Coach Mike Munchak’s Story
Coach Munchak is a fixture with the Titan organization, dating all the way back to the franchise’s early roots as the Houston Oilers. Drafted 8th overall in the 1982 draft, this Hall of Famer has been a player for 12 seasons and a coach for 17 seasons, before accepting this significant promotion. Coach Munchak looks poised to assemble and lead the coaching staff and players to value discipline, hard work, and personal accountability.
Coach Munchak on Leadership
At his first press conference, Coach Munchak talked of two leadership values worth repeating: accountability and delegation.
Establishing accountability in an NFL locker room is difficult for new head coaches, even coaches with league experience. However, it is important to note that Coach Munchak quickly changed from being a player to a coach. This indicates he can transition to an authoritarian role quickly, with enough distinction to merit a permanent promotion 3 years later as the Offensive Line Coach.
Successfully delegating from the head coach level is not necessarily the winning factor, but it certainly helps. Mike McCarthy left the defense in the capable hands of Dom Capers. Mike Tomlin has Dick LeBeau. Sean Payton, Gregg Williams. And Bill Belichick has not won a Super Bowl since losing his coordinator tandem: Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. But, the real key to successful delegation is competent coordinators.
Coach Munchak on Offense
Obviously, his greatest area of expertise is a the offensive line. The hire of close friend and former teammate Bruce Matthews only underscores this commitment to winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.
The firing of Mike Heimerdinger and several other offensive assistants reveals a dissatisfaction with the current direction and state of the offense.
Coach Munchak plans to return with renewed commitment to a run-centric offense with vertical receivers, in hopes of stretching the field and creating running lanes.
Coach Munchak on Defense
It seems clear both in history and in his limited answers to addressing the Titan’s current defensive situation, that defense is an area Coach Munchak will be required to carry out his pledge to establish accountability and delegation.
The firing of Chuck Cecil was before Munchak’s promotion, however this move was inevitable given how poorly Titan defensive players viewed their previous coordinator.
The hiring of Jerry Gray is interesting. Gray is a previous assistant of defensive genius, Gregg Williams. Unfortunately, Gray is similar to Cecil in history. Both were assistants of quality defensive coordinators, both were secondary coaches, and both have yet to distinguish themselves on their own.
One thing is clear. Coach Munchak expects to see an intimidating and effective defense on the field in 2011. And he expects Gray and the current Titan defensive roster to deliver those results.
Coach Munchak on Special Teams
Coach Munchak’s silence on special teams speaks volumes. Fortunately for the Titans and Coach Munchak, the Titans already have a great Special Teams Coach.
The retaining of Alan Lowry is a testament to the relationship of Coach Munchak and Lowry, as well as Lowry’s expertise.
The orchestrator of the Music City Miracle and developer of rookie sensation, Marc Mariani, will be expected to follow-up a stellar special team year with another solid season.
The Titan organization is off to a fast start with this hire. But, there is still plenty left to accomplish before this offseason is over.