The Tennessee Titans have yet to play their best. Far from it, in fact, based on the scores through the first two weeks of the season.
However, those who have played are the best of the Tennessee Titans, Mike Munchak said Monday. And nothing that has taken place has convinced him to make any personnel changes.
“You have to be smart,” Munchak said. “I wouldn’t do it to set an example for the team. I’d only do it if it was necessary to do. If someone deserved not to be starting and there was someone better not playing and we felt could help us play better then I think it makes sense. If you do it for that reason, I think it’s real good.
“We’re playing our best players. Are they playing their best right now? Obviously not. We’re 0-2. We can definitely all play better — every one of us.”
Following Sunday’s 38-10 defeat at San Diego, the Titans are one of six teams that have yet to win a game this season. It is possible that none has looked worse.
Through Sunday, their 72 points allowed were the second-highest in the AFC and third overall and their 23 points scored were the fewest in the NFL. Their minus-49 point differential was 15 points worse than the next largest, Kansas City.
Eighteen teams scored more points in Week 2 alone than Tennessee did in its first two contests.
“You know you’re not always playing at your best when the season starts,” Munchak said. “But obviously we all felt we’d be playing much better than we are right now.”
No team has fewer first downs. No team has rushed for fewer yards. Only three teams have been worse in third-down defense, but all three won at least once. No defense has spent more time on the field.
On and on it goes.
Still, Munchak vigorously defended all of the team’s personnel decisions and vowed to stick with the guys who have done the bulk of the work thus far.
Among some of the notable issues thus far are:
• Quarterback Jake Locker: “We’re not looking to make any changes right now. … Would it be different if Matt [Hasselbeck] was in there? I don’t necessarily think so but I can’t answer that question. Everyone can just assume we’d be different but I just don’t know to what extent it would be different.”
• Using Michael Griffin at strong safety with Robert Johnson at free safety and Jordan Babineaux as a role player: “As far as that combination we’re planning on moving forward. If we feel there’s a better way to do things we’ll do that, but for right now we feel that we’re doing the best way we should.”
• Running back Chris Johnson: “He’s a guy we expect to [make plays]. Unfortunately it’s been more in the passing game than the running game after two games. … Yeah, we have a lot of work ahead but it’s not all C.J., so we’re not going to bench a running back over where we’re at right now on offense.”
Munchak did concede that if he considered benching a legitimate way to turn a team’s fortunes, he would have plenty of candidates.
He, however, was an assistant in 2002 when the Titans started 1-4 then won 10 of the last 11 and ultimately reached the AFC championship game. His last season as a player was 1993 when the then-Houston Oilers started 1-4 then won 11 straight and earned a division title.
Both of those teams stuck with proven players who ultimately reