Tennessee Titans: Shonn Greene

A guy has to be rated to be overrated, which makes sorting through overrated guys a very subjective and dangerous exercise.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports rates Tennessee Titans tackle Michael Oher as the most overrated member of the team.

SportsNation

Who is the most overrated Tennessee Titan?

  •  
    23%
  •  
    32%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    25%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,272)

The case for Oher: Some scouts and evaluators feel his game was best when he was a rookie in Baltimore and gradually faded, and the Titans went and handed him a four-year, $20 million contract. They do have an out after one year and $6 million.

So who else is a candidate?

Running back Shonn Greene was 2013’s Oher, a debatable signing that got more money than he seemed to be worth: $10 million for three years. He can be good in short-yardage situations, but as the running back market was starting to fade the Titans jumped out and gave a limited guy a lot. His knee injury limited him in his first season.

Defensive tackle Sammie Hill wasn’t as big an impact guy as the Titans had to be expecting when they signed him in 2013 to a three-year deal worth over $11 million. He was an element of the team's push to get bigger and stop the run better. He's not working as a nose tackle in the new 3-4.

Outside linebacker Akeem Ayers has dealt with some injuries in his first three years. The old coaching staff never had a great feel for how to use the 2011 second-round pick. He should be better suited to the 3-4, but he’s going to have to rush better and play better in space when he’s asked to.

Free safety Michael Griffin was better in 2013 than he had been the few years before. I often say he needs to be surrounded by talent to be good, and he asks me who is that not the case for? But a guy with his contract -- he’s in year three of a five-year, $35 million deal -- should be a guy making others better, not needing others to help make him better.
On a team with plenty of question marks, perhaps only quarterback Jake Locker ranks as a bigger name than running back Shonn Greene.

The Titans were hard hit with criticism a year ago for giving the lumbering Greene a three-year, $10 million deal with $4.5 million guaranteed. Some of it was from me.

[+] EnlargeShonn Greene
Mark Zaleski/AP PhotoThe Titans are counting on RB Shonn Greene to contribute from the backfield in 2014.
They viewed Greene as a great complementary back to Chris Johnson, with CJ as the home-run hitter and Greene a capable short-yardage guy. And they knew they were probably a year away from parting with Johnson.

Even a year ago, Greene’s new deal ranked as a big contract for a running back lacking any super-special quality. And given the free-agent market for running backs in 2014, it looks even worse now.

Greene hurt a knee in the opener, missed five games, was never himself and contributed very little in his first season with the team. He’s had offseason surgery on the same knee and is out until camp.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week Greene should be in good position come camp, ready to put the injury behind him and take his share of reps to contribute.

If that’s the case, he’ll get more touches in some games over others, depending on matchups and game plans.

Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster figure prominently -- probably more prominently -- in the backfield.

Greene can be a valuable piece if he’s able to extend drives with short-yardage conversions while helping save the other two guys from the punishment that comes with those sorts of runs up the gut.

This offensive line should be better at blocking for the needed yard and he’s got a good history of getting it when the Jets were very good at helping create the space. (The Titans had no faith in their ability to do so last year. Remember the end of the Arizona game and the opportunity to convert for 2 points from the 1-yard line to win it? They didn't even consider trying.)

Key conversions that extend key drives may not make him worth the contract, but they will have great value.

If he doesn’t get them, Greene’s deal will almost certainly rank at the bottom of the list for the ones general manager Ruston Webster and his front office have negotiated for free agents who’ve come to Nashville.
In post-draft, spring NFL fantasy football rankings, the Titans have a new top dog.

The collective ESPN rankings have second-round running back Bishop Sankey at No. 68 overall and the 29th-best running back. Matthew Berry also has him as the top Titan, and even higher at 51st overall and the No. 23 running back.

The Titans are going to get carries and touches for three running backs -- Sankey, Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster.

But as they positioned themselves for the draft, they said they wanted to add a guy who can be an every down back for them. Sankey will yield to Greene and McCluster at times and in situations and maybe even as part of some game plans.

But in the end, I expect he will be the guy who winds up with the most total touches out of the three.

