Posted December 08, 2013

Titans reportedly ready to make major changes in coaching and personnel

AFC South, Tennessee Titans
Titans head coah Mike Munchak and quarterback Jake Locker could be out of the picture sooner than later.

Titans head coah Mike Munchak and quarterback Jake Locker could be out of the picture sooner than later. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Apparently, the Houston Texans’ firing of Gary Kubiak has one other AFC South team looking to make major changes very soon — and possibly before the 2013 season is done. According to Mike Silver and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Tennessee Titans’ front office is not happy with the direction of the team, and head coach Mike Munchak is coaching for his job at this point. Because the Texans are now the only NFL team able to openly and publicly talk to available head-coaching candidates like Lovie Smith, the move may happen sooner than later, Silver reports. In fact, Munchak may not last the season.

The Titans started the season 3-1, but got away from the preferred paradigm of a power-running team for the most part, and have lost six of their last eight games to fall to 5-7. One could assume that a playoff berth could save Munchak’s job, and the team is barely in contention for such a possibility. But this was not the desired result — running back Chris Johnson has gone over 100 yards in just one game this season, and he doesn’t really fit the prototype for a power back.

This may be why, according to Rapoport, the Titans are also ready to move on from Johnson after the 2013 season. Johnson triggered a $10 million base salary cost in the third year of the six-year, $55.26 million contract extension he signed in 2011, and he’d be due $8 million more in base salary in both 2014 and ’15. After rushing for 2,006 yards in 2009, Johnson hadn’t cracked the 1,400-yard mark since, and he has just 774 yards on 205 carries for a 3.8 yards per carry average this season. Johnson has never been a tackle-breaker; he’s always been more of a speed guy reliant on his offensive line. But this season, he’s seemed even more vulnerable to opposing defenses crashing through the line.

In addition, Rapoport reports that the Titans have already decided that they will refuse the fifth-year option on quarterback Jake Locker, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2011. Locker has put forth inconsistent results as he’s learned to be a pocket passer — he was a mobile “see it and throw it” passer at Washington — and he’s missed a large part of this season with hip and foot injuries. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played decently in his stead, and it’s rumored that the Titans could go hard after Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who still owns a home in Tennessee from his days in Vanderbilt. It wouldn’t be the first time the team had courted a high-profile free-agent signal-caller during the Locker era — owner Bud Adams, who passed away in October, said that he would break the bank to sign Peyton Manning before Manning chose the Denver Broncos instead. Locker’s fifth-year option would be worth $13 million.

It’s a tumultuous time for a team that has had its share of them. Since moving to Tennessee from Houston in 1997, the former Oilers franchise has undergone two different salary cap-related roster implosions, and the current regime is in place because former head coach Jeff Fisher would not bend to Adams’ insistence that he keep Vince Young as his quarterback.

51 comments
MichelleJenkinsHendrix
MichelleJenkinsHendrix

Some things never change; same Oiler losers and always will be no matter what they're called!  ROTF

bhayes420
bhayes420

I'd much rather place my faith in Cutler than Locker at this point.  CJ, while great in spurts and with one super season, needs to go.  He can't be a lead back in this league, not in a ground and pound offense.  He could fit with a team that would use him a little like Reggie Bush or Darren Sprouls.  I'm not sold on Kirk Cousins.  Too small a sample size.  He would be worth a mid-round pick,  but nothing more right now.  If he plays out the string in DC and shows even more promise, then the price should/will go up.  I've never been a fan of Munchak.  He's a great o-line coach, but I don't see the makings and personality of a head coach.  

DrewLovell
DrewLovell

All right.  Let's go this way.. CJ get's paid... get's happy feet cautious and gives up on any extra effort.  Locker can be a good QB... in the right system.  Which this isn't.  Fitz. stats??????? Turn over machine and a weak leader.  Fisher is a good coach, but not elite.  Kubiac could be a good fit.  Good for team chemistry.  What we need in TN is true leader on the O' side of the ball, but another rookie QB thrown to the wolves isn't the way to go again.  A trade for Kirk Cousins at Wash. could work.  He's won games with a fair offence last year when RG3 was hurt.  Smart kid and a vocal leader.  Just that might get me back in the stands.

obscomacroni
obscomacroni

Bamm7 get a life,vince young had nothing to do wit Fisher job, he suck simple as that, stop insulting a man for the lack of coaching in Fisher part.

gary41
gary41

Nothing wrong with building a strong OL - running game & a balanced attack.  The coach killer here is Jake Locker.  He was a capital blunder from day one--his stats this season were mediocre only because he was carefully nursed along as a manager.  When you don't get that QB thing right, the program just doesn't work real well.  Bud Adams wanted Peyton Manning for a good reason.       

