NGSC Sports

Hot mess engaged; The Titans have fired head coach Mike Munchak

The Tennessee Titans are a huge mess and it’s not just because they just fired head coach Mike Munchak. The regular season ended last Sunday with a Titans win at home against the Houston Texans. The Titans finished the year 7-9 yet no decision was made immediately following the game or in the days to follow on the fate of their h.

The timeline of events is nothing short of Benny Hillish. No immediate announcement of a decision or even a meeting was announced until the team released a statement on January 3, 2013 saying a meeting would take place. The meeting was scheduled for Friday, January 5, 2013.

On Friday morning, the new CEO, Tommy Smith, sent a plane to pick up Mike Munchak and possibly others to make the trip to Houston to meet with him. While I can certainly understand why he might do that for practical and business reasons, it smacked of the principal summoning a student or staff member into his office for a scolding. This has long been a typical Titans modus operandi so it wasn’t out of ordinary.

The meeting took place in relative secrecy. Even local media seemed to have no real clue what was going on or what to expect. The meeting lasted hours and was marked by news the plane was leaving and then was delayed and then leaving and then delayed. The plane finally arrived.

Following the meeting, it was reported that Munchak would return so long as he agreed to make some changes. It all sounded reasonable since he had already said prior to the season ending he was willing to look at making some changes.

The soap opera didn’t end.

All was well for maybe 30 minutes and then the Titans released a statement saying they hadn’t made an official decision. Oh. Boy. Still, it seemed reasonable to believe Munchak would be back. Nothing new happened on Friday night.

Then the hammer dropped early Saturday with this tweet from Chris Mortensen from ESPN

and all pandemonium broke loose. There is still much unknown but what we do know is that Munchak wouldn’t make all the changes that Smith and Webster wanted. We have heard he might have been asked to change as much as 50% of his staff. We have heard those changes might have included offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews.

If what we have heard is the case then it seems clear the Titans essentially forced Munchak’s hand. Nay, they basically emasculated him and forced him to refuse their demands. Requesting a change for the offensive coordinator just wasn’t very smart. Dowell Loggains wasn’t the problem and you don’t want to put Jake Locker into an entirely new system.

Beyond that, asking a coach with one year left on his contract to replace half his coaching staff is just a terrible business decision unless you want him gone. You place him in an untenable and unworkable situation.

Mike Munchak deserved far better than he got.

He took over a fractured team that was poisoned by the bad blood between former head coach Jeff Fisher and former franchise quarterback Vince Young. The team moved on from both right after the 2010 season.

Munchak was promoted late in the 2011 offseason from a practical standpoint. His promotion in February left little time to assemble a staff and prepare for the April draft. They did what they could. The Titans overachieved in 2011 by going 9-7 and much of that was due to free agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

By 2012, it was pretty clear the Titans roster was in serious need of overhaul. Injuries decimated the team which wasn’t terribly deep in the first place. The Titans finished 6-10. Their franchise quarterback they drafted in 2011 got injured. They dipped into the free agent pool and drafted players at positions they needed to improve.

The team got better in 2013 but Locker once again couldn’t stay healthy. There were bright spots but the team didn’t win games they should after Locker went down. A team that started the year leading the league in the takeaway ratio started turning the ball over. They finished 7-9.

After the announcement was made that Munchak would not be back, the team scheduled a press conference. This presser took place at 4:30 p.m. CST just as the AFC South wildcard playoff game was kicking off.

Ruston Webster may be brilliant but he isn’t very savvy. It was a terrible decision to schedule the presser while the NFL playoffs were being played.

The Titans made sure to thank their former head coach for all his hard work. They praised him for the growth and improvement of the team. They praised his 31 years of service. They said all the right things.

The search for a head coach is expected to commence immediately. Amazingly, Webster said the candidate might come from in house. The same house they clearly wanted cleaned out. He also stated they would look at college coaches. You would certainly hope they would look at qualified candidates already coaching in and familiar with the NFL. You would hope.

Given how this all went down, it’s difficult to have any confidence the coaching search will be another other than another Benny Hill show.

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