published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Greeson: Titans need more than loyal coach

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    In this Aug. 15, 2009, photo, Tennessee Titans offensive line coach Mike Munchak talks to his players during an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

There have been so many twists and turns for the Tennessee Titans in the last six weeks that maybe the unsurprising hiring of the unassuming Mike Munchak as the team's head coach is a good thing.

Maybe -- but it's doubtful.

With the pomp and circumstance of unwrapping a Christmas sweater, the Titans handed the keys to Munchak, a Hall of Fame player and a productive position coach. Nothing in his credentials is the ringing endorsement or undeniable hook that signifies a top-notch head coach, which this franchise desperately needs.

In truth, Munchak's most outstanding quality may be loyalty. Certainly loyalty is laudable, something that undoubtedly has and deserves merit. The Titans have been flush with loyalty -- good or bad -- during their time in Tennessee.

Jeff Fisher was the head coach for parts of 17 seasons despite winning all of five playoff games. He ran a relatively productive club, but was it ever really more than that? Sure, the Titans made a Super Bowl trip, but that was only after the Music City Miracle.

Vince Young repeatedly was given a chance to lead, but his inability and insecurity led only to inefficiency.

Now enter Munchak, who never has been a coordinator or had experience outside of this franchise. Since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 1982 and throughout his Pro Bowl career with the Houston Oilers, Munchak has worked for Titans owner Bud Adams, who moved the team to Tennessee more than a decade ago.

And while there's something to be said for loyalty -- and Munchak's apparent ability to overcome the adversity created by Adams himself -- it does not appear to be enough for a franchise that is starting over.

"Mike has been successful at everything he has been associated with at our franchise, and I have no reason to believe that he won't be successful as our head coach," Adams said at the news conference announcing the hiring, and his statement was by telephone from Houston. "He earned Hall of Fame distinction as a player, and yearly he has been one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. He understands where we have been and knows where we need to go."

Adams had better hope so, lest the Titans fan base decides that unyielding loyalty in the face of unwatchable lousy is not an attractive approach.

Munchak understands where the franchise has been, but there's little to determine if he knows where it needs to go. Or is there?

Maybe this hiring of Munchak will allow these Titans to rebuild from within, focusing on each line of scrimmage for the next 18 months. It will give these Titans the chance to remain loyal to the cause for the upcoming hard times. And rest assured, Johnny Titans Fan, the hard times are coming and they are coming right soon.

There is barely a serviceable quarterback on the roster, and there is no certainty at the position in this draft. So if Adams and Co. are going to be loyal to the most loyal of Titans and allow Munchak the security to go 1-15 next season -- and secure the right potentially to draft Andrew Luck -- then maybe loyalty is the most important aspect.

A little loyalty and a lot of Luck, that is.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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