For the 0-6 Tennessee Titans, "Yea, but..." has given way to "Uh-oh."
In fact, the 59-0 massacre at the hand of the New England Patriots last Sunday would merit full-fledged panic.
A few weeks ago, there was hope for a turnaround.
Then, following another loss or two, folks cited a very much beatable funk.
"If anyone can turn it around, it's Jeff Fisher."
Even as recently as the opening kickoff of the Patriots game, there were a bold few who harbored the quixotic, "mathematically alive" school of thought.
Not so any more.
Even Tennessee owner Bud Adams claims to be "perplexed" by his team's play. Considering that the man has been in pro football since the Kennedy administration, that's saying a lot.
A few weeks ago, there were murmurs about coach Fisher's job security. But most people considered that to be folly, given his winning, rock-solid reputation.
Yet nowadays, those murmurs have crescendoed into blood curdling yells as his future—and the future of the franchise—has gone beyond questionable.
Perhaps the most confounding thing about all of this is that there is no obvious reason as to why.
Rebuilding? Heck, this team didn't even have to reload with 20 out of 22 starters returning from an impressive 13-3 campaign.
Up until now, the one saving grace was that there was the illusion of a fighting attitude and an indomitable spirit.
Eye of the Tiger , Remember the Titans ; pick your pop culture cliché.
To lose six straight games to open the season is bad enough. But when it comes in the form of the biggest blowout that the NFL has seen since 1976 (when the Rams beat the Falcons by the same lopsided margin), it's a strong indication of the dubiously proverbial "rolling over."
The once proud secondary was essentially waving to—as opposed to tackling—Patriots receivers.
Yes, Tom Brady's record setting second quarter would pretty much demoralize any team. Especially a winless one.
But players are embedded with a warrior's spirit at a very young age. Or, at least they should be.
Just as one is taught to never give up on a play, one should never give up on a game.
Why do you think a basketball team that's down by 20 points, with 30 seconds to go, still desperately fouls in an effort to stop the clock?
Why does a baseball team down by nine runs with two outs in the ninth inning still swing for the fences?
It's the "never give up" ethos that unfortunately seems to elude the Titans, the same way opposing offensive players elude them.
The good news?
Rock bottom has been achieved. It can only get better.
This year, it's Tennessee. As has been mentioned, with Tampa Bay and St. Louis, it was to be expected.
With the Titans, it's a complete mystery.
Never has a work in progress been more miserable.