6marK6
6marK6

team plays hard for him, should mean something. he was not left with a great cast.

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

Chris Johnson has been a nothing since he sat out to get a mega-contract.  His interest in football began and ended with making money, and once he had the big contract, his effort ceased.  A cautionary tale for owners ... don't give big money to a player who won't work hard.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Locker is not nfl starter and cj is waaaay over rated (and paid)

Matthew W
Matthew W

RBs no longer deserve big contracts in the NFL. This is a passing league and out of the offensive skill positions, RBs have the shortest shelf life.

Cool
Cool

" Jay Cutler, who still owns a home in Tennessee from his days in Vanderbilt."    You say what?  Is this saying he owned a home while playing at Vanderbilt?  

amorosotom
amorosotom

Hey, if Jay Cutler was so great Denver would never have let him go. The guy's a loser, a whiner, and very injury-prone. 

Richard40
Richard40

Fisher is building a solid, young Rams team.  Good luck to him.


The Titans could very well go after Cutler, who would fit well with the stable of good young receivers the team has.  The OL is pretty good, and the defense is solid.


The big questions are, then, can the team get Cutler?   And, who would be the head coach?

Bamm7
Bamm7

All these problems are Vince Young's fault. He's a suicidal loser who can't play football.


Bring back back Jeff Fisher, and keep Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitzpatrick is smart, and check out his fantasy record.   Fisher is a great NFL coach and he "gets it."  Fisher knows the Nashville fan base. We were winners before Vince Young showed up.

bhayes420
bhayes420

@obscomacroni Look at it like this...who currently has a job?  Yeah...Fisher.  Even with all the injuries at QB in the NFL, Young can't find a taker.  He might be a nice kid, but he's an idiot.  He's proven it by his past and current actions.  No one wants to give the reins of their team to an immature idiot!  

Bamm7
Bamm7

Fisher is standing tall, respected like Belichik and other great NFL coaches.  He earned that.

Vince Young stole Titan money and didn't earn anything. Loser. He's the unemployed clown. Suicide watch

PWINGS
PWINGS

CJ = Chris Johnson. 2K = 2,000 yards Johnson had rushing in 2009. Also his repeated boasts that he will do it again.

Matthew W
Matthew W

He also had a good offensive line opening up holes for him back then....not so much anymore. 


A top o-line will make an average RB look like a hall of famer. A bad o-line will end a RB's career.

mjt424
mjt424

I think Locker can be a starter. He still needs more development but more so, he needs to stay healthy.  Chris Johnson, and this is just my feeling, is still a good back. It's the lack of a good passing game and blocking that is hurting him. If he leaves and ends up in the right system, he could again be a plus-back.

eddie767
eddie767

@Cool I heard his parents bought him a house,so he didn't have to be in dorm. I could be wrong,but some sports writer mentioned it on his morning show(hint hint).

mjt424
mjt424

Tremendous physical talent but I'd be careful about investing big in him. Not sure of his makeup. He'd be an upgrade in Tennessee but at what price?

Bamm7
Bamm7

Fisher is probably the best coach in the NFL. The Rams will definitely be playing in the super Bowl in the next two years.  Why go after Cutler when we have Fitzpatrick?  Cutler's Wunderlic score was well below Fitzpatrick's.

bhayes420
bhayes420

@Bamm7 FANTASY record?  That's nuts, dude.  Fantasy stats don't win real world ballgames.  

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Keep Fitzpatrick because of his fantasy record?  Nice logic.  I may be new to this football thing, but for some reason I think that his actual NFL record may carry a bit more weight.  Oh, and Vince Young has not worn a Titan uniform since the end of the 2010 season.  Somehow it does not seem that the current problems in Nashville are his fault.

amorosotom
amorosotom

@Bamm7 College football and NFL football are two different animals when it comes to quarterback position. The prototypical Big Ten,Urban Meyer will never cut it in the NFL. Vince Young was great as college quarterback because he didn't have to think. Just quick look around and then run. NFL requires a smart kid who can read defenses and forget about running because you are going to get killed by the linebackers. 

ariane
ariane

Fisher is respected b/c his job is to move teams by obtaining report with a team and lose to move. Isn't St Louis moving back to LA?

