AFC South: Leslie Frazier

Comparing Munchak to other 2011 hires

December, 6, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- John Fox is in Year 3 of his tenure in Denver.

He’s got Peyton Manning at quarterback, which puts him in a better situation than any other coach who was hired in 2011.

A top-flight quarterback obviously keys an organization.

"You definitely feel that you’re growing as a team otherwise it’s a lot of hard work for nothing, but I feel that we’ve improved in the three years," Fox said. "I guess my point is we’re not satisfied."

Of the eight head coaches hired in the NFL in 2011 -- including Jason Garrett who took over for Wade Phillips in Dallas late in 2012 -- Munchak currently ranks sixth in winning percentage.

Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco

2011: 13-3
2012: 11-4-1
2013: 8-4

Overall: 32-11-1, .727

Quarterback situation: Drafted Colin Kaepernick in the second round in 2011. He was a Super Bowl quarterback last year, but isn’t the same guy this season.

Biggest additions: Kaepernick, linebacker Aldon Smith (draft 2011), receiver Anquan Boldin (trade 2012).

Status: Rock solid.

John Fox, Denver

2011: 8-8
2012: 13-3
2013: 10-2

Overall: 31-13, .705

Quarterback situation: Peyton Manning is putting up monster numbers and appears on track for another MVP.

Biggest additions: Linebacker Von Miller (draft 2011), Manning (free agent 2012), receiver Wes Welker (free agent 2013).

Status: Rock solid.

Jason Garrett, Dallas (interim in late 2010)

2011: 8-8
2012: 8-8
2013: 7-5

Overall: 23-21, .534

Quarterback situation: Tony Romo is productive and talented, but has a reputation for folding at crunch time.

Biggest additions: Left tackle Tyron Smith (draft 2011), cornerback Brandon Carr (free agent 2012), center Travis Frederick (draft 2013).

Status: Constant public questions, public support from his owner.

Ron Rivera, Carolina

2011: 6-10
2012: 7-9
2013: 9-3

Overall: 22-22, .500

Quarterback situation: Cam Newton is playing well as the Panthers are 9-3 and challenging for the NFC South title.

Biggest additions: Newton (draft 2011), linebacker Luke Kuechly (draft 12), defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (draft 2013).

Status: Vastly improved.

Hugh Jackson, Oakland

2011: 8-8, fired

Overall: 8-8, .500

Status: Special assistant to the head coach/ running backs coach in Cincinnati.

Mike Munchak, Tennessee

2011: 9-7
2012: 6-10
2013: 5-7

Overall: 20-24, .454

Quarterback situation: Jake Locker showed signs he might be the guy, but he’s hurt and will miss 14 of 32 starts since he got the job in 2012. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing now.

Biggest additions: Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (draft 2011), receiver Kendall Wright (draft 2012), strong safety Bernard Pollard (free agent 2013).

Status: Likely in trouble, but we know nothing about how the head of new ownership group, Tommy Smith, is leaning or will act.

Leslie Frazier, Minnesota

2011: 3-13
2012: 10-6
2013: 3-8-1

Overall: 16-27-1, .363

Quarterback situation: A complete mess. Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman have all started this year, and they’ve all been bad.

Biggest additions: Tight end Kyle Rudolph (draft 2011), safety Harrison Smith (draft 2012), receiver/returner Cordarelle Patterson (draft 2013).

Status: Likely to be finished with one year remaining on his contract.

Pat Shurmur, Cleveland

2011: 4-12
2012: 5-11, fired
Overall: 9-23, .281

Status: Offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.

Do your homework on the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, and it’s not hard to learn that while head coach Chuck Pagano missed 12 games battling leukemia, he had a strong hand in what offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was doing as his fill-in.

That’s why the most logical vote for coach of the year would have been a split one, naming both.

But the 50 voters for the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award didn’t go that way.

Arians won the award with 36.5 votes. Pagano came in second with 5.5. Pete Carroll got five and Leslie Frazier got three.

Arians is now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

(How bad would it have been if both getting votes meant neither won?)

Per ESPN Stats & Information, Pagano is officially credited with each win and loss by the Colts this season (11-5), so Arians won the award without an official win or loss on his record. He thrived in circumstances we'll likely never see again.

