Posted January 04, 2014

Head Coach Mike Munchak fired by Tennessee Titans

AFC South, Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak

Mike Munchak went just 22-26 in three season as head coach of the rebuilding Titans. (John Biever/SI)

The Tennessee Titans became the seventh team to fire its head coach this season, ending Mike Munchak’s regime on Saturday.

“The last week has been a difficult time trying to navigate through many issues to find the best resolution for this franchise moving forward,” GM Ruston Webster said in a statement. “Tough choices were presented to all sides and the end result was to part ways and move forward without Mike.”

The move comes almost a week after the NFL’s Black Monday, which this year saw five head coaches fired. That delay puts Tennessee a little behind the 8-ball, as both Houston and Tampa Bay have hired new coaches. (The Texans fired Gary Kubiak in early December.)

• Tale of the Tape: Munchak was 7-9 this season and 22-26 overall (three seasons) with Tennessee.

• What Went Wrong: This situation dragged out as a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with USA Today’s Jim Wyatt reporting Friday night that Titans president Tommy Smith had decided to retain Munchak for a fourth season, provided Munchak meet “certain conditions.” Earlier, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had reported those requirements could include promoting assistant  coach Gregg Williams to defensive coordinator — a spot held in 2013 by Jerry Gray.

Whether Munchak declined to agree to Smith’s requests or Smith simply changed his mind, the Titans opted to move in a different direction.

And it’s hard not to feel that Munchak may have enjoyed a longer stay had Jake Locker been able to stay healthy and consistent this season. The Titans opened the year 3-1 prior to a Locker injury and were 4-3 overall with him at the helm; they were 3-6 in games started by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

A drought from Weeks 10 through 15 cost Tennessee a shot at the AFC South title or a wild-card spot. The Titans entered that stretch with a 4-4 mark after beating St. Louis, then proceeded to drop five of their next six to fall out of playoff contention.

• Roster Outlook: Locker’s future remains up in the air — he has one season plus a team-option year left on his current deal. But the bigger conundrum for 2014 might revolve around long-time running back Chris Johnson. He has $8 million coming to him next season, a restrictive number given his disappointing production over the past three seasons, not to mention the Titans’ likely need to free up some cash.

Pending free agent Kenny Britt almost certainly has played his last game as a Titan. Has fellow WR Nate Washington overstayed his welcome, too? Washington, due $4.8 million for next season, could be released without any dead-money hit to the Titans’ salary cap, so he might need to accept a pay cut to stick around.

The challenge on defense will be in keeping cornerback Alterraun Verner around. Verner has said he’d like to stay in Tennessee, but he’s on the verge of free agency off his best NFL season.

• Possible replacements: Mike Zimmer, Jay Gruden, Darrell Bevell, Ray Horton

17 comments
ILoveMyWife
ILoveMyWife

I respect Munch. Best of luck in his next gig but he just wasn't getting the job done in Nashville. I hope gold digging Smith will look outside the organization for a new coach.

ChiliBoots
ChiliBoots

America has fired the entire NFL. Hasn't that yet sunk in? Perhaps Management also has brain damage. We are done with you, Clowns. Try tour fetid little carnival in Europe.

historiskull
historiskull

I wouldn't be surprised if the Titans seriously consider James Franklin at Vandy, which is about a 5 minute drive from Titan stadium.

6marK6
6marK6

Munch might maybe should have won one more game this year (blew it against the Texans in week 2), but man, that team wasn't much on paper.

Mike26
Mike26

This Darrell Bevell thing keeps making me wonder:  why is he mentioned as a HC candidate?  What has he done?  He worked under a control freak HC (Childress) with a HOF QB (Favre).  He then ran the offense for Seattle - and an underwhelming one at that.  Why does his name come up periodically for HC jobs when he's not even an outstanding coordinator.

htos1
htos1

I don't get it, there will be "losing" dynasties as much as there winning ones.It's like a bad winter-just tough it out.

I know of that which I speak, my home team is Jacksonville.So get over it.

GregJackson
GregJackson

Munchak played this one beautifully.  The Titans will have to pay him the rest of his contract, and he can take the job at Penn State.  Good for him!

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

In all of these cases, maybe the GM should be fired. You cannot win without a QB.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Mike Shanahan is looking for work.

6marK6
6marK6

@Mike26 Agreed, he appears to be the flavor of the week.

PWINGS
PWINGS

@GregJackson  I don't think so. I think the Titans' financial responsibility to Munchak ends if he accepts another job for 2014. Now if decides to take a vacation for a year (unlikely), then the Titans are on the hook for the remaining year of his contract.

Mike26
Mike26

@PWINGS @GregJackson If that's true then Munchak has the world's worst agent.  Romeo Crennel's been paid for TWO years worth of salary for not coaching.