Titans head coach Mike Munchak fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer on Nov. 26, promoting QB coach Dowell Loggains as interim coordinator and giving the 32-year-old Loggains a five-game audition for 2013.
The Tennessee offense has remained mostly in neutral with Loggains calling plays, with the most tangible difference on the club, interestingly, coming on defense, where coordinator Jerry Gray’s more aggressive play-calling in recent weeks has really paid off for the Titans.
There have been noticeable changes with Loggains calling plays, namely a more concerted effort to get QB Jake Locker on the move, but the offense is still striving for consistency. Meanwhile, the increased pressure dialed up by Gray has led to Tennessee producing nearly half of its sacks on the season over the past month. A defensive back’s best friend is consistent pressure up front, thus the improvements on the back end have been significant as well.
While Gray is coaching like a man that's desperate to stick around, it remains to be seen whether the late-season surge is enough to save Gray, Munchak and the rest of the staff. We hear one player who is less likely to save his job is SS Jordan Babineaux.
One of Gray’s biggest issues this season has been at safety. He had Michael Griffin playing out of position earlier in the season, and backup Robert Johnson starting ahead of Babineaux.
Although Johnson didn’t prove to be worthy of a starting job, it is a bit clearer why he was pressed into action: Babineaux, steady a season ago, has been a liability this season. Babineaux earned a two-year contract extension this past March because, while he didn’t bring the playmaking dynamic to Nashville that he had earlier in his career in Seattle, he was generally sound as the club’s second-leading tackler in 2011. While just his playmaking ability seemed to drop off a season ago, so, too, have his discipline and fundamentals this season. Babineaux has been a poor tackler and was flagged twice on Tennessee’s first defensive series in Week 15, leading to a temporary benching, which has become a regular occurrence this season.
The Titans are committed to Griffin, who, despite another enigmatic season, received a lucrative contract extension this past offseason. We hear finding him a new running mate after the season is likely to be on the club’s offseason to-do list.