NFL Team Report - Tennessee Titans - INSIDE SLANT
It was an eventful day for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, not only for their near-miracle comeback that wound up ending in a 37-34 overtime loss to Arizona.
Before the game ever kicked off, new team president Tommy Smith addressed the media and somewhat attempted to skirt the issue of Munchak's future, saying that that discussion would take place in the first week after the regular season concludes in two weeks.
"At the end of the season, we'll sit down. I look forward to sitting down and discussing in depth his view of his job performance and his coaches and players and see where we have common agreement on those things and just having a very good discussion. And based on that, we'll go forward after we have our period to be deliberate and thoughtful," Smith said. "I think we have a really good nucleus to build on. If we can be active in the offseason as we were last year and fill some of these holes, I think we're on the edge of being competitive, but we're not quite there. We have room for improvement, no question. I think we have a very good nucleus here."
Munchak has plenty working against him, as the Titans are now 5-9 and have missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
In terms of what could work in Munchak's favor to fulfill the final year of his contract in 2014, he can point to the fact that his club rallied from being down 17 points to force overtime by scoring three times in the final 3:01 of regulation to give themselves a chance to win.
But in the end, it was more of the same old thing for the Titans, as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Antoine Cason for the second time in the game, leading to the game-winning field goal that allowed Arizona to salvage the win after having blown the game in the fourth quarter.
When it was over, some Titans said that the comeback shows the team hasn't quit and is still responding to Munchak. But others said, as professionals, they are obligated to play hard no matter the situation at hand.
Cornerback Jason McCourty summed up the frustrations of Sunday and pretty much the frustration of the entire season for a Titans team has lost eight of 10 now, following a 3-1 start.
"We kept fighting, but the disappointing part is that we put ourselves in that situation by dumb mistakes and just not making plays. It's encouraging that we continued to fight, but when you lose you don't really find moral victories," McCourty said.
Munchak will also try to sell Smith on the fact that quarterback Jake Locker missed more than half the season with injuries and that the team was 4-3 with him as the starter, while just 1-6 with the backup Fitzpatrick.
There remains a chance that Smith will give Munchak one more chance. After all, Munchak has been with the organization for 32 seasons. But the fact that there will be an evaluation and not a vote of confidence means there is the possibility for change at season's end, too.
But Munchak knows that it is a bottom-line business, and though Sunday's come back was nice, it wasn't enough.
"The bottom line in this league is winning," Munchak said. "We know that, and they know that. They still don't feel great about what happened in that game. We didn't win it."
NFL Team Report - Tennessee Titans - NOTES, QUOTES
--One thing coach Mike Munchak didn't do as he fights for his job was to compromise his principles. Even though wide receivers Justin Hunter and Damian Williams certainly could have helped the Titans on Sunday, Munchak deactivated both players for a violation of team rules.
Neither Munchak nor the players would say specifically what the violation was, but the Titans wound up going with Kenny Britt, who has been in the doghouse for weeks, and untested Michael Preston, who wound up scoring two touchdowns, including the game-tying score with 10 seconds to go.