Tennessee Titans: Mike Munchak

"Monday Night Football" is not the showcase it once was. The NFL’s top prime-time game of the week now comes Sunday night.

Though the matchups aren't always great, the audience is.

It wouldn’t have been objectionable if the Titans weren't slated to make a MNF appearance in 2014. They are coming off a 7-9 season and they have minimal star power.

Offensive linemen are rarely the big storyline, and Hall of Famer Mike Munchak is a low-key, low-profile guy.

But he’ll get plenty of attention for the Titans-Steelers game on Monday, Nov. 17.

He spent 32 years with the Oilers/Titans franchise as a player and coach, and was the team’s head coach from 2011-13.

Now he’s set to return and roam the visitor's sideline wearing black and gold as Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach.

It will be the third time in six years that the teams play in prime time. In 2009, Titans at Steelers was the NFL opener, a 13-10 overtime loss for Tennessee. In 2012, the Titans won a Thursday night game against the Steelers at LP Field, 26-23.

It's also a game for Munchak's replacement as Titans head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, against a team he spent 2001-06 with as an assistant coach.

New coach means new culture in NFL

February, 20, 2014
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Ken WhisenhuntFrederick Breedon/Getty ImagesTennessee Titans players can expect to see changes on and off the field under coach Ken Whisenhunt.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Munchak's sloganeering reminder was in big, bold letters on the wall near the door from the Tennessee Titans' locker room to the practice field.

“BE A PRO.”

Ken Whisenhunt certainly wants his players to be pros. But as the Titans' new coach sets a culture change in motion, even cosmetic alterations are underway just a month into his tenure.

The hallway sign is gone.

“Culture change” is a buzz phrase that bounces off the walls at every team facility where a new head coach takes control. It's about the coach's message and themes, setting new expectations, outlining how the coach expects the team to achieve its goals and getting players to buy in.

And it trickles all the way down to things like what's written on the walls.

“There are certain things that you do because you want the players to know when they come in, it's different -- when you get a chance with them and you're on the field and your routine changes and you make it clear it's different,” Whisenhunt said. “But there are things you do in the building that hopefully will get their attention. You put thought into it. ...

“You do want the players to know it is different. Because expectations are going to be different, at least from our coaching staff and how we put that message across to our players. Hopefully that'll show up on the field.”

After the parameters are outlined, the biggest element of NFL culture change is about the people.

Ryan Grigson is heading into his third season as general manager of the Colts. He was NFL executive of the year in 2012, when he helped craft a roster that turned a 2-14 team into an 11-5 playoff entrant.

Posluszny Guys want a positive presence and they want consistency.

-- Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny
As he and coach Chuck Pagano revamped Indianapolis -- a job made far easier by hitting the Andrew Luck jackpot -- they considered personality as much as play in some evaluations.

“I think in order to change it, you first and foremost need to identify who is and who isn't all-in,” Grigson said. “That's everyone in the building. To stay true to the message you're implementing, you may be forced to cut ties with some guys you really wish you didn't have to, because they may have the talent you are in dire need of. But in the big picture, it just doesn't pay to have cancers around to hinder or slow your overall progress. You need guys to buy in from top to bottom.”

As they assessed their roster, the Colts were wary of “independent contractors” and the sort of message that can create them. Players don't follow hollow talk, Grigson said, and have good sensors for what's genuine.

That certainly was the case last season in Jacksonville.

Coach Gus Bradley inherited a 2-14 team. His energy was contagious and his message was consistent. He didn't talk about winning; he talked about competition and improvement. If his team and each guy on it could just get a little bit better every day, they would be on track for long-term success.

It sounds simple and cliché. But middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said it worked. Even when the Jaguars got to the midpoint of their season at 0-8, they weren't drifting or doubting Bradley's message.

Posluszny has been part of four culture-changing situations. He was with the Bills when Perry Fewell became interim coach during the 2009 season and when Chan Gailey took over in 2010. He was in Jacksonville when Mel Tucker took over for Jack Del Rio in 2011, for Mike Mularkey's entrance in 2012 and for the start of Bradley's term in 2013.

