After the Tennessee Titans humiliating 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots, first-year defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was at a loss for words, declining comment after the game.
By Wednesday, Cecil was able to put the pounding into some sort of perspective as he worked to regroup his struggling defense during bye week practices this week.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of game. I know it will scar me forever, and I’m sure it will have an effect on the players,” Cecil said. “The important thing is to learn from it, not to make the same mistakes over again. Hopefully, we can take what we learned from that game and apply it to the rest of the season and win some ball games.”
Now, more than a week later Cecil said he's been trying to impart that to his defensive players as they used the bye-week practices and time away from the game to work on igniting some sort of turnaround.
At 0-6, a turnaround is overdue.
“You need to be upset. That’s the important thing. The other part of that is you have to move on. You have to let it go,” Cecil said. “That’s the nature of this business. Whether you win games or lose games, we have the 24-hour rule, but this one might last a little longer because [of] the bye this week.
“The bottom line is in any game you have to learn from the mistakes you made, whether you win or lose, and try and correct those mistakes to make sure they don’t happen the next time.”
The numbers from the snowy Sunday game in New England were ugly enough to upset everyone on the Titans — 619 yards total offense by the Patriots, scores on nine consecutive possessions, and 380 yards passing with six TDs by Tom Brady who didn’t even play past the middle of the third quarter.
The season numbers are hideous too.
Opposing offenses have completed 73.9 percent of their passes against the Titans, who rank last against the pass and 31st overall. Opponents already have thrown for 19 TD passes against the Titans, who gave up only 12 through the air all of last season.
Hard stuff to digest for Tennessee's first-year defensive coordinator.
But Cecil said he is busy putting in the work to try and fix things as rapidly as possible. He sort of deflected a question about whether the job was a bigger challenge than he initially believed when he took over for Jim Schwartz this season.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge when I took the job, that this is just part of it. Just deal with it and move on,” Cecil said. “That’s all you can do is try and do the best you can, stay as late as you need to stay, watch more film and try and learn things about your opponent and learn things about your own team and get things back on track.”
Cecil said he's spoken with Schwartz, who has his own issues now trying to turn around the Detroit Lions, and his former boss told him to stay positive.
But should Cecil shoulder the blame for the ineffectiveness of the defense?
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said the players have to take a certain amount of the accountability as well.
“I think everybody is upset, but how are you going to deal with that? The only thing you can do is be upset at yourself and try to improve your own game,” Vanden Bosch said.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse, said it is time that pride takes over after such a humiliating defeat and beginning to the season.
“I’m speaking for this team, for the Tennessee Titans,” Kearse said “It’s all about finishing up strong. We started one way. We need to finish up the other. We need to put those six games behind us, taking pride and not throwing in the towel.”
Cecil isn’t about to give up either.
“Tough times never last, but tough people do. I’m not gonna quit, and I’m pretty confident and pretty sure the players aren’t either,” he said.