Titans Coach Mike Munchak thought it was time for a change.
The NFL Hall of Fame player doesn't make hasty decisions or moves based on desperation.
So when he let veteran offensive coordinator Chris Palmer go this week and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains with only five games left in the regular season, he had his own set of reasons.
Palmer's coaching career dates back to 1972. He has coaching shorts older than Loggains, whose first job was as an offensive quality control coach for the Titans in 2008. It's safe to say Loggains is on a five-game trial run, trying to work the kinks out of a Titans offense ranked 24th with 327.7 yards a game and 19th in scoring with 21.6 points a game.
Munchak was rightfully frustrated as he saw the Titans offense score only 19 points against the 1-9 Jaguars. He was not pleased with scoring only one touchdown and four of five field goal attempts.
"You can't send your kicker out five times and win many games,'' Munchak noted.
The Titans didn't penetrate the Jaguars' 20-yard-line until the fourth quarter, and still had chances to win. But receivers ruled inches out of bounds, quarterback Jake Locker rushing a pass and being picked off – it all added up to the Titans' seventh loss of the season.
After making the change with Palmer, Munchak talked about "different direction… getting fresh eyes on something … fresh ideas.''
He handed the keys to Loggains, who has developed a strong relationship with Locker. But Loggains goes from being a player's buddy to running the Titans offense.
"He is very smart and very good at what he does,'' Munchak said of Loggains. "He always does his homework. He is a film junkie.
"He is a good thinker and he has good ideas.''
I predict Loggains' first order of business will be to simplify the offense and take some of the things he learned from the late Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.
‘Dinger gave receivers options on routes. It was simple, but effective. His idea was to keep defenses guessing, off-balance. The last thing he wanted was to confuse his players.
Looking at the Titans offense in the Jags game, they ran the ball up the middle on first downs far too many times. Heimerdinger liked to set up the run with the pass. Even though the Titans started inside their own 20 for 8 of their 12 possessions, they were going against the second worst defense in the NFL.
Munchak had seen enough.
I don't know how far Loggains can go with Locker in only five games, but it's time to take the wraps off. He is 2-4 in his first six starts and rookies such as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have been more effective than Locker, who is in his second season, but played sparingly as a rookie.
Loggains will try to make the offense more player-friendly than it was under Palmer. Remember, even in the NFL it's not the X's and O's, it's the Jimmys and Joes.
In other words, players have to make plays. The Titans' talent level on defense is lacking, but there are enough playmakers on offense to score more than 21.6 points a game.
Loggains can only do so much. It's time the Titans players do their part. They are playing for jobs from this point on. That threat alone usually increases production. The players need to insert self-pride into the equation and hold each other accountable.
Locker's relationship with Loggains should help facilitate changes.
Locker admits he likes Loggains and is excited to see what he has in store for the Titans.
They get tested out of the box – against the AFC leading Texans Sunday. The Texans are ranked sixth on defense, seventh in TDs allowed (23).
Zach Randolph's miserable debut in the Western Conference finals led to a sleepless night and a long film session. The Memphis Grizzlies' All-Star power forward is hardly down and out, though. Randolph pointed out...More >>