“What guys have responded to the best that I've been around, Coach Bradley has, and that's just a very positive message,” Posluszny said. “He comes out and he's very truthful and he says, ‘I want to maximize the potential of everybody in this room. I want to do my best to have everybody play at their best possible level.’ He doesn't vary from that. He doesn't change. When we started off awful and we're 0-8, there was no variation from that.

“Guys want a positive presence and they want consistency.”

If they don't get it and the results aren't showing up, there is nothing to fall back on. Guys start to question the leadership and things can come apart quickly. Under other coaches, Posluszny remembers locker room talk that included lines like, “I don't know where the head man is coming from” and “The message is not getting across.”

How much different can one changed culture be from the next?

Posluszny said that with the Bills, Gailey consistently talked of sacks and turnovers for both sides of the ball. Good results in those departments would correlate to winning. The Bills were reminded of the team's stats in those categories and where they ranked.

In Jacksonville, Bradley hasn't talked about a single number, stat or rank.

“Never,” Posluszny said.

[+] EnlargeMichael Griffin
AP Photo/Wade PayneTitans safety Michael Griffin: "Everybody is a little shook up and I think that's a good thing. Because that's going to probably get the best out of everybody."
Whisenhunt and his staff can tell a lot about their players from film and they've already done a lot of evaluating. They will get an additional layer of information when they are able to get a sense of players' personalities.

After weeks holed up at the team facility, the coaches have now emerged to observe workouts and talk to players at the NFL scouting combine.

Odds are, as they talk to prospects, they'll be asking the same question Grigson considers as part of his evaluations.

“With so much turnover every year, you're not only trying to find scheme fits but also trying to determine with your head coach, Is this guy one of us?” Grigson said. “You may love him off the film. But on the free-agent visit or the combine interview you may be completely turned off.”

Whisenhunt doesn't intend for his culture change to include ruling by fear.

But every player on the Titans feels some degree of uncertainty right now. The offseason program doesn't start until April 7. They may stop by to meet their new bosses and get some sense of how things will be. They may read everything the team is saying.

Until they get playbooks and until they get on the grass for OTAs and training camp, however, there is a lot they simply can't know.

“You're always uncomfortable with the unknown,” Whisenhunt said. “A big part of this game is about routines and knowing what it's going to be like. Knowing what practice is going to be like, knowing what the expectations are going to be like. When that changes, it is uncomfortable a little bit, but that's a good thing.”

Everyone gets a fresh start, everyone has to compete and everyone will know, Whisenhunt said, that if he doesn't buy in, he won't be on the team or he won't play.

Free safety Michael Griffin has visited with Whisenhunt and some of the staff. Brief hellos and chitchat can't answer all the questions he and his teammates will have.

“Right now I think a lot of players are uncomfortable,” Griffin said. “This coaching staff has nothing to do with the old coaching staff. ... It's kind of scary, it's a shake-up and everybody is kind of curious and wondering what's going to happen. ...

“Everybody is a little shook up and I think that's a good thing. Because that's going to probably get the best out of everybody. You've got to prove yourself all over again.”

NFLN survey/popular coach: Titans

January, 28, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –- Of 320 players who talked to ESPN.com for an anonymous survey, one player listed Mike Munchak as the head coach they’d most like to play for.

I’m going to guess that vote came from an offensive lineman.

Munchak was subsequently fired and the Titans replaced him with Ken Whisenhunt.

Having a bad year and getting fired didn’t eliminate Munchak or other coaches who would be fired for getting votes here.

Gary Kubiak didn’t make it through the season and he got nine votes. Jim Schwartz and Mike Shanahan each got three. Leslie Frazier got one.

Pete Carroll was the big winner with 22.5 percent of the vote followed by Mike Tomlin (13.8), John Fox (7.8), Rex Ryan (7.2), Bill Belichick (6.9), Andy Reid (6.9) and Sean Payton (6.6).

I don’t think we’ll be doing this same exact survey in a year, but if we did it would be interesting to see how many votes Whisenhunt would get.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A guy changing cities and logos ceased to be a big deal a long time ago in professional sports.

Munchak
Which makes a guy like Mike Munchak unique.

