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Jeff Fisher Wants To Be Paul Brown

Of Course Jeff Fisher wants to be Paul Brown. All NFL coaches do. They all, in their mind's eye, see themselves as the ultra-intense, smarter-than-the-competition, harder working, driven-winner coach whose force of will and personal vision of football strategy drives a team to championships. Paul Brown had the most professional staff, micro-managed every detail, and was the first to call all the plays for his QB (in the past, coaches only called plays after timeouts; all others were called by the QB in the huddle. That's why, despite any all-time QB lists you may see, contemporaries Luckman, Baugh, Layne, and Van Brocklin all thought Browns QB Otto Graham was a pussy). His approach led the Browns (named after the coach, of course) to four AAFC championships, and post NFL merger, three NFL championships.

Here's the catch. Not everybody gets to be Paul Brown. Landry, Shula, and Walsh did, but legions more of NFL coaches didn't come close. Belicheck is the Paul Brown of this generation, and after 12+ years of coaching, Fisher needs to realize he isn't a Paul Brown. His over-riding control is leading the franchise to a 55% overall record, with the occasional playoff appearance. His vision of football, Fisherball, is sound, but not championship material.

You see two games this season where Fisherball took over with a lead- SD and the NY Jets. After committing turnovers in the 1st half, in both of those games Vince Young was allowed to attempt less than 10 passes in the 2nd half to protect a lead. The approach worked against the Jets, and failed against SD. Here's a tip, Fish- the playoffs have more teams like SD than like the Jets.

Here's the thing with Vince. The turnovers have always been there. When he was a junior at Texas in 2005, he would still fumble the ball away, or throw a pick unexpectedly. He would compensate by making even more big plays. Fisherball doesn't see it that way. Unless VY plays error-free ball, he will be handcuffed in games.

Fisher needs a new coaching model- Buddy Parker. Never heard of him? Parker was the NFL coach from Sweetwater who beat Paul Brown in 2 out of 3 NFL championship matchups, coaching the Detroit Lions. Nobody thought Parker was a genius (actually, they thought he was an alcoholic loner). He wasn't an innovator, being the last guy to use a flanker back as a receiver, and to switch from the 5-2 defense to the 4-3. He was just the coach of the group that was known as the tightest and closest team in the league, a bunch of guys who partied together and fought together. Parker was proud that his QB was smart enough to call his own plays (he knew that he was going to live or die with him anyway), and proud that his defense was the toughest in the league. Although Parker will never be in the NFL HOF (maybe the only multiple champion coach not to make it), he had the self-security from knowing that he owned the best coach in the league.

"Well, Bobby, want to let me know what we're going to do next?"

There have been other Buddy Parker-type coaches, who didn't have to control everything, who didn't have to have everything be about them- John Madden, Chuck Noll, Mike Ditka. Nobody ever thinks these guys are geniuses. Give one of these guys some elite playmakers, and they'll get out of their way and let them make some plays. By the way, Buddy Parker-type coaches tend to do well in matchups against the Paul brown geniuses of their day.

Come on, Fisher. Don't try to be a Paul Brown. He was a jerk, anyway. Try to be more of a Buddy Parker.