The Tennessee Titans home finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars is more important than you may think. Many are looking at this game solely in respects to shuffling the draft order. Obviously head coach Mike Munchak’s job is in question as well, but no one is sure whether winning this game will matter or not to that end.
I think it should matter, to a degree. A coach is in charge of game preparedness, situational game management, and overall team control. If he can bring this team out with fire and they play hard this week after the shalacking they took last Sunday, then that will be a feat. If he hasn’t lost the locker room and can motivate the players for a more than meaningless game, then I say he has a shot at sticking around. If the Titans come out flat and lay down…bye bye Munch, and rightfully so.
More importantly though, I think this game is huge for young Jake Locker. Locker has played worse and worse over the last five games as the team has fallen apart around him. Criticism is due, but not quite to the extent that has put out there by some. Heading into the abyss of this off-season, Locker needs to show that he is the future of the franchise regardless of who the coaches are. He doesn’t have to do anything miraculous, but rather just control the offense and execute.
If Mike Munchak stays on, that might hurt the chances of the Titans getting a quality proven offensive coordinator, as they would be fearful of his tenure, regardless of the two years left on his contract. If Munchak is canned, the new head coach and his staff may or may not want to start from scratch, especially with a top 10 draft pick, as Locker won’t have been “their guy”.
Either way, Locker needs to show his new coaches and Bud Adams that he can do what many of us believe he can do. Locker will play hard regardless of these circumstances, one of his admirable traits, but that may not be enough. He needs to play well and show progression. Personally I’m rooting for him to have a good game and couldn’t care less about the rest. The off-season will be a lot easier to swallow if Locker doesn’t lay an egg in the finale. Otherwise I may need something strong to wash it down.
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