For 31 years as a player and coach, he’s worn blue and white, an oil derrick and a fireball T. Fired after three years as head coach of the Tennessee Titans, he was on the market for the first time since he was a first-round choice by the Houston Oilers when he was coming out of Penn State.

The No. 1 rival for his teams while he played was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now Munchak is becoming a member of the Steelers’ coaching staff. Soon, the Scranton, Penn., native will be wearing black and gold and Pittsburgh’s steelmark.

Munchak interviewed for three head coaching posts -- with his alma mater Penn State and in Detroit and Cleveland. Penn State hired James Franklin, the Lions hired Jim Caldwell and the Browns remain open. Munchak also interviewed for the offensive line post with the Houston Texans, and presumably had an offer to join Bill O’Brien’s staff but chose Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.

Pittsburgh gets itself a Pro Football Hall of Famer, a solid citizen and a quality line coach who should help enhance protection for Ben Roethlisberger and create run room for Le’Veon Bell.

The Titans didn’t get great line play during Munchak’s three years in charge.

But for a long stretch before that he was one of the NFL’s best line coaches. He developed mid- and late-round picks into productive players. That list included David Stewart, Jacob Bell, Justin Hartwig, Zach Piller, Benji Olson and Kevin Long.

In 2005, when the Titans were ready to dedicate a high pick to the tackle spot, he helped identify second-rounder Michael Roos, who has had a very solid career protecting the blind side of Titans quarterbacks.

The move means Munchak will be relocating to the Pittsburgh area. But he’ll be back before too long. The Titans host the Steelers in 2014.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Maybe behind the scenes, Mike Munchak and the Titans organization gave Jerry Gray the business for foolish things he did while he was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator the last three seasons.

Publicly, they were supportive and loyal to a guy who defaulted to an overly passive defense and who needed to be propped up in his third year by Gregg Williams.

Gray
Gray made at least two public comments that were thoughtless and resulted in fines he didn’t feel were his fault -- one about how his defense should deliver hits that required a cart to take the victims off the field and another on the sideline near the end of a game about officials qualifying as three blind mice.

The fines that resulted were, of course, the fault of those that reported it, not the guy who said it.

It was incongruous with Munchak’s pledge that every member of the Titans should “be a pro,” know his job, do his job and be accountable.

Gray should have been told by his bosses that insulting officials isn’t a great idea and to be smarter. Perhaps he was. But to protect him from himself the Titans also changed a policy, limiting who could be on the sideline for the final two minutes of the game. Call it the Jerry Gray rule.

Monday in Mobile, Ala., John Glennon of The Tennessean ran into Gray.



Mike Munchak is a loyal guy. Had he hired a better coordinator, or cut ties with the only one he hired, the former Titans head coach might still have his job.

If Munchak and the Titans don’t read that line from Gray and think, “WE wish we cut HIM out of OUR lives” a year or two before his contract ran out, they’ve got tremendous restraint.

RTC: Interview permissions

January, 16, 2014
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Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...
  • The Titans got permission to talk to Chargers tight end Jason Michael about their offensive coordinator post and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton about their defensive coordinator job, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
  • Wyatt's rundown of what happened with Mike Munchak's staff. Kendall Wright is pleased receivers coach Shawn Jefferson is back.
  • Early mock draft names in a survey from John Glennon of The Tennessean.
  • Ken Whisenhunt sat down with Mike Keith for this video at the team web site.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans are paying Ken Whisenhunt $1 million more a season than the Detroit Lions offered him.

ESPN’s Ed Werder has even more details of why Whisenhunt chose to sign on as Tennessee’s new coach.

Part of it was that the team was "overly aggressive'' financially in the words of a source familiar with the negotiations. League sources told Werder the deal is longer than the typical four years and fully guaranteed. Coaching deals are generally guaranteed, so the choice of words suggested this one may include no offsets. That would allow a fired Whisenhunt to work elsewhere and collect his salary from the Titans in addition to getting paid by a new employer.

I have confirmed that is the case and that the coach the Titans recently fired, Mike Munchak, does have offset language in his contract.

The Titans will pay Munchak $3 million for 2014. But if he gets the top job in Cleveland or coaches the offensive line for Houston, Tennessee would only be on the hook for the difference between the $3 million and his new salary.

