Mike Munchak doesn’t have many supporters. Of 716 respondents, 81.4 percent favor a coaching change. They’ve seen enough from a three-season sample that includes zero playoff appearances.
Fire Munchak or give him more time? Maybe there’s no more of a damning stat about his coaching tenure than this little nugget that Paul Kuharsky tweeted on Dec. 30:
Munchak gained a game in record against winning teams thanks to SD win Sunday. He’s 3-20 against teams finishing w/ winning record. #Titans
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) December 30, 2013
Three wins. Twenty losses. That’s a winning percentage of 15.
A 3-20 record. Those three wins came against:
- 2011 Baltimore Ravens team, Munchak’s first win.
- 2011 Texans team who had nothing to play for in a Week 17 game.
- 2013 San Diego Chargers team that barely finished 9-7.
How do you defend that? How could Tommy Smith or Ruston Webster confidently look at that and say “Yeah, we feel like we’re headed in the right direction and that we have the man who can take us to unprecedented heights.” Is the overall talent that bad?
Munchak has a 22-26 overall record. So if Munchak is 3-20 against good teams, then he’s 19-6 against teams who are .500 or worse (0-16 to 8-8). That’s a winning percentage of 76.
Give Munchak some credit: his teams are money in the NON-DIVISIONAL games that they’re supposed to win. Unfortunately, five of those six losses include the 2011 Jaguars (5-11), 2011 Colts (2-14), 2012 Jaguars (2-14), 2013 Jaguars (4-12), 2013 Texans (2-14).
How ironic that all of those losses come against divisional opponents, the most important games on the schedule. Munchak has a 6-12 record against AFC South teams. He has a 1-5 record (five consecutive losses) to the Indianapolis Colts. That’s pretty awful when one considers that there’s always at least one team who’s fighting for a Top 3 pick.
Three reoccurring trends during the Munchak Era (2011-13):
- Won’t beat good teams (3-20)
- Consistently beats mediocre / bad teams outside AFC South
- Can’t win meaningful divisional games (6-12 record, at least four of those wins coming against awful teams who’ve mailed it in during the last two weeks. Another one against a 2011 Texans team who didn’t care.)
What management and ownership must decide is whether Coach Munchak is the reason for the huge discrepancy between this team’s inability to beat playoff contenders and their success against bad/mediocre teams. They displayed two of their most dominant performance against a 2012 Miami Dolphins team (37-3) and a 2013 New York Jets team (38-13). The Dolphins finished 7-9. The Jets finished 8-8.
What’s interesting is that despite the 3-20 record, Munchak should find himself in a much better position. He could’ve had two playoff appearances in three seasons. All he had to do was these three things:
- Beat a 2011 Colts team who was 0-13.
- Sweep a 2013 Texans team who finished 2-14.
- Sweep a 2013 Jaguars team who, at the time of the first meeting, was 0-8.
Just win three games against teams who clinched Top 3 picks, two of whom clinched the No. 1 pick of their respective drafts. Do that and Munchak has two wild-card playoff berths.
This team isn’t that far away from a playoff berth. The Titans should earn some wild-card spots once they eliminate the annual losses to the AFC South’s version/s of the London Silly Nannies. What this coaching staff hasn’t shown is that they’re anywhere close to competing with the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots or Denver Broncos type of teams. These games are such epic beatdowns that it’s impossible to see Munchak getting this team anywhere near the upper echelon of professional football.
That’s not high enough of a ceiling for me. Is it you?
As far as the 34.9 percent of respondents who favor the idea of “demoting Munchak” back to offensive line coach? Here’s the problem: a new head coach would never accept the predecessor as a positional coach on his incoming staff. Nor should he. It creates too much of an uncomfortable environment because of players who would continue to view Coach Munchak as the No. 1 voice. A new head coach who accepts Coach Munchak as his offensive line coach would be inviting chaos into his regime. Zero-percent chance of happening.
As always, Titan Sized readers and guests are encouraged to give us their takes via comments, Twitter and Facebook.