Greene, receivers Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter and tight end Delanie Walker all make the top 200 from ESPN and Berry.

Shonn Greene wasn’t a very effective running back for the Tennessee Titans in his first year with the team.

Greene
His three-year, $10 million free-agent contract had been a surprise. Then he hurt his knee in the season opener at Pittsburgh, missed five games and never really got going.

Per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, the knee swelled and became problematic again after the recent voluntary minicamp, and Green has had another scope.

Greene will be out until camp.

Second-round draft pick Bishop Sankey, out of Washington, will also miss organized team activities because NFL rules don't allow a player to participate if his school is still in session.

That means Jackie Battle, Leon Washington and undrafted rookie Antonio Andrew from Western Kentucky will get plenty of chances during 10 OTAs. Tulane’s Orleans Darkwa, who is from Nashville, will get a tryout look at the team’s upcoming rookie minicamp.

Greene remains a curious signing -- his work with the Jets didn’t demand the sort of contract the Titans gave him.

But he’s in a new offense and has two years to prove he's worth it. I don’t know the details of what’s wrong with Greene's knee. But generally speaking, two knee scopes don't equate to death.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

The Titans talked after their first practice of voluntary minicamp, and players expressed all positives about first impressions, writes Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Said coach Ken Whisenhunt: “"They'll find out pretty quick if you can coach or not. These guys have been in football for a while.”

Shonn Greene feels like everyone will have a good chance to contribute out of the new mix in the backfield, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.

Justin Hunter is 15 pounds bigger and feels stronger, writes Glennon.

Practice film tells Whisenhunt what really happened, per David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

Defensive backs rate as a five on a scale of 10 in terms of need for the Titans, says Boclair in his look at the position and the draft.

Receiver is an underrated draft need for the Titans, says Tom Gower of Total Titans.

Dexter McCluster and the Titans were about a fast tempo as the Titans ran their first practice of the offseason, says Craig Peters of the team’s website.
Shonn Greene came to the Tennessee Titans as the No. 2 back, a guy the team intended to use mostly in short yardage situations and as it needed a more powerful guy.

Greene
With Chris Johnson now gone, Greene is at the front of the Titans' running back line, though the Titans are going to make it a committee and the guy with the best chance at the biggest role will probably be a draft pick.

Greene said Friday on SiriusXM NFL Radio he won't be disappointed if he doesn't wind up No. 1 on the depth chart.

"I'm not going to look at who's starting, I'm not getting this time, that time. That's for the coaches to figure out. As for the players, we've got to do what they say and when we're called upon, do our jobs…"

"Nowadays it's not just one back getting the job done, it's done by committee. I take that as a good thing, because it keeps guys fresh, it keeps guys healthy, no one takes a beating like you once did when you had one back, when you used a [work]horse back. So I welcome all those guys on the roster to come help the team out so we can get where we need to be."

As I was around him some last year, Greene stuck me as an especially mild-mannered back. A lot of running backs show at least a hint of an I-need-the-ball attitude, and selfishness in terms of wanting carries isn't automatically a bad thing.

He's doesn't fit that mold, which will help make life easier for that draft pick and for Dexter McCluster.

Greene suffered a knee injury last season in the opener, needed surgery and missed five games. He never really got on track with 77 carries for 295 yards for a 3.8 yard average and four touchdowns.

The Titans expect much more from him in his second go-round.
For his first three years in the NFL, Chris Johnson was one of the most underpaid backs in the NFL. He made about $7.7 million.

For the last three years, he's been more than fairly compensated -- collecting $34 million.

So to those who think life is unfair for Johnson right now, I'd say it's as easy to look at him as fortunate as well as unfortunate.

If Johnson was drafted years earlier, he would have been very well paid. But if he was in the 2014 draft, he would never line up for anything close to $41.7 million in his career.

His career has straddled a seismic shift in the economics for running backs.

ESPN.com's Ashley Fox runs through the harsh realities of that.

It's tough timing for CJ now. He'll likely get a reduced role and a contract with an annual value of $4 million or less. But at least he had six years of the old economics.