He is first Colts coach to win the award since the team moved to Indianapolis.

The team’s nine-win improvement from 2011 to 2012 tied for the second-best one season gain in NFL history. The Elias Sports Bureau says the Colts were just the second team in the past 25 years to reach the playoffs the year after winning two or fewer games.

Arians was an outstanding leader, teacher and messenger for the Colts in Pagano’s absence. A year ago, he was fired by the Steelers. Now, a guy who thought that his window for a head-coaching opportunity was past is one of 32 men with the job title.

I’m sure Pagano will say the offensive coordinator and interim coach was completely deserving, and Arians will say he should have shared it with his former boss.

Mailbag: Too much Titans, but no VY

February, 5, 2011
Jason from Murfreesboro, Tenn., writes: I was just wondering if you could say/write something to Titans fans who are discouraged at the prospect of Munchak becoming head coach. I don't know anyone who thinks he's the best fit for the job and we're all discouraged to think the front office would rather keep the same ole status quo that hasn’t' delivered a playoff win in seven years, than to try something/someone new from outside the organization. If he's such a great candidate why wasn't he mentioned for any of the other head coaching vacancies?

Paul Kuharsky: I can.

Is Jason Garrett the same as Wade Phillips in Dallas? Is Leslie Frazier the same as Brad Childress in Minnesota? Is Hue Jackson going to be the same as Tom Cable in Oakland?

Is Mike Munchak completely fresh blood? No. But is he a Jeff Fisher clone? Absolutely not. Is his long-time boss going to influence the way he works? Sure. Are there some Jeff Fisher traits Munchack probably wants to completely steer the opposite direction from? I’m sure there are.

Expanding the search is my preference. But Munchak will still qualify as something new. If Munchak gets the job, he might be great at it. We’ll have to wait and see, though I know that doesn’t suit most people’s desire to panic. And the Titans don’t, and shouldn’t, care if the guy they want has been coveted by the rest of the league. There are coveted guys who don’t work out. There are no names who are great.

I’ll let another reader chime in too:

Andy in Nashville writes: The Titans bright side: In 2007, the Arizona Cardinals had no coach and a castoff veteran QB who no one thought had much left in the tank. Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner took them to the Super Bowl in 2008. After the 2005 season, the New Orleans Saints fired their head coach. They had neither a QB nor a stadium to play in. They hired Sean Payton, picked up Drew Brees, and won the Super Bowl in Feb. 2009. In 2007, the Atlanta Falcons had their QB sent to prison, and their coach left in the middle of the season for a college team. In 2010, they had the best record in the NFC. So, it's possible. The Titans dark side: The last decade in Detroit, Cleveland, and San Francisco. So, these next few months for the franchise are enormously important.

PK: Only trouble is, Warner and Brees, or anyone like them, are not available.

Craig Jackson from Culloden, W. Va., writes: Hey Paul was just wondering what do you think the Texans are gonna do with Steve Slaton?

PK: They’ll let him compete for a spot at the back of the rotation. His neck issue makes him a question for Texans and everyone else.

John Sullivan from Indianapolis writes: Any chance Peyton Manning would put pressure on Jim Irsay and Bill Polian to have Fisher replace Jim Caldwell. Fisher is a much better game day coach.

PK: Not happening. Even if the stuff on the Indy side was in play -- and I don’t believe for a second it would be -- Fisher is intent on sitting out a year.

Justin Propp from Houston writes: This is an angle on the CBA that I haven’t heard much discussion over, but considering that a lockout seems imminent, what happens to the chances of teams with new head coaches starting in a potentially huge(r) hole? I can’t help but think that coaches on the fence might be getting another year because a mediocre coach that knows the players is better than a new coach, whoever that might be, that maybe gets a chance to work with a team for only weeks prior to opening day.

PK: Absolutely, if there are missed OTAs, if free agency is after the draft and condensed, the good teams with stability have a better chance to stay good and the teams trying to get better will have a harder time with quick turnarounds.

Thanks for the mail. Before anyone sends a note complaining about the content of this entry, send a note with a question about your team. Cheers.