Titans President and CEO Tommy Smith stepped down from that position yesterday, to solely focus on his billion dollar “day job”. Smith is also the Chairman and President for Adams Resources & Energy, a highly successful conglomerate in Houston.
Wow…what a resume…
Smith, who was instrumental in relocating the franchise to Nashville, should be applauded for his dedication to the Oilers/Titans. But the timing of his departure could not have been any better.
For several reasons.
The Titans endured their worst season…ever…under Smith’s watch. If he was being spread too thin, as he alluded to in his public comments on stepping down, then that could have been a contributing factor to the team’s regression last season. Rebuilding Tennessee into a playoff contender will require a full time effort from all parties involved…especially the front office.
A few weeks ago Tommy Smith was on the radio (104.5 the Zone in Nashville Tennessee), and made a few comments that raised my antennae. And I’m sure coach Whisenhunt’s as well.
For starters, Smith remained adamant about his expectations for the franchise…a playoff contender this season, and Super Bowl contender next season.
I almost fell out of my chair.
A team that’s riding a ten game losing streak, with holes in just about every area?
Ok…let me digress on that.
If you’re head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the last thing you want to hear is your boss publicly setting extremely lofty expectations for you. Especially if you’re still not settled at qb.
But Smith was not done…
He also (correctly) assessed that Tennessee lacked an identity last season. Then went on to incorrectly assess that the team needs to return to it’s glory days…the good ole’ ground and pound approach.
Oh boy…where do we begin?
Let me start by saying that I…to a degree…understand Smith’s rationale. The team enjoyed it’s greatest success employing that method. But the Music City Miracle was 15 years ago….and the late Steve McNair (RIP), Eddie George, and Frank Wycheck are not walking back through the door.
Secondly, the game has changed. The NFL is basically begging you to throw the ball now with all of the rule changes to aid qb’s and receivers. Pittsburgh and Baltimore, two longtime ground and pounders, got the message and added a vertical game to their offenses. They both won Supers Bowls this era as a result.
Tennessee does not have the personnel for the approach…even if they wanted to. They lack big physical running backs, as well as big physical receivers to block downfield.
Translation…time to get with the times and air it out.
Lastly, Ken Whisenhunt is a pass first coach, with a pass first system. A pass first system that’s been extremely successful for him over his various stops. You don’t bring in Ken Whisenhunt to ground and pound. That’s like bringing in a plumber to paint the house.
The Titans must have everyone on the same page if any attempt at a turnaround is to happen. At the very least, it appears that was not the case…at least not publicly. One of the most important draft picks in recent memory is a few weeks away for Tennessee. Everyone must share one vision.
Smith stepping down, and the subsequent hiring of his replacement, signifies closure to a great run by the Adams regime.
A new head coach with a new vision, and a soon to be new President/CEO to share that vision. Now all the Titans need is a new face of the franchise to execute the vision.
Turning the page in Tennessee.