Tennessee Titans Head Coach: Making the Case for Keeping Mike Munchak

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 4:  Head coach Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans talks to an official during a game against the Chicago Bears at LP Field on November 4, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Bears defeated the Titans 51-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With the Titans staring at a 5-10 record and coming off of an embarrassing 55-7 loss to the Packers, there's a lot of talk about head coach Mike Munchak's job.

While the easy answer is to simply fire everyone, that doesn't make it the right move.

The first thing you have to look at is the record itself. Titans have one more game against the Jaguars, and it's a very winnable home game. If the Titans win, then they're 6-10 for the season, which isn't good by any means, but it really isn't that bad (especially if you remember the first Colts game where the Titans were robbed of a victory).

After all, the Titans were expected to go somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-9 this season. Underachieving by one game shouldn't be a fireable offense, especially coming off a season where the Titans overachieved and barely missed the playoffs.

What makes the Titans season look worse is the huge number of points allowed in some of these losses. The Titans lost to the Chargers 38-10, the Vikings 30-7, the Chargers 51-20, and the Packers 55-7, and are on pace to give up the most points in franchise history.

That looks bad on paper, but at the same time, a loss by one point and a loss by 48 points are the same in terms of the overall record. A loss is a loss is a loss.

If the Packers had called off the dogs in the fourth quarter and played prevent defense, the Titans could have lost 41-7 or maybe 41-14. Would that make the game any less of a loss, or any less one-sided? No, but you'd certainly see way less outrage about it.

Next, you have to look at the circumstances around the team. I know that no one wants to hear excuses, but if they did, Munchak certainly has a lot of them.

The Titans had a tough opening schedule. They played the Patriots in the opener, the Chargers when they were still hot, the Texans and the Vikings in their first five weeks.

The only win came against a Lions team featuring the NFL's No. 1 passing offense. That's not an easy start, and rallying a team together after such a slow start is tough.

Then there are the two injuries that Jake Locker sustained to his right arm this season. Before the second injury, he was completing over 60 percent of his passing attempts and the Titans were a middle-tier offense. After, his numbers aren't nearly as good.

Then of course there's the fact that Locker is essentially a rookie now playing under a rookie offensive coordinator. You should expect to see bumps in the road, even without injuries.

Munchak didn't get much help from his assistants either. Jerry Gray seems to still be figuring his system out, as he spent most of the season giving receivers big cushions, playing safeties too deep, and rarely calling blitzes. He's gotten better lately, but he's still getting there.

Chris Palmer was criticized all season for predictable play calling, and eventually, he lost his job for it. Tom Moore was brought on as an offensive consultant (and, if you ask me, as the offensive coordinator in waiting), but Dowell Loggains is in the driver's seat for now, and he's very green.

Lastly, there are the injuries. The Titans are one of the most banged up teams in the NFL right now. Four of the five starting offensive linemen are injured, along with two of their backups. The running back corps has been hurting all season as well, then there are injuries to Kendall Wright, Jared Cook, Robert Johnson and Colin McCarthy.

The place where it's hurting the most is offensive line. Jake Locker got hit over a dozen times by the Packers last week because the Titans line was simply overmatched, his best two receivers were out and the running game was limited.

When no one around you can give you any help and you're a rookie, it'll be rough, and that's exactly what happened to Locker on Sunday, which made the Titans look worse than they really are.

If Munchak can't rally his team to beat the lowly Jaguars, then his job is much harder to defend, but if he does, then firing him, at least to me, would be the wrong move for now.