Going forward, here's a look at the Titans and running back money:

Titans' running back base-salary cash costs in 2014: Shonn Greene $2.3M, Dexter McCluster $1M, Jackie Battle $855k, draft pick $435k. Total $4.589M.

Titans' running back salary-cap costs in 2014: Greene $3.23M, McCluster $4M, Battle $570k, draft pick $435k + prorated piece of bonus. Total $8.235M + prorated bonus for the rookie.

Titans now know No. 2 and No. 3 RBs

February, 25, 2014
Feb 25
8:31
AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We know who the Titans' No. 2 running back is going to be in 2014. We know who’s in line to be the No. 3 back.

While the question lingers about the future of longtime lead back Chris Johnson because of his pricey contract, the Titans signed Shonn Greene a year ago. And per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, they have agreed to a one-year deal with Jackie Battle, who was the third back and a key special-teamer in 2013.

In the past three years, Battle said he didn’t get a deal until late, so he’s excited to know early on where he is going to be.

He carried the ball more than the team anticipated last season because Greene missed extended time after suffering a knee injury in the opener that required surgery.

Bigger news is to come at the position, of course.

On CJ, Greene and short-yardage

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
4:23
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- While writing this morning about Chris Johnson's comments about the Tennessee Titans not using him properly, the role of Shonn Greene came to mind.

Tennessee signed Greene to a three-year, free-agent deal worth $10 million with $4.5 million guaranteed, and looked to him to be a short-yardage, goal-line back who could take Johnson out of some situations.

Greene got hurt in the opener, needed knee surgery, missed six games and needed a few more to get back close to himself.

Johnson's 3.9-yard average per carry was certainly not worth his $10 million, 2013 salary and it's the primary concern when the team decides whether to keep him at an $8 million salary in 2014.

But he deserves credit for how he did in short-yardage situations in 2013.

Greene had 12 carries where 1 or 2 yards would get the Titans a first down, and he converted nine of them (75 percent.)

Johnson had 22 carries where 1 or 2 yards would get the Titans a first down, and he converted 16 of them (72.7 percent.)

That's better than most of us would have presumed, I suspect. It's the second-best percentage Johnson has produced in such situations in his six-year career, trailing only his 90 percent in 2011.

Can a draft pick match CJ's production?

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
11:29
AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Prevailing wisdom says investing big dollars or a high pick in a running back is folly.

I tend to latch on to that, and that’s part of the strong case against the Tennessee Titans' keeping Chris Johnson at an $8 million salary in 2014.

Shonn Greene hardly impressed in his first year, but I’ve been one of many who has said that if you paired him with a mid-round draft pick, the team should be just fine at the position.

But Johnson hasn’t missed a game and has rarely missed a practice in his six seasons in Tennessee. That durability is a very valuable trait. And Johnson's team has a poor record drafting running backs.

Just two of those guys other than Johnson produced in a significant way: LenDale White (who always had fitness issues) and Chris Brown (who always had health issues).

The others were all guys who didn’t pan out into a viable option for a role on offense. The Titans will need to do far, far better than Chris Henry or Jamie Harper if they are drafting a guy who’s expected to work in tandem with Greene in a post-CJ backfield. (Though Henry, an absolute bust, averaged 3.8 yards per carry on 32 handoffs that went his way. Johnson averaged 3.9 this season.)

Another significant point to consider in this conversation: The teams in the playoff field are not centered on low-round backs or undrafted free agents in their backfield.

Of the 12 post-season entries, half have at least one first round running back.

Ten of the dozen teams have a first- or second-round back.

And all the playoff teams have at least a third rounder in the backfield.

Indianapolis and Carolina really emphasize the position, with two first-round running backs. Kansas City and San Francisco have spent the least draft capital on backs. The Chiefs have two third-round backs, and the 49ers have a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder.

Yes, there are a lot of good backs in the NFL without tremendous pedigrees. For this year, teams with those guys are finished playing.

The case for and (more) against Munchak

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
12:30
PM ET
Mike MunchakJim Brown/USA TODAY SportsMike Munchak has a .091 winning percentage versus teams finishing the season with winning records.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Monday the Titans begin the process of deciding what to do with Mike Munchak, who’s under contract for one more year as head coach.

