Strong finish could save Munchak; coordinators on shakier ground

Posted Nov. 08, 2012 @ 2:14 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

Just how hot is the seat beneath Titans head coach Mike Munchak, after his owner publicly chastised the entire organization on the heels of one of the worst home losses in franchise history?

Our sources indicate that, prior to the Bears’ 51-20 evisceration of the Titans Sunday, coordinators Jerry Gray (defense) and Chris Palmer (offense) were already feeling the heat. But after another humiliating defeat — the Titans’ six losses have come by an average margin of 22.2 points per game — Munchak also needs to prove over the next two months that he has solutions to the Titans' myriad issues to be safe.

We hear Bud Adams was so irate for two reasons: the first is that Tennessee has not been competitive in all but one loss this season, and the nature in which they appeared so unprepared for such a big home game did not sit well with the 89-year-old owner. Adams was further humiliated by the hostile takeover of LP Field by Bears fans, who greatly outnumbered Titans fans by the fourth quarter.

One source told PFW it would be hard to imagine a scenario where Gray and Palmer return next season. The source pointed to the gross mishandling of the safety positon as the biggest indictment on Gray, who was sent to the coaching booth prior to Sunday’s loss.

Remember, Munchak moved Palmer from the sideline to upstairs earlier in the season, before Tennessee’s big win over the Steelers in Week Six. Of course, the results weren’t as kind with the emotional Gray joining Palmer for a different vantage point of his underachieving unit.

The source described Munchak’s decision to move Gray off the sideline as an act of desperation. The NFL’s eighth-ranked scoring defense a season ago (19.8 points per game) is surrendering a league-worst 34.2 this season.

The tackling has been poor. The pressure has been inadequate. Worse yet, Gray doesn’t appear to trust his players enough to find ways to manufacture pressure.

As for Palmer, word is he gets a little more slack, simply because he has had to shuffle quarterbacks. But TE Jared Cook isn’t alone in his frustrations regarding the offense; we hear others have questioned Palmer’s direction, sometimes wearing their discontent on their sleeves. It seems clear to those close to the situation that there is a disconnect between Palmer and some of his players — a troubling sign for an offense that some believed was ready to shine this season.