Munchak might be coaching for his Titans job
The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - Tennessee Titans - INSIDE SLANT
Mike Munchak's job status to whether or not quarterback Jake Locker and/or running back Chris Johnson would be back next season.
Munchak's contract runs through the 2014 season, but with the Titans sitting at 5-8 with three games left to play and very little hope of making the playoffs, there has been plenty of speculation that those three games could be the final three games of his 30-plus-year career with the organization, dating back to his being a first-round draft choice of the then-Houston Oilers in 1982.
In an interview with the Tennessean, this week, new president and CEO Tommy Smith said that he would meet with Munchak at the end of the season, evaluate the situation and then make a decision on the coach's future with the organization.
In having to make such a decision as to whether Munchak gets to finish what he started, despite a 20-25 career record in just under three years as head coach, Smith told the newspaper that agonizing over that is an "awful decision."
Munchak indicated Wednesday that he still wants to finish what he started three years ago and points to the fact that while the Titans still have some holes, that the roster is much better than the one he inherited after the 2010 season replacing Jeff Fisher.
"We have 22 or 23 new guys on the roster this year from last year at this time. There's going to be change. The good thing for this team is there's going to be less change needed in the personnel department. I think there's some decisions that will be easier to make. I should say of where we need to make changes as the year plays out," Munchak said. "I have a front-row seat to what's going on, so I'm going to voice what I think is best for this team. You just can't do it all when you want it. People want stuff done immediately, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way in this league.
"I've been here three years. I'll say it again: I think this team in a lot of spots is much better than it has been since I've been here, but there's things that are holding us back. That's stuff we have to fix. That's stuff we'll talk about when the season's over. You can't do all the things now that you need to do. They (Smith and general manager Ruston Webster) will decide if they think that makes sense or if there's a better way to do it."
To paraphrase Munchak's thoughts, his fate is in the hands of Smith and Webster, and the Titans, who have underachieved in the eyes of many, will have to perform better in the final three games of the season for Munchak to increase whatever chance he has of returning as the Titans head coach for 2014.
The cold, hard reality of that is that Munchak has been the most loyal of organization employees since joining the team 31 years ago. But that might not count for much when the end-of-season evaluation comes, if the Titans continue to flounder over the final three games of the year.
"I don't think my relationship or how long I've been with the organization should have anything to do with it. Ultimately, it's about what's best for this organization, not necessarily short term but long term," he said. "A lot of people in this business think very short term where they want change but they don't know what to do about it. They just want to change it without having a plan. I think you have to have both. I think if you want to change something you have to have a plan about what's a better way to do it. I don't think me as far as how long I've been in the NFL or this organization should really be a factor. It won't be when it comes to what's best for this football team going forward."
SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series 5-4. Tennessee won the last meeting between the two teams, 20-17 as two first-round busts, Vince Young and Kenny Britt, hooked up for the game-winning score to cap a 99-yard march at the end of the game.
NFL Team Report - Tennessee Titans - NOTES, QUOTES
--Titans safety Bernard Pollard, who was flagged for a hit that proved not to be helmet-to-helmet in the game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, said he received an apology about the bad call, not that it did the Titans any good after the fact.
"They said the ref made a bad call. It doesn't help us on Wednesday. Actually during the game, the head of officiating said it was a bad call," Pollard said.
Pollard has been hit with plenty of fines this season, and hasn't been afraid to voice his displeasure with the NFL office about the fines and the way games are officiated. He was back at it again on Wednesday.
"For us if we make a bad decision off a straight reaction in the middle of a play and we don't mean to, we're fined $50,000, some guys $200,000 plus a game check and some a suspension, but refs are making bad calls and nothing is happening," Pollard said.