Let’s set aside all the predictions and expectations.

We know very little about how team president and CEO Tommy Smith will operate in his new role and how he will balance his family’s long-term relationship with Munchak against the results he’s produced as a head coach. We don’t know if Munchak has the backing of general manager Ruston Webster going forward.

We do know what goes into the case for him and the case against him. So let’s examine those and then delve into things I consider significant issues where I don’t see a clear counterargument in his favor:

For: The Titans are on the verge. They’ve lost six one-possession games this season. Make the jump in just half of those and they could be a 10-win playoff team.

Against: They are unable to finish games, and there is no reason to expect they find it all of a sudden under the same leadership.

For: The division is bad and there is room to get better in a hurry against rebuilding Houston and Jacksonville.

Against: The Titans are 3-8 in the division in the past two seasons and 1-4 this year heading into the finale against Houston. Tennessee lost to the Texans and Jaguars this year when it should be sweeping those teams when they are having down years. That’s the path to actually competing for the division.

For: This roster has stood firmly with Munchak. There has been no dissension. They haven’t quit on him and have been playing hard to the end. His message is working. They work hard to execute what is asked of them.

Against: Having a roster of guys committed to following a coach who’s not doing a good job is nice, but if he’s not doing a good job it doesn’t matter as much. What is asked of them isn’t right often enough. This team’s in-game adjustment to what opponents do is typically poor.

For: Smith has pledged another big offseason, and the Titans will create a spring and summer buzz much like last year’s, when they spent over $100 million on free agents and had the 10th pick in the draft.

Against: The fan base is angry and/or apathetic. The tickets are bought, in part because so many people are financially committed with PSLs. But that hasn’t meant they have showed up. A new coach and staff will also have a free-agent class and draft and that will do a lot more to get Nashville interested.

For: Though they were overmatched, the Titans stood toe-to-toe for a good while with some of the NFL’s best -- Seattle and Denver. They lost twice to the AFC South champion Colts by a combined 11 points.

Against: Munchak is 2-20 -- not a misprint -- against teams that finish the season with a winning record. Whether they are close to the caliber of those teams or not, that is a .091 winning percentage against winning teams. How can Smith endorse that?

For: They could be one player away, and we’ve seen them make a big addition and a big jump before.

Against: The odds of landing Jevon Kearse are small, and the 1998 Tennessee Oilers had more pieces in place than the 2013 Titans do.

For: They’ll move away from Chris Johnson and by doing so they’ll be in line to have the run game they expected this year. This offensive line needed time to jell. In 2014, Shonn Greene and a mid-round draft pick will be more effective.

[+] EnlargeChris Johnson
Don McPeak/USA TODAY SportsMike Munchak wanted the Titans to be a run-first team but inconsistency in the run game plagued Tennessee all season.
Against: Three years in and a Hall of Fame offensive lineman as a head coach with a Hall of Fame offensive line coach still haven’t produced a team that can run consistently. How can they possibly say, “We need more time” and get it? How did lines with injuries in Seattle and Miami manage to play well enough to win? They have to replace David Stewart at right tackle, right? Another change positions them for more excuses about needing time to jell.

For: The Titans didn’t have their starting quarterback for nine games this year. Who wins without their starting quarterback? Injuries to Greene and center Brian Schwenke also hurt.

Against: It would be a good argument if Jake Locker was a proven NFL franchise quarterback. He is not and they sold Ryan Fitzpatrick as a top-flight alternative. We know Locker has potential and is injury prone. Pinning hopes on that for 2014 seems dangerous. The Greene and Schwenke injuries should not be regarded as hugely impactful and are on par with the sort of thing every team in the league deals with.

For: He doesn’t care about the peripheral stuff; he’s not going to play the game. He just wants to coach and do things the right way.

Against: Tough for him. A head coach is a CEO and the responsibilities require more. You have to be a PR guy and a marketer. He doesn’t embrace that stuff and it hurts the franchise. You can’t play the “I just want to coach” card until you’ve proven you can win.

