Titans, Munchak run low on time
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 7:00 pm
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans and Mike Munchak have one more game to give owner Bud Adams reason to think the coach really can turn around this franchise.
Adams couldn’t stand to watch all of the Titans’ 55-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The owner, who turns 90 on Jan. 3, plans to talk with Munchak and his front office after the season finale. Munchak said he will detail what’s gone wrong and his plan to fix the team.
The coach pointed out he’s had one offseason with the Titans (5-10).
“There’s a lot of things that are concerning,” said Munchak, who has two years left on his contract. “I’ll just start with the record. That’s concerning. That’s the most important factor.”
The Titans have lost six of eight. Once again, they’re last in points allowed in the NFL (451), and now the franchise record for most points given up in a season is at risk Sunday against Jacksonville (2-13). The then-Houston Oilers yielded 460 points in 1983, Munchak’s second season as a player.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner said after the loss the Titans must have a serious self-evaluation.
“We have one more game, and we’ve got to fix it,” Verner said. “We’ve got to come out way better than this and finish off strong. This is embarrassing.”
At least the Titans don’t have to play an opponent with a winning record. They are 0-7 against such teams this season.
Sunday is no guaranteed win for Tennessee, though. The Titans lost 24-19 in Jacksonville on Nov. 25, and Munchak fired his offensive coordinator the next day. Munchak had the team in Monday to watch the loss to Green Bay before letting players leave for the holiday.
The Titans have sold out their home finale, though how many fans actually show up in the seats remains to be seen. Munchak has worked for Adams since being drafted out of Penn State in 1982 — first as a player and then as a coach since 1994. Adams likes Munchak but wants to get his team fixed before turning off even more paying customers.
Tennessee’s problems go beyond coaching. The Titans went into Green Bay without their top two pass catchers. The offensive line with four starters on injured reserve also had the backup center out with a sprained ankle, and replacement right tackle Mike Otto got sick and had to be replaced by Byron Stingily in his first career start.
Jake Locker had his worst performance yet. He was 1-of-7 for 7 yards in the first quarter with two interceptions, had a 0.0 passer rating by halftime and finished 13-of-30 for 140 yards. He underthrew, overthrew and was just late at times with the ball to receivers.
Yet the lowlight came when Locker tripped himself up trying to run away from pressure.
Yes, it counted as one of seven sacks.
Munchak defended the quarterback with 10 career starts.
“I think the team’s shaky,” Munchak said. “I think the support around him isn’t great.”
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Published in The Messenger 12.26.12