Wednesday, November 7, 2012
How Munchak actually gets an extension
By Paul Kuharsky
The widespread presumption regarding the Titans coaches after Bud Adams blasted their work is that change will come.
It’s possible the owner could force coach Mike Munchak to make a move with a coordinator after Sunday’s game in Miami against the Dolphins, though I would be surprised.
After the season, it’s possible the team could part with one or both coordinators -- Jerry Gray on defense and Chris Palmer on offense.
Defenders have not gotten better under Gray. Several offensive players don’t appear to have good relationships with Palmer or believe enough in what he’s doing.
Unless the rest of the season is a real dumpster fire, it would be really tough for Adams to fire Munchak after just two seasons. Munchak's a longtime player and coach for Adams' franchise, and one bad season in the top coaching job shouldn't wash away affection built up over nearly three decades.
Munchak is a loyal guy, who was a longtime assistant to a loyal guy. Munchak’s also a smart guy, and maybe he will realize himself or agree he needs an upgrade or two.
I wonder how much resistance Munchak will offer if Adams demands change.
It’s not as if he chose Gray and Palmer in ideal circumstances.
But he probably wouldn’t be choosing their replacements in ideal circumstances.
When he took over for Jeff Fisher in 2011, Munchak signed a three-year contract.
NFL coaches rarely go into a season as a lame duck. I don’t buy that it’s a terrible thing. I think it’s OK to ask a coach to prove himself in order to secure a new contract. The issue is his assistants.
Munchak isn’t going to draw better coordinators if he’s only got one-year deals to offer them. The team isn’t going to give assistants longer deals than the head coach has.
And so what do you do?
You extend the head coach, even if you’re not sure he’s your long-term answer. You hope you can do so saying he had a good final seven games in 2012 after the owner demanded improvements.
But even a good finish won’t mean it wasn’t a bad season.
Out of a bad season that may get his coordinators fired, Munchak may wind up with increased job security.