ranks.

The Bucs interviewed Sherman this week for their head coaching job. He won three NFL North titles in six seasons with the Packers but was just 25-25 in four seasons with A&M.

Turned out the game is a lot easier with a guy named Favre at quarterback. I mean, who knew?

BACK TO BASICS

The Bears have hit the ground running, promoting offensive line coach Mike Tice, a proponent of smash-mouth football, to offensive co-ordinator.

Guess this means Matt Forte can back the wheel barrow up to haul away the bags of money he’ll get when he signs his new long-term extension. The Bears caught Forte’s ire when they declined to sign him to big-time money last off-season.

Now, it appears with Tice’s signing, they intend to go back to running the ball. There are few better than Forte. Tice joined the Bears in 2010 after spending three years with the Jaguars where his teams ranked among the league’s best at running the ball.

From 2005-09, the Jags led the NFL with a 138.3-yard rushing average in road games. “There will be a toughness about us. We are going to be a powerful run team and we’re going to be able to mix in explosive pass plays,” Tice said in a statement.

Helpful hint: Stick to the ground game. Please! The only thing that exploded when Martz’s teams tried to pass were the Bears’ playoff chances.

HALEY’S COMET

Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt is expected to talk to former Chiefs coach Todd Haley about a position on the Cardinals coaching staff.

Haley was fired by the Chiefs in December when the team stumbled to a 5-8 record after winning the AFC West in 2010. He got that job with the Chiefs largely because of his success as offensive co-ordinator in Arizona. He’s also Whisenhunt’s buddy, which doesn’t hurt.

If Haley had been better buddies with Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli, he might even have survived in K.C. But, Haley can (how do we say this delicately?) be hard to take. He was the offensive co-ordinator in 2008 when the Cardinals won the first of consecutive NFC West titles, then left after he showed Kurt Warner how to win a Super Bowl. Curious how life hasn’t been the same for him since Warner retired. But it’s probably just a coincidence.

Quick Hits

The Vikings are interested in adding fired Bucs head coach Raheem Morris to their staff as an assistant ... Indianapolis is interviewing a long list of candidates for its GM job including Falcons’ director of player personnel Les Snead and director of college scouting David Caldwell, Eagles director of player personnel Ryan Grigson and Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski ... Virginia Tech junior running back David Wilson will declare for the NFL draft. Wilson ran for 1,709 yards with nine rushing TDs, winning ACC player-of-the-year honours.


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