A few other things don’t fit as neatly in a for-and-against format and mostly qualify as arguments against his return.

I think it’s very difficult to make a case for him based on his work in the division, his record against winning teams and his inability to explain what’s wrong.

Warped thinking: Munchak endorsed a foolish onside kick approach with an unconventional, tee-less spinner that kicker Rob Bironas clearly did not like. Worse, the coach judged his team to be 1-for-3 with it rather than 0-for-3 because San Francisco bobbled the kick before recovering it. Note to Munchak: Such a kick is judged a success if, and only if, you recover it. We know it’s very difficult to do. We also know it’s ridiculous to deem one a success when the other team comes out with the ball. Lo and behold, the Titans recover a conventional, high-bounce onside kick during a furious comeback against Arizona.

Straying from his philosophy: Over and over Munchak spoke of how the 2013 Titans would be able to get the tough yard on the ground. These Titans were going to throw it when they wanted to, not when they had to. But given a chance to win the Arizona game with 10 seconds left with a two-point conversion play from the 1-yard line after a penalty, he chose overtime. The team he promised shouldn’t have even considered kicking the extra point. In sharing more about his logic a day later, he said the team hadn’t run it in an hour as it played hurry-up to overcome a big deficit. Shouldn’t a team built around the offensive line and backs be able to run for a yard whether they’d been running it or not?

Salesmanship: He’s a better salesman than he is a head coach. In memorializing Bud Adams when he died, he spoke about how he used to walk the hallways of the team’s facility on a Saturday before the game with Adams and Adams’ friends, looking at the pictures of the team’s history and telling stories. It showed me that Munchak was shrewd in how he dealt with the owner, playing right into what the owner liked and taking Adams right where Adams liked to go. It endeared him to his boss and did a lot to make him the choice when the team and Jeff Fisher parted ways. I expect he will do well selling Smith on the plan going forward. But the team gets better by adjusting the plan, not by selling the plan better to a new person at the top of the organization. Old-time Oilers memories should mean nothing now.

Lame duck: His résumé certainly doesn’t warrant an extension. That means he and his staff would be working as lame ducks in 2014. Lame-duck scenarios aren’t typically healthy. They make it hard to attract players and assistants. They make it easy for a team to tune out if and when things don’t go well.

Upon Further Review: Titans Week 16

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
8:00
AM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An examination of four hot issues from the Tennessee Titans' 20-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

Munchak
Injury talk: A year ago the Titans suffered a slew of injuries on the offensive line, and it was often difficult for them to field a functional group. That’s a bad scenario, suffering multiple serious injuries at the same position. Otherwise, you’re like most other teams. Mike Munchak continues to talk as if the Week 1 knee injury to running back Shonn Greene was season-altering. It’s great that Greene is feeling good and making a contribution, but losing him for a stretch and then not having him at 100 percent shouldn’t have had such a big bearing on this team. Losing quarterback Jake Locker was big, of course. But otherwise the Titans have had a pretty healthy season. Yes, Brian Schwenke’s ankle injury has lessened the rookie center’s game. But the idea that the line hasn’t had sufficient time to jell because of dings is way overstated. Injured/altered lines in Seattle and Miami have functioned well enough, no? There are banged-up guys on the rosters of all the teams the Titans are playing, too. Munchak looks primed to oversell injuries as part of the reason his team hasn’t lived up to his promise of not disappointing fans this season. Tommy Smith and Ruston Webster shouldn’t put too much stock into that. And Munchak shouldn’t expect perfect health if he’s coach in 2014.

Reinforcement: Here’s hoping a successful game against a bad team doesn’t do much to prompt ownership to buy in to antiquated thinking where the Titans continue to want to be predominantly a run team. There is a place for the running game and dangerous backs. But Tennessee has overemphasized it with limited success, and running against a bunch of Jaguars backups shouldn’t fuel the continued dedication to the approach in a passing, quarterback league. The Titans need to focus on quarterback above all else, not further commit to the desire to throw it when they want to as opposed to when they need to.

