Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak looks up against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at EverBank Field. Tennessee Titans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Opinion: Why Mike Munchak Should Be Safe

I would like to wish all of you Happy New Years. I hope you had a great holiday season to finish 2013. We have officially moved into a new year which comes with a new season of Tennessee Titans football (unfortunately eight months away) with much higher expectations than the previous season.

In a previous article, I discussed my “wish list” for the Titans. In the next few articles, I’ll dive more in depth with a few of those bigger wishes I desire.

I would like to first address head coach Mike Munchak’s future. The longer he doesn’t hear from new CEO/President Tommy Smith, the better his chances are of sticking around. We are just four days outside the conclusion of the NFL regular season and the two biggest coaching candidates have already been secured by dismal teams: the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with Lovie Smith, the former Chicago Bears coach, and the Houston Texans snagged the coveted college coaching candidate Bill O’Brien from the Penn State Nittany Lions.

That is fantastic news if you are Mike Munchak or one of his supporters. All of the teams that find themselves with underachieving and unimpressive records at the end of the season are trembling. Munchak has handled the media very well when it comes to questions about his “future” as the Titans head coach. Now if that is truly how he feels, that remains to be seen. What I can guarantee is that he is jumping for joy that the two biggest threats to his job have now been signed to other franchises.

I said it before, and I will say it again…at this point I truly feel keeping Munchak is our best option, especially now that we missed out on the two best replacements. The only two other names that would make me change that stance is Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden. Both coaches seem content with their analyst gigs unless they are truly waiting for a specific opening.

Munchak seems to be losing support from Titans’ fans but doesn’t seem to be losing support from GM Ruston Webster or CEO Tommy Smith, or the players he coaches throughout the year. If the players had “given” up on Munchak, I am confident he would have been ousted already, but that’s not the case.

While every day that passes seems to increase Munchak’s chances of returning, he’s still not out of the dark yet. He must convince Webster and Smith his vision of the team and will be challenged to answering some tough questions such as what to do at the defensive coordinator position between Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray, picking up Jake Locker’s option, and what to do with Chris Johnson and his $8 million salary. He can’t just say what they want to hear without actually turning those words into actions.

I would be honestly shocked if Munchak was “relieved” of his duties. It really wouldn’t make sense to me. I feel that he should be given one more year, no exceptions if failure, due to the Locker injury. At the same time, the Titans could find themselves in a tough spot when negotiating for free agents this summer when they have a coach who is on a short leash.

In the comments section below, I welcome comments of your opinion. Do you agree? Do you “respectfully” disagree? Who would you want to see as the next head coach if there is a change at this point?

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  • Kevin Cunningham

    Agreed. Going 7-9 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm for much of the season is not a disappointment. We would have made the playoffs had Locker, who looked promising when healthy this season, actually stayed healthy. The team should stick with CJ as well. If we fail in 2014 with a healthy Locker, CJ, and Munchak at the helm, then by all means, take all three out of the equation for 2015. But, give Munchak the chance with a healthy and emerging Locker for 2014.

    • Nick

      Lol well read my comments above. But CJ? Come on…one of the most disappointing HB’s in the league and a huge moneysuck for the Titans. Locker…healthy? How can you project him to be healthy at this point?

      Munchak’s had three years to steer this team in the right direction. And let’s face it, we lost to two of the worst teams in the league this year.

  • James Smith

    I completely agree. I think people upset with his performance has unrealistic expectations. If I’m not mistaken, he has battled qb injuries each season and still maintained. He garnered respect from a team with some of the biggest undeserved egos in all of football. He even managed to get CJ to practice with the team in the off season. Last years off season was managed extremely well and I believe if Locker, and the game plan that had been built around him, had panned out, we would no doubt be in contention for a wildcard slot.

    He’s on the cusp on success and I’d hate to see someone come in and ride his program to victory. He’s given his life to the Titans and I’d swallow another year of poor play to give him another shot. No doubt about it.

  • Gary

    Agree. I just hope we fire Grey and keep Williams as DC. LB coach needs to go too.

    • sdtitan

      Special Teams, too. Kaczor is a disaster.

  • Nick

    1) No mention of Munchak’s record vs winning teams (2-20)
    2) People trash Fitzpatrick. The sad reality is that he’s the best QB we’ve had since McNair. Think about that for a second.
    3) Locker is a bust. Hell, as Titans fans…we got more mileage out of VY (!)
    4) I honestly think this was the most talented Titans team I’ve seen since the early 2000′s. Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, Michael Roos, Andy Levitre and a very exciting Justin Hunter on offense. Jurrell Casey, Klug, Derrick Morgan, Verner, Ayers on defense. I mean, when’s the last time you could rattle off names like that? The fact that this talent went to waste is indicative of the head coach.
    5) Other commenters want to fire the coordinators that Munchak brought on, but not the one that he DIDNT. What does that tell you?

  • P. Loew

    I have a lot of respect for Munchak as a person, player and O-Line coach, but I think he’s lacking some key motivational skills as a head coach. His calm, low key demeanor served him well as a O-Line coach where the emphasis is almost completely on working as a unit. It’s been said that a team reflects the personality of its head coach and this team lacks intensity, identity and swagger, all of which–for better or worse–are not strong Munchak characteristics. Huffman had an excellent article the other day pointing out the Titans record of 3-20 against winning teams, not to mention this seasons 2 wins in the AFC South. I’m sorry, but that’s pathetic.

    If Munchak stays Smith should absolutely demand he get rid of Loggains.
    Personally I’d rather have Greg Williams as head coach.

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