EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Replacing Jeff Fisher as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans wasn't an easy task for Mike Munchak. But, as he prepares, to coach against his mentor on Sunday afternoon, he's thankful for the time spent working with Fisher.
“I would say I really enjoyed it," Munchak said. "Jeff gave me -- I was kind of like how he did it, I was transitioning from being a player to other opportunities. He got the job in Houston and gave me the opportunity to get involved coaching offensive line. And then we moved to Nashville and had a lot of success together, and we had a lot of great years. A lot of good things happened and we felt for a really long period of time we were as good as anyone in football for a lot of years. He was very helpful in that, helping me, kind of have the opportunity to get in this position.”
After a Hall of Fame career as a player, Munchak started with the Oilers/Titans as an assistant in 1994. From there, he moved up to offensive line coach in 1997, a position he held with Fisher as head coach until 2010.
When Fisher and the Titans parted ways, Munchak earned the opportunity to replace him, an opportunity Munchak said Wednesday he didn't take lightly.
“He was very successful, and like I said, he took the team to the Super Bowl, so he did a lot of great things," Munchak said. "So, yeah, I think being here and knowing how he did it was helpful for me and having a good feel of everything. So, that is difficult but I thought I transitioned fine, and I think it worked out well for me going forward in that I was here and people were familiar with me. That made it a little bit easier coming in and I learned from Jeff. I saw a lot of things he did as he learned his head coach. I watched him grow up as a head coach when he came into it and how good he got as the years went on.”
Munchak and Fisher remain in contact though it's harder for them to get in touch during the busy football season. Sunday will be the first chance for the pair to renew acquaintances. Fisher has downplayed his desire to win this game more than a game against other opponents. Munchak shares that sentiment. Still, one matchup worth watching Sunday will be the one between the student and the teacher.
A roundup of Wednesday's Rams-related stories on ESPN.com. … We started a busy day with the Ram-blings and then went right into this week's edition of QB watch with a look at Kellen Clemens. … Next was a this week's edition of the Buzz. … Next, we took a look at why the Rams sticking with Clemens at quarterback is the right and only move. … Then it was a quick look at the Rams' taking a pass on making any trades before the deadline. … We then hit the news wire with a look at quarterback Sam Bradford's surgery date and how coach Jeff Fisher is unsurprisingly downplaying facing his old team in the Titans this week. … Guard Harvey Dahl is expected to miss some time with a knee injury and the Rams had a lengthy injury list Wednesday. … We capped off the night with a look at how Bradford's effort to stick around and help the team are good for both he and the team.
Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky offered Fisher's take on a variety of topics from his conference call with the Tennessee media.
The Titans plan to wear a patch honoring Bud Adams starting this week.
At SI.com, Robert Klemko takes a look at Seattle's narrow escape against the Rams and explores whether the Seahawks can continue to play that way and still win.
Over at stltoday.com, Jim Thomas writes about the hotly debated and ill-fated play that left the Rams a yard short against Seattle.
Thomas also offered a look at the emerging Robert Quinn.