There is a salary cap VY isn't & hasn't taken anything away from that in some time. Vince Young was the last time anyone took Titans serious about playoff talks he has a winning record with the Titans. He added the dual threat helping put the 2K in CJ2K. He tried to fight Fisher to get back in a game to try and win. Gave you'll a franchise largest 4th quarter comeback in NFL history. Losing like Romo or Vick that gets $100 million dollar contract. NFL rigs games for ratings they can't controlled VY. NFL doesn't like one player to become larger that a league Tebow should at least be in Jacksonville. Jamarcus Russell now he stole $.

The made Vince Young fall like the Titans did to the Olympians. If I'm not mistaken they did that same story to the Titanic w/ it's sister ship the Olympic that was written in a book the "Titan" in 1898 14 years b4 the titanic sunk April 15, 1912 ( why you pay your taxes on April 15). 100 years after the book "Titan" they again marked the occasion by making the movie the Titanic and the NFL team the Titans. Both like the original tale were to never win but to always fall like the Giant Goliath to David. The Titans are always to fall by your loser mascot a symbol of Giants falling. So the titans are to never win the big battle and it was deemed that from its inception.

bhayes420
bhayes420

@mjt424 I agree with your Locker assessment, but he HAS to stay healthy.  He hasn't proven that he can.  Hard to hitch your wagon to that.  CJ...I'm not so sure.  He avoids contact, he's too quick to give up on a play and abandon his blockers.  if the initial hole isn't there, he looks lost and starts dancing around.  He looks like he's lost a little bit of his quickness.  CJ is a small man, and has taken a pretty good beating over the years.  It might be catching up with him.  I would let him go because there is no way he's worth what the Titans have to pay him going forward.  

meandmesa
meandmesa

Seriously, you're using the Wunderlic score as a basis for determining who the better quarterback is? I hope to god you're being sarcastic with this post, otherwise I have serious concerns about your own intellectual capacity.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Best coach in the NFL?  Good one.  Three division titles, six playoff appearances, and one visit to the Super Bowl in nineteen years are not the stuff of the best coach in the NFL.

Bamm7
Bamm7

Chan Gaily had faith in Fitzpatrick.  Don't go questioning Chan Gaily's football knowledge. QBing in the NFL is about memorizing playbooks and making smart decisions. "NFL record?"  Fitzpatrick has a great record.  He's become a starter everywhere he's played.

Vince Young was a cancer, and time doesn't kill cancer. His losing attitude still lingers on this team.  That is where all the losing began.  2006.

We need a Jeff Fisher type guy back here.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@JoeCabot Typically I agree with you, but he did get Fisher ran out of town, his failure forced the drafting of Locker, and his mobility let everyone think that CJ was really a 2k guy (they ran some precursor zone read and option play). So it may actually be his fault lol

Bamm7
Bamm7

Exactly!  Young is too, dumb to QB in the NFL.  That's why we started to lose as soon as Bud Adams made him the starter.  Every time Young played the losses began to pile up.

Add to that his suicide attempts and his criminal record, and when he quit on the team...this is why the Titans are in lousy shape today.  We were sitting pretty before Young showed up.  Now look at this dumpster fire.

bhayes420
bhayes420

@Bamm7 Fitzpatrick had a 20-33 record with the Bills when they released him.  He's a good guy, a smart guy, and a good back up.  You can't depend on him to win games consistently with his arm.  I agree, however, in that we need him in Titan blue....as a backup!  

Bamm7
Bamm7

lol  You think you know more than NFL coaches.

The NFL is all about winning.  Ryan Fitzpatrick will play as long as he wants in this league. His NFL value is immense.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Money?  And a winner?  If a career record of 24-46-1 is the definition of a winner, you are spot on.

Bamm7
Bamm7

Every coach in the NFL relies on the Wunderlic score. That's what it's all about, dude.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is money. He's a winner in this league.  We need this guy in Titan blue.

tvon
tvon

You do know that so called criminal saved Fisher's job twice? Fisher was responsible as well. Fact, Fisher was on the hot seat when they drafted VY in 2006. They started out 0-4 before Adams ordered Fisher to start Vince. His presense changed everything and they started winning. They ended up missing the playoffs by one game. 2007 they made the playoffs with VY having zero weapons on offense. 2008 was his meltdown during the Jacksonville game. We make the playoffs under Collins and lose in the 1st round. 2009 Collins goes 0-6 to start the season. Adams yet again orders Fisher to start Vince. Here lightning struck twice as thr team finished the final games 8-2. The criminal as you called it has just saved Fishere's job again. 2010 season Vince earned his starting job back and he go all the reps in OTA's and training camp with the late Heimerdinger leading his development. This too payed off because Vince statistically had his best season as a pro. Then the thumb injury happened and he got benched for the no body that's Rusty Smith. VY had evrey right to get pissed because Fisher used every opportunity he could to find a way to bench Young. If Fisher would have gotten off his Hi horse and supported Vince, they both would still be in Tennessee winning right now.