Shuffling backers: In the two previous games, the Titans gave a large share of the weakside linebacker work to rookie Zaviar Gooden. Sunday he was inactive. Munchak said the team decided to sacrifice a linebacker for an extra receiver as they thought the heat would have a bearing on the wideouts. They also wanted to see Colin McCarthy play the weak side. That’s fine. But it looks like they are having trouble making up their minds about who their best guys are. And that’s a significant problem in Week 16.

Confusing use: I’m a giant believer in maximizing threatening weapons. Jackie Battle is the Titans’ third running back for a reason, and he’s not at all threatening as a pass-catcher. Maybe give him some snaps in passing situations to lessen the pass-protecting responsibilities of Chris Johnson, who’s pretty good at picking up rushers. He’s playing too much, and against the Jaguars, he was splitting out wide in empty formations. I didn’t get to talk to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains after this game, but I certainly will ask him soon what makes Battle in a receiver position a good idea.

Near end, big moment for Chris Johnson

December, 22, 2013
12/22/13
6:52
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cost versus production is an equation that's up for constant debate when it comes to Titans running back Chris Johnson.

He's getting paid $10 million this season for 3.8 yards a carry. A guy known as CJ2K after running for 2,006 yards in 2009 needs 53 in the season finale against Houston at LP Field to finish 2013 with just half that total.

Johnson
A breakaway back has a long run of 30 yards and hardly ever breaks a tackle. Due $8 million next season, he could be heading into his last game with Tennessee.

But Sunday at a key moment against a bad run defense, he flashed back to far better days.

With 3:01 remaining in the game and the Titans looking to hold on to their 4-point lead, the Titans faced third-and-4 from their 23 yard-line. Out of shotgun, Ryan Fitzpatrick handed off to Johnson, who chugged and spun angling to the right side of the middle of the field for a 4-yard gain.

The first down put the Titans in position to run an additional 2:08 off the clock and force Jacksonville to burn its final two timeouts, one on a failed challenge of the spot of Johnson's run.

If it wasn't Johnson's best run of the year, it was his second best. His 7-yard touchdown run in Nashville against the Colts on Nov. 14 also featured him taking on a defender and powering through.

Tennessee had run well against the Jaguars, who fielded an injury-weakened defensive front. Shonn Greene has 19 carries for 91 yards and Johnson had 22 for 90 in the first game that really showed what they can do as a tandem.

Receivers including Nate Washington, who had a 117-yard day, were feeling so good about the ground game, they encouraged offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to call a run on the third-and-4.

“It was going to the left and we checked it to go toward the tight end to set up better angles for the offensive linemen,” left tackle Michael Roos said. “He made a great read and just put his head down and got the yards.”

The defense chipped in with three big plays near the end too. Jason McCourty made an excellent tackle of Ace Sanders to keep him short of a first down, and Ropati Pitoitua and Bernard Pollard stopped Maurice Jones-Drew on the subsequent fourth-and-1 try.

Later, safety George Wilson pulled in a one-handed pick of a Chad Henne attempt for Marcedes Lewis to clinch the game.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said the solid defense down the stretch came from everyone doing his job and “no confusion.”

It was a good list of big plays late in a game for a team that's made a habit out of failing to finish.

Whatever happens with Johnson, I bet he'll remember that third-down play and the confidence the coaches showed in calling it.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I think that was a good run third-and-4 and everybody knew it was coming. A guy came flying and I broke the tackle, I dove, fighting and scratching just to get the first down.

“It feels good that they made that call, it felt good that they gave me the ball and put the trust in me to get the first down.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If the Titans had gone for two with 10 seconds left in regulation Sunday, they would have passed it, Mike Munchak said Monday.

The Titans kicked the PAT and went to overtime, ultimately losing to Arizona 37-34.

“That’s a play, again, that’s not very highly successful,” Munchak said. “It’s more successful when you can run it in, but we weren’t going to run it. We hadn’t run it in an hour or so, so we weren’t going to hand it off. You can’t really compare a two-point stat to win a football game versus kicking an extra point. It’s a whole different animal. We weren’t going to do that, so our options were more limited. For the team, that was the best decision to make at that time. That’s why we did it that way, and obviously I still thought we would have had a great opportunity to win the football game. We just didn’t make a play at the end rather than let them make that.”

