JOE BIDDLE: Smith leaves Munchak twisting in the wind - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Smith leaves Munchak twisting in the wind

Posted: Updated:
Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak
Titans CEO Tommy Smith Titans CEO Tommy Smith

Titans Coach spent much of Friday trying to convince Titans CEO/President Tommy Smith he is the right man for the job.
After meeting at length with Munchak and General Manager Ruston Webster Friday in Houston, Smith still did not come to a conclusion as to Munchak's future.

It has Munchak twisting in the wind. Smith looks like the incompetent one in this soap opera. He has evaluated Munchak for years. What's the holdup? No final decision has been made, Smith said.
Smith could take the easy way out. He could make a no waves decision that would allow Munchak to play out his current four year contract and make him a lame duck coach next season. What's the problem? If you meet all day with a coach you have known for more than 20 years and you are uncertain he is your coach of the future, then cut the cord now and go in another direction.

On one hand, it made sense to allow Munchak a fourth season, a season he has publicly asked for. He came close to guaranteeing it will not be another disappointing year like the last three that have chased a significant number of fans away from LP Field.

On the other hand, if Munchak fails to make the Titans a playoff team, it sets the franchise back another year and allowing the fan base's frustration level to fester even more.

If he becomes a lame duck coach, Munchak will have difficulty making any changes on his staff. No unemployed assistant coach or coordinator would entertain signing on with the Titans if there is a chance the Titans will clean house after next season.
The longer Smith's decision played out, the higher the odds were that Smith would stand pat with Munchak. Six NFL teams parted ways with their head coaches earlier this week. Houston fired Gary Kubiak with games still on the schedule.

As the Titans soap opera dragged on for almost a week, there were rumors that Penn State was interested in hiring Munchak to become their head coach. He was an All-American offensive lineman there before being drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers.

But Munchak is a better fit in the NFL. It is the game he knows, has played and coached for years. I can't imagine Munchak lighting up the room when going on home visits with a teenager and his family. He has a low key personality, and hasn't been blessed with a persuasive personality that could entice Eskimos to buy Popsicles from him.

He doesn't have to recruit as an NFL coach. He does have input in which players to draft, which free agents fit what his system needs.

The first question Munchak has to answer is just what his system is. He preached this season's team would be a power running offense and a more aggressive, physical defense. But an offensive line turned out to be less than advertised and running backs Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene failed to scare opposing defenses. When starting quarterback Jake Locker went out for the season with a foot injury, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains switched horses in the middle of the stream. Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick proved to be more of a threat in the passing game, especially with wide receivers Kendall Wright and rookie Justin Hunter providing a strong one-two punch, along with Nate Washington and tight end Delanie Walker.

On the defensive side, Munchak needs to make Gregg Williams the defensive coordinator. Williams is more experienced that Jerry Gray and more aggressive in his philosophy. Williams' personality mirrors that of this defense, especially with vocal team leaders such as Bernard Pollard.

Munchak is correct when he says this year's 7-9 team is not that far away. But there are a lot of teams rowing the same boat. It was former commissioner Pete Rozelle's dream to have parity across the board.

Other teams have flipped a losing season into a playoff team the next season. The difference in winning and losing NFL games often comes down to one or two plays, one or two officiating calls.

By not making a decision, Smith is showing his inexperience and inability to lead an NFL franchise. He hasn't given Munchak a ringing endorsement. Instead he sent Munchak back to Nashville empty handed.
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

Powered by WorldNow

441 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210

Telephone: 615.369.7222
Fax: 615.369.7329

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Nashville, LLC. A Media General Company.