Boclair: Titans now in unwelcome spot at the rear of the division

Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 8:57pm

Forget what the records say. The Tennessee Titans are the AFC South’s worst team. Plain and simple.

Until we see something different, that is the sorry state of affairs for the local NFL franchise.

There is, after all, no better measuring stick than head-to-head competition and right now the Titans are 0-3 in intra-division contests with one loss each to Houston, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. There is no one else.

The latest of those defeats came Sunday against the Jaguars, a team that had one win in 10 games overall.

Those Jaguars started a backup quarterback for the first time this season, featured its third-string running back for much of the contest and lost both of its starting cornerbacks to injury along the way. They also were reeling from a hard-fought overtime defeat a week earlier.

The Titans, of course, entered the game refreshed and ready after their bye week and with all the good vibes created by the 34-point victory over Miami the last time they played.

So naturally Jacksonville won 24-19.

Mathematically, I suppose, the Titans are still in the AFC playoff hunt. Realistically, there is no hope because of this defeat. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding him or herself.

The first step toward becoming a playoff team (Tennessee has not been one since 2008) is to get the edge over the teams you play most often — the teams in your own division.

A year ago, the first with Mike Munchak as head coach, the Titans went 3-3 against the AFC South, but that record was not nearly as good as it looked.

First, the victory over Houston came in the final week of the regular season when the Texans had nothing at stake, rested many top players and opted not to try and force overtime when it had the opportunity to do so in the final minutes.

Second, the losses to Jacksonville and Indianapolis were not completely offset by the victories. The Titans lost to Jacksonville in Week 1 and the Jaguars lost nine of their next 11. The Colts unquestionably were the NFL’s worst team in 2011 but managed to defeat the Titans 27-13 in mid-December.

We all know the any-given-Sunday aspect of the NFL, but those were games Tennessee should have won. To lose them, meant that the Titans lost ground to virtually all of the other teams that played those two last year.

Recall that Tennessee finished 9-7 and missed out on a playoff spot because of a tiebreaker. Just one more win against either of those two pitiful teams and a place in the postseason was assured. The Bengals, by the way, beat each by 10 points.

Jacksonville is one of the NFL’s worst teams this season. Sure, it has half as many wins as the Titans overall but when you’re measuring one against the other, face-to-face, it’s the Jaguars who are right now on top.

What’s worse is that the Colts and Jaguars both have first-year coaches, which means they ought to be going through growing pains — the kind the Titans faced in 2011 under Munchak and his staff. Logic dictates that those teams are going to get better from here, and the fact that they’re already ahead of the Titans makes it difficult to imagine what it’s going to take for this team to catch up.

Of course, there’s not much time to think about it.

Houston comes to town Sunday. Then it’s a trip to Indianapolis. That means the opportunity to stem the tide is at hand. Or the Titans can just fall farther behind in a division that no one thinks is the league’s most competitive.

To be the worst of that bunch is pretty bad.

6 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 11/26/12 at 6:36

The only things of interest to me concerning the Titans are (1) what is the attendence? and (2) When are the ticket buyers going to start spending their Titan money on something more entertaining and rewarding?

By: Titan9282 on 11/26/12 at 9:15

So, here is the deal. Munchack is not an NFL head coach. Period. The only reason he was 9-7 last year was because Houston gave the last game to the Titans. He is overcoached against any team with success. He looks bored on the sideline. I wish CBS would stop showing him on the sidelines during games. It tikes me off. People like mark Howard like to defend him by saying that Bellicheck does the same thing. Well, the difference is Bellicheck wins. he has 3 Super Bowl rings, and munchack doesn't. I hope and pray that Houston comes in here ext week and lays down 50 points on us. I want to get embarrased at home. Maybe then, Bud will see how big of a joke this team is. Then, maybe he will see what needs to be done. Here is what the Titans need to do. 1. Fire Munchack and the entire coaching staff. 2. DO NOT let Bud Adams have any say in the next coach. This whole promoting within is not going to work. 3. Fire Renfeldt. He is going to tell Bud whatever he wants the Titans to do. 4. Find a coach with a proven track record. Gruden, Cowher, even Reid will be fine with me. 5. Cut Michael Griffin. I understand he just got a big contract, but he should have never gotten that money to begin with. if you look at every game, he has a mistake or 2 that kills you and he should be gone.

By: cookeville on 11/26/12 at 9:48

I'm pretty sure Bud in NOT happy at this point in the season. In fact, he may be already looking for new coaches. I don't know whether Munchak is a bad coach, or the team is too young, has no leaders in the locker room, has sorry coordinators, or what, but the bottom line is they can't win and something must change. Hopefully, Bud will make some changes after the season ends. He really needs to go outside the system for someone who has new ideas so we can rid ourselves of the Fisher era once and for all. Change is good.

By: jwk6179 on 11/26/12 at 10:37

If you fire Mike Munchak, along with Mike Reinfeld and Ruston Webster, and then state do not let Bud Adams have any say in who the next coach is, then WHO WILL DECIDE WHO THE NEXT COACH IS?

By: David_S on 11/26/12 at 1:24

The most frustrating aspect is that you could foresee this happening from the beginning of the year. Over the past two years, we've lost a star defensive end in Vanden Bosch and our best corner in Finnegan, yet we haven't replaced them with anybody worth a damn (Verner is worth a damn, but was already on the roster). The linebacking core has been mediocre at best, but the only person we add is McCarthy. Our offensive line was incredibly bad last season, yet the only thing that changed was signing a 1 new guard? I've never seen a front office so satisfied with mediocre talent at all positions. I can understand how guys like Finnegan and Vanden Bosch can get too expensive, but if you cut them, you HAVE to replace them with QUALITY players. Titans simply haven't. And Griffin is a dud.

By: courier37027 on 11/26/12 at 7:46

Mr. Boclair, talk like, "...Realistically, there is no hope because of this defeat. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding him or herself," will have you taken behind the woodshed at 104.5. True as your comments are, I am sure Mark Howard can find a condescending quip to belittle your accuracy.