Bamm7
Bamm7

After giving Young every opportunity, Fisher finally realized Young was a loser and a quitter and banned him from the locker room.  Fisher outfoxed old Bud Adams there, leaving Adams with no choice but Rusty Smith (a true pro). The Titans finished the season with dignity.

Young has never gotten a chance to be a starter since.  There's a reason for that. Young can't play. Young was too busy splitting his time between jail, the suicide hotline and the cheesecake factory, to be bothered with NFL football.

I can't prove Fisher is the best coach in the NFL, but he hasn't had the same support as most NFL coaches. He's kind of been gypped. Those who know Fisher, know he's the best. Give him 5 years with the Rams and watch what happens.


Anyway, we were flying high in Nashville until Young showed up.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

If my stats are off, then let's see you provide some evidence.  I'm defending Vince Young.  If he had some value now, he would have a job.  But he won some game for the Titans during his time there, and he is not responsible for their current problems.  Those are on management.  Oh, and it looks like you are changing your tune on Jeff Fisher, from the best coach in the league to highly respected.  Good to see that you have seen the light.

Bamm7
Bamm7

Get real, Joe. Your math is off.  Vince Young isn't that good.  He's locker room cancer. Jeff Fisher is a big-time winner and highly respected. The NFL is about winning, and Young doesn't have a job for a reason. He can't win in the NFL.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

The Titans winning percentage with Vince Young at QB was .638.   Jeff Fisher's career winning percentage is .533.  Do the math on that one.   What else you got?   Oh, and Jeff Fisher may talk a good game.  Does not make him the best coach in the NFL.

Bamm7
Bamm7

Fisher can't help that he was saddled with that criminal Vince Young for 5 seasons.  That really hurt is winning percentage as a coach.  

You can tell Fisher is one of the best when you listen to him talk.  He's the best.  He "gets it."

bhayes420
bhayes420

@Bamm7 WIth those expectations, i would make a hell of an NFL quarterback!  I can memorize a playbook with the best of them, and I can make smart decisions.  Now, executing those decisions might be something else...and that's the problem with Fitzpatrick.

tbost4321
tbost4321

@Bamm7 He may have started everywhere he's played, but it's not like he was unseating legends.  

St. Louis, 2005: Replaces an injured Jamie Martin, who was replacing an injured Marc Bulger.  Starts the next 3 games, when Martin reclaims his spot.  


Cincinnati, 2008: Replaces an injured Carson Palmer. Palmer's injury turns out to be season ending, Fitz starts the rest of the year. 


Buffalo, 2009: Replaces an injured Trent Edwards.  Once Edwards is healthy, 2 different coaches go back and forth between Edwards and Fitz until Fitz is named the starter partially through the 2010 season.  


Tennessee, 2013: Replaces an injured Jake Locker.  


That resume reads exactly what Fitzpatrick is: A quality backup QB that can make the occasional spot start, but not a franchise QB.

Bamm7
Bamm7

W/L stats are absolutely the worst way to evaluate a QB.  Completely meaningless.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

A great record of 24-46-1.

Bamm7
Bamm7

We are lucky we have R. Fitzpatrick on this team.  He just threw a TD vs Denver.

If we had Vince Young come off the bench mid-season to replace Locker, we'd lose EVERY game.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Hey, Vince was/is a crazy dude, but they won games when he was in Tennessee.   I would not blame Jake Locker on him.  It was the Titan management that complete blew the analysis on the that guy.

Bamm7
Bamm7

Young masterminded this whole Titans downfall, on the field and behind the scenes.  I wish Fisher never gave him Vince Young the benefit of the doubt.  All Fisher wanted to do was serve the owner and the fans, and have a winner in Nashville. Fisher is the ultimate standup guy.

But Vince Young wanted to spend all his time at the Cheesecake factory, and attempting suicide.  He didn't care about anyone but himself.  Now look at us.  Thanks, Vince Young.