ESPN’s John Clayton tells me no offset language like Whisenhunt got in "very rare" in a coach's contract.

More on Whisenhunt per Werder’s sources:

As Whisenhunt said at his introductory press conference, he was impressed with general manager Ruston Webster and sees him as a partner in building the team. Whisenhunt is also convinced he will have more influence and control then he ever would have had with the Lions or Browns.

While Whisenhunt was impressed with the Lions roster of players, closer inspection prompted questions about whether he could build a talented and deep team with three players – quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamakung Suh -- commanding such a high percentage of the salary cap.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans auditorium has never been as full as it was for Ken Whisenhunt's introductory press conference.

He was what a team wants on this day: Cool, comfortable, conversational.

When it was over, the building was filed with renewed hope, just as it is after every coaching hire and introduction in the NFL.

[+] EnlargeTennessee's Ken Whisenhunt
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyNew Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said he will be evaluating his new players over the coming weeks and months.
It marks an organizational reset, and buys the Titans the same thing for someone like me that it should buy with its fan base.

A clean slate that comes with a fresh start and time to show us who he is, what he will be, how the staff he hires will convey his messages and teach, who he will choose to play and how they will perform for him.

Like a lot of people, I'm anxious to see what he brings.

But while he offered a much more presidential feel in his first press conference than Mike Munchak typically did, Whisenhunt didn't say a great deal.

Most of the questions he got, he'll get again, until he's had time to do the work to have more of an answer.

He deferred on opinions regarding quarterback Jake Locker and running back Chris Johnson and most specifics regarding what he's inheriting.

“We just got finished with our season two days ago," he said of the San Diego Chargers for whom he was offensive coordinator. "It's been a whirlwind. There is a lot of time that goes into that especially when you get into the playoffs. So I really haven't had a chance to study that.

"That's going to be a big thing over the next weeks and months, as far as evaluating out players and how they fit in. The one thing I'll say is, I liked Jake coming out. And one of the things that I think we've done a good job with in the places I've been is putting them in positions to be successful. And that's what our goal is to be here.”

I don't fault Whisenhunt for not having a more thorough answer. Ideally, a candidate has had time to study the roster and the tape and can tell a team his vision for important people and pieces.

Whisenhunt was busy with the Chargers' playoff run, though, and he was simultaneously a hot commodity in the coaching market.

The Titans didn't hire him because of his specific plan for Locker or Johnson or anyone.

They hired him because they believe he will craft a plan that maximizes those players and anyone else he inherits, as well as those he helps bring in.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Munchak wasn’t expecting to get another head coaching job after the Tennessee Titans fired him.

But after interviewing with the Detroit Lions last week he’s interviewing with the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

SportsNation

What category would you pick the Titans' next head coach from?

  •  
    54%
  •  
    38%
  •  
    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 552)

I think it’s unlikely he gets either job, but it’s impressive he got the interviews.

It seems to me something Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said may be at play here. McNair’s research showed that only about 40 percent of coordinators without head coaching experience pan out as NFL head coaches.

That’s what lends to the candidacy of Ken Whisenhunt, who took the anemic Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl during his time as their head coach. And it’s helping guys like Jim Caldwell, who was interviewed by the Titans, and Munchak.

There is no formula that works, here obviously. You need thorough interviews, a smart gut and a sprinkle of good fortune in hiring the right coach.

What direction would you go? A fresh coordinator with upside but no head coaching experience? A guy who may not have had long-term success but knows what being a head coach is about? Or a guy from college?

Please vote in the poll.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the Titans' next head coach, he might not be able to accept the post until Feb. 3.

No current coach in the NFL has been hired so late.

Only four have been hired on Jan. 20 or later: Joe Philbin was hired by the Dolphins on Jan. 20, 2012; Mike Tomlin was hired by the Steelers on Jan. 22, 2007; Mike Smith was hired by Atlanta on Jan, 23, 2008; Chuck Pagano was hired by the Colts on Jan. 25, 2012.

The last time the Titans were hiring, they took far too long to make a decision on Jeff Fisher.