The Titans could have had the ball at the 1-yard line after a defensive offside penalty on the kick.

That didn’t change Munchak’s thinking.

“It’s the (1-yard line) it would have went to,” he said. “You still figure you’re going to throw it, so what’s the difference between (one and two)? You have to get the completion and execute the play correctly. Anything at all with the ball being tipped, anything going on with penetration ... we didn’t necessarily feel good about a run right there.

“We didn’t have a timeout to sit and talk about it. If we had a timeout, maybe we would have considered other thoughts once the penalty was there. We didn’t have one, so I thought we could tie it up. I thought we felt great on the sidelines. We were excited about where we were at. There was no doubt in my mind that I thought we would win the football game in the overtime. I think our team did also. But we didn’t.”

I’m glad to get more insight into Munchak’s decision.

My feeling remains they should have tried it. And I’m surprised to learn that just because they hadn’t been running it as they were racing to overcome a late, 17-point deficit, that they wouldn’t have run it in that situation.

The run game wasn’t in rhythm by any means. But as I wrote Sunday night, it’s a team built around a philosophy that it can get the tough yard when it needs to, no matter if the other team knows what's coming.

Some of the team’s biggest acquisitions in the offseason were intended to bolster that approach: free-agent Andy Levitre, the left guard; fourth-round pick Brian Schwenke, the center; No. 10 pick overall Chance Warmack, the right guard; Shonn Greene, the veteran short-yardage running back.

That Munchak was unwilling to run a running play in need of 36 inches, even if the run game was cold, suggests he doesn’t believe in the philosophy any longer.

Which is fine.

But which also means, to some degree, he’s admitting he’s failed at building what he said he would.

Upon Further Review: Titans Week 15

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
11:41
AM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Tennessee Titans' 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

[+] EnlargeKendall Wright
Jim Brown/USA TODAY SportsAgainst Arizona in Week 15, Titans receiver Kendall Wright has 12 receptions for 150 yards, his second 100-plus game this season.
Overcomplicated: Even minus Justin Hunter and Damian Williams, scratched for violating team rules, the Titans have a pretty good group of threatening pass catchers. I understand an occasional pass to someone like fullback Quinn Johnson may keep a defense honest, but the Titans can't spare snaps for such things. Johnson dropped the one pass thrown to him. Running back Jackie Battle was on the field in some passing situations and may have some pass protection skills, but I don't understand him playing 14 snaps on offense when Shonn Greene played only 12.

Hearing from Smith: We know very little about new Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith, but Sunday before the game he had his first meeting with the press. He was reasonable on every level, appearing a little nervous but providing a good deal of insight into the way he will operate. He's got no intention to sell the team, wants to have smart people in place and let them do their jobs, feels the fans' pain and sounds determined to get things on track. Fans and followers of the franchise should be encouraged by the glimpse of Smith he shared Sunday.

The stars shined: The Titans do not have as much talent as they believe, but the best guy on each side of the ball excelled Sunday. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey led the Titans with nine tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks, boosting his season total to 10.5. On offense, receiver Kendall Wright keyed the late comeback with several big catches. He was targeted on 34 percent of Ryan Fitzpatrick's 58 passes, catching 12 for 150 yards. Wright's receptions included gains of 26, 23, 20 and 20 yards. He's a really good player who stands to be a foundational piece of this team no matter who's making decisions and calling plays going forward.

Home-field disadvantage: The Titans lost their fifth straight at LP Field and are now 2-5 in Nashville this season. Under Mike Munchak, the team is 11-12 at home. Safety Bernard Pollard has preached about the idea of establishing a clear home-field advantage. After this loss, he said even if guys didn't really feel some sort of edge when playing in Nashville, they should "fake" like they do. No one in the league worries about a trip to Music City these days. It's a far cry from what the Titans had on the East Bank of the Cumberland River in the building's early years.

SPONSORED HEADLINES