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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Munchak The Man In Music City

As expected, the Tennessee Titans named long-time offensive line coach Mike Munchak as the 16th head coach in Titans/Oilers history. Munchak is a 9-time pro bowl selection and 4-time all-pro selection. He was selected in the 2001 NFL Hall of Fame class. The Titans selected Munchak after interviewing the likes of Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, NY Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and being rejected by former Titan and current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Bud Adams did what most of us thought, staying in-house and cheap. The Munchak hire won’t inspire the fan base as he has basically been with the team as long as Jeff Fisher has been. If you think Jeff Fisher was here long time, than think about that Munchak has either been playing or coaching for the organization since 1982.There were many different options that the organization could have gone. The Titans could have hired a hot-shot coordinator like Marty Mornhinweg of Philadelphia who helped resurrect Michael Vick’s career, Cam Cameron who has developed young Joe Flacco into a top 15 QB or Rob Ryan of Cleveland, brother of Rex and defensive minded just like his big brother.

However the most intriguing candidate to me was Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers. He is the brain-child of the Green Bay defense that just won the Super Bowl. Capers in just 2 years on the job turned around a Packers defensive unit that was mediocre at best. His blitzing and attacking 3-4 has put the Packers in a different class defensively as they were ranked in the top 5 of the NFL the past two seasons. Peter King of Sports illustrated tweeted exactly what I was thinking as he said “The Titans couldn’t have waited until the after the Super Bowl to at least talk to Capers.” In any event the Titans have made their choice and are giving the keys to the franchise to Munchak.

There are still more questions than answers about the future of the Titans. Who will be the starting QB? Who will Munchak name as his defensive coordinator? What about the other coaching positions (defensive line coach, running backs coach etc)? What will be his team’s offensive identity? Will he play it close to the vest as Fisher did? Only time will tell if Bud Adams made a status quo decision based on his own personal beliefs while trying to keep a few extra bucks in his pocket or did he take notice of Munchak as an up and comer in the organization and went ahead and gave him the job before some other team snatched him up. Another thing that convolutes the story is the upcoming labor strife with the players union and owners. The new CBA could have forced Adams not to go after a big name like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden because of the impending stipulations or revisions that will be made.

Munchak was light-hearted and in a jovial mood in Monday’s press conference but he did make one thing clear. Said Munchak I'm going to be my own man, and I'll be judged by what I do and not what was done before me. I'm not looking here to blame anybody about what was left for me," Munchak said. "I think it's a great opportunity here with what we have, and I think I'm the guy to pick up the pieces and hopefully get us in the right direction."

Either way you look at it this is the beginning of a new era for Tennessee football. The only man we ever knew as the coach of the Titans is gone and now one of his former assistants takes over. Munchak comes in with hall of fame credentials as a former all-pro guard and has spent his entire career in the Houston/Nashville organization but this will be first experience as a Head Coach Hopefully he can get the Titans back on the road to winning sooner than later.

Update: Titans fire offensive coordinator Mike Heimendinger. I guess Munchak is making his mark early with the team.

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