They fired him on Jan. 27, 2011, and didn’t elevate Mike Munchak until Feb. 7. That set up Munchak with a bad situation for putting together a staff since his was the final NFL staff assembled.

The Titans’ decision on firing Munchak was not nearly as late as it was on Fisher. They parted ways with Munchak on Jan. 4.

But the six-day wait from the end of the season did cost the Titans a chance to interview replacement candidate from the four teams with bye weeks -- Seattle and Carolina, Denver and New England.

NFL rules are different for assistants on teams with byes.

If a team searching for a coach from one of those teams interviews him during the bye week, that team can have a second interview with him during the down week after the championship games.

Quinn talked to Cleveland and Minnesota during that bye week, and will be able to talk to them again the week of Jan. 20 if Seattle has advanced to the Super Bowl.

The Titans did not talk to Quinn during that weekend, which means they cannot talk to him until the Seahawks' season is complete.

If he’s the top target for Tennessee, the Titans are 49ers fans hoping that San Francisco wins the NFC and Quinn becomes free to talk to anyone on Jan. 20.

Would the Titans wait two weeks longer?

I’d expect Quinn will be far more prepared than Munchak was in terms of having guys lined up for his staff, so a February hire might be less of an issue than it was last time. (Mike Mularkey was quickly reported to be the likely offensive coordinator for Quinn as a head coach. I've since heard if it's not Mularkey it could be Kyle Shanahan.)

Webster and Quinn, who worked together in Seattle in 2009, could have some sort of backchannel communication that could offer the Titans assurances he'll take the job.

It’s not ideal. But if he’s the right guy, then a long stretch as a good head coach will more than offset a couple-week wait for him to get started.

If Quinn is the direction the Titans are heading, they need the Vikings and Browns to hire someone else before he is officially free.

Erase the chance he could go somewhere else and Tennessee’s confidence about waiting could skyrocket.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Plenty of readers are asking those of us close to the Tennessee Titans questions like, “Who’s on the top of the list” and “Who’s the front runner?”

As Ruston Webster completes the first round of interviews for Tennessee’s next head coach in San Diego with Ken Whisenhunt Friday, there are not known answers to either of those questions.

From what I know of the measured, low-key Webster, I doubt he’s got a solid front-runner in his head before completing interviews.

If he’s thinking “Mike Zimmer is my front runner,” how does that help him as he interviews Whisenhunt?

It doesn’t.

Perhaps as Webster returns from San Diego he’ll stack Zimmer, Whisenhunt and Jim Caldwell in his head. (Jay Gruden became Washington's head coach since he interviewed with the Titans.)

Perhaps he’ll be more focused on setting up a second round of interviews. He will have interviewed four guys. I expect he will want to look at more than that.

Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is a name that surfaced quickly after Mike Munchak was fired. Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia has a tie to Webster, as well. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is another potential candidate.

Webster could also be looking at a college coach, and the Titans would likely work to keep such a meeting quiet. College coaches can hurt themselves in recruiting by interviewing for an NFL job and not getting it.

Who’s at the top of the list? Who’s the frontrunner?

If someone’s atop the list, if someone qualifies as the frontrunner, it’s highly unlikely an outsider will know. The front office group that knows how interviews went may be only Webster and his boss, president and CEO Tommy Smith, who's reportedly participated some by phone.

Be skeptical if you hear a pronouncement. The odds will be that it comes from the agent of the candidate being touted as the frontrunner.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Munchak could be at work in LP Field again in 2014 -- as a visiting assistant coach with Houston.

Munchak
His Hall of Fame playing career unfolded with the Houston Oilers. After that he joined the coaching staff and stayed on as the team's offensive line coach when the Oilers relocated to Tennessee and became the Titans.

He was elevated to head coach in 2011 and fired after three seasons last week.

He interviewed with Penn State for the head coaching job at his alma mater and with the Detroit Lions for a head coaching vacancy.

Now new Texans coach Bill O'Brien is set to interview Munchak for the offensive line coach job in Houston, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

McClain said last week on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville he expected O'Brien to hire Brian Ferentz, but no such move has been announced.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

The Titans talked a ton about how close they were in 2013. So John Glennon of The Tennessean goes position-by-position to see how they are trending.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance is a big fan of Jim Caldwell, who interviewed with the Titans on Wednesday, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Caldwell believes there are six pillars of effective leadership, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

The way Mike Munchak’s firing went down reminded us that coaches are people with real-life issues, says Don Banks of The MMQB.

You can really have some fun and kill much of your workday playing with this. Cut and re-sign players to see their impact on the Titans’ salary cap, thanks to Over the Cap.

The Titans signed three players to futures contracts, says Glennon.

It’s hard to pick a rookie of the year for the Titans, says Tom Gower of Total Titans.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Johnson tells Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that if the Titans used him more, they’d get what they are paying for.

In so doing, he creates a chicken-or-egg argument.

Johnson
CJ says if he got more carries, he’d fare better.

I say if he fared better with the carries he got, he’d get more carries.

Johnson pointed to the workload for players like Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, Chicago’s Matt Forte and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.

“I give those guys credit, but those guys are being used differently. You don’t put a back of that caliber on the sideline. There were a lot of games where I would get my momentum going, and I’d get the hot hand, and then the next series I am on the sideline getting cold, and I didn’t like that,” Johnson said. “Of course I was frustrated with how they used me. But I am not the type of person who’s going to complain during the season. I am going to make the best of the situation.

“I have to be fed. A lot of games I started getting hot and they took me out. I know a lot of people say I didn’t have any home runs this year. Well, those runs don’t come easy. They come once you keep getting the ball.”

But with 259 carries this past season, Charles actually had fewer than Johnson, who had 279. McCoy had 35 more carries than Johnson, Forte 10 more and Peterson the same.

Among backs with more than 250 carries in 2013, only Johnson failed to average at least 4.1 yards a carry. Johnson averaged 3.9.

Johnson’s work in 2011 and 2012 prompted the team to change course with him and move away from him as a workhorse back. While he made $10 million in 2013, the team added free agent Shonn Greene.

Greene was to be the key in short-yardage and goal-line situations. But on 22 carries where Johnson needed 1 or 2 yards for a first down, Johnson converted 16 times -- 72.7 percent.

New president and CEO Tommy Smith said during the season the Titans need to use Johnson better.

Mike Munchak’s successor will have a say in what the Titans do with Johnson. But CJ previously told Wyatt he would not accept a pay cut.

The running back isn't pushing for a trade and expressed no hard feelings toward Munchak or outgoing offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.

“I feel like if they are not going to use me the way I am supposed to be used and let me be the horse, then I would rather them let me move on. Their money would be wasted on me,” Johnson said. “I feel like if they are not going to use me right, let somebody get me that’s going to use me the right way.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Offensive continuity was a primary issue for Mike Munchak as he decided he couldn’t stay on as head coach of the Tennessee Titans given the conditions his bosses set forth for him.

Among the coaches Munchak was asked to part with was offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Loggains seemed like a line in the sand for Munchak, who didn’t think the offense or quarterback Jake Locker would be well served by a third coordinator in four season.

He spoke on The Wake Up Zone in Nashville Tuesday morning.

“I think it’s a disruption,” Munchak said to a general question about his differences with team brass. “I think you want continuity to some degree.”

Munchak spoke of how he already reshaped his coaching staff a year ago. Loggains took over as offensive coordinator with five games remaining in 2012. Shawn Jefferson took over receivers, Sylvester Croom took over running backs and George Henshaw took over tight ends after the 2012 season while Dave Ragone moved from receivers to quarterbacks.

“Last year we put a lot of time and effort into reshaping the offensive side of the coaching staff,” Munchak said. “When you reshape something, it’s for a lot of reasons. It’s getting the right people working together. You’re taking the noise out of the building as far as the coaching noise as far as guys not agreeing. I thought we had a good group of guys that were all going the right direction. ...

“Certain things were working. When you start making changes, it affects what coaches come and go, it affects your relationships with the players, it changes the progress of what you have already going on in a lot of areas. That’s my thinking. If the change was necessary, there is no doubt I would have done it.”

Losing Locker hurt, of course. But even given some allowance for operating without their starting quarterback, the lack of overall progress on offense that translated into more wins was something for which Munchak couldn’t sufficiently answer.

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