Misconceptions of Tennessee Titans Coaching Search
Jan 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans new head coach Ken Whisenhunt (center) with general manager Ruston Webster (left) and president and ceo Tommy Smith (right) during the press conference at St. Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Whisenhunt is now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans, and he’s assembling quite the staff. Yet, looking back on the coaching search itself, there were a couple of ideas that the Titans faithful and national pundits simply got wrong.
In Nashville, opinions swirled like pigeons over breadcrumbs regarding the Titans search to find a new head coach. Rightfully so, a franchise’s fan base comes alive in such times.
All who complained vehemently about the Mike Munchak regime knew who the perfect replacement was. Those that supported him stated no replacement would do. So-and-so should be hired to nurture Jake Locker. What’s-his-face is a defensive guru who would get the most out of this unit.
We should hire this guy! We should hire that guy! So on and so forth.
The fact of the matter is that the Titans coaching search simply “is what it is.” It was a coaching search…fun to cover, fun to speculate, invigorating to a usually-stagnant fan base for teams missing out on the postseason.
However, I couldn’t help but notice two glaring misconceptions about this particular hunt:
1) The Titans waited too long to fire Munchak.
At first, waiting until Saturday to make this decision seemed foolish. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right? So, why wait five days after “Black Monday” to fire your coach, and miss out on landing an interview with Bill O’Brien and Lovie Smith?
What about Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher!?!?! OH NO! They are going to end up in Cleveland because we fired Munchak 5 days too late!
Well, upon further review, the market was flooded with really good football minds to begin with. Sure, O’Brien and Smith would’ve been popular hires, but would they have been the right hire? You never know. In retrospect, Titans fans seem happy with the way the search played out, and please, get out of here with the Gruden/Cowher talk. We might as well have added Jimmy Johnson and Nick Saban to the rumor mill.
What’s more important is to hire the right guy. If you’re a general manger in the National Football League, you’re shooting yourself in the foot to not patiently make decisions, conduct a thorough process, and examine all possibilities. That’s precisely what happened.
Ruston Webster methodically interviewed candidates and hired the guy he wanted.
2) This is not a desirable job to a head coaching candidate
The notion that the Titans are incredibly far off from the talent-laden Texans & Lions is completely preposterous. No, Calvin Johnson and J.J. Watt won’t be suiting up in Nashville come fall, but there is a solid nucleus in place to build upon.
We’re talking about a team that was competitive in almost every game this season. The Titans are only a few solid pieces away from being a legitimate contender in the AFC.
The Titans’ receiving corps could emerge into one of the great young groups in the league in 2014 with the right quarterback steadily in place. Kendall Wright has shown immense promise, while Justin Hunter continues to develop. The offensive line will have a full offseason to gel and build upon the improvement they showed in the last 2 games. The secondary is the strongest unit on the team.
This team is only a couple of good pass-rushers and consistent quarterback play away from being really good. Prospective coaches should look at how competitive this team was in spite of poor coaching decisions and be eager to jump on board.
Ultimately, that may be how Ken Whisenhunt views this team. He certainly shocked the football world when he chose the job in Nashville over what was considered a grossly superior job in Detroit.
It simply was not the doom-and-gloom some Titans fans and national media members made it out to be.
This post comes from Stoney Keeley of The SoBros Network. You can follow the SoBros Network on twitter at @SoBrosNetwork, and read all of Stoney’s work at The Southern Brothers Network