Back To The Laboratory: Titans Seeking Direction During Bye Week

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 23:  Linebacker Keith Bulluck #53 of the Tennessee Titans watches as the New York Jets celebrate a touchdown during the game at LP Field on November 23, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Success is a very relative term.  

For some teams, it's defined as the obvious goal of winning a Super Bowl. For others, merely winning a game is their Super Bowl.

In a matter of two months, the Tennessee Titans have had to use both definitions. 

Heading into their bye week, there is at least one bit of good news: they're guaranteed to not lose this Sunday. But how coach Jeff Fisher and the rest of his downward-spiraling team use their time off will determine not only the rest of the season, but the direction of the franchise as well.

Across the board, jobs are on the line. Fisher is wisely focusing on the team and what they can do to get better, as opposed to going into "save-my-job" mode.  

He's got the right idea. You have to play to win; you can't play to not lose.  

When it comes to righting the Titans' wrongs, "where do I start?" becomes the obvious question.

Apparently for Fisher, it involves wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. The more the dust settles from that incendiary incident, the more it looks like a psychological ploy on his part to fire up his team.

Heck, if the players get half as mad as a lot of the fans did, then he did his job. Most folks take for granted that he's on par with Bill Parcells when it comes to pushing the right buttons with his players.  

And it couldn't have come at a better time.  

The most disturbing thing about this year's Titans is not necessarily the winless record. It's the way that they've gotten blown out and manhandled in said losses that's the most perplexing.  

The Titans aren't playing like a team with bad luck. They're playing like a bad team, period.  

Theoretically, if Tennessee doesn't win one more game this year but at least shows effort and heart, then that's success. Barely, but it's better than the current state of affairs.  

If Tennessee strings together a few wins to keep the AFC South interesting, then that's an added bonus. Even the most optimistic fan knows the unlikelihood of the Titans stringing together 10 straight wins and shocking the world in the playoffs.  

But if Jeff Fisher and Co. can focus on the fundamentals and keep the "one game at a time" philosophy close to their hearts, then it's a good start. With a little over a week to go before the Jacksonville Jaguars visit, there's plenty of time to refocus and, if anything, settle on a general sense of direction as a team.

Things certainly can't get much worse for Tennessee. Even the smallest, most insignificant improvement is a step forward.

All things considered, success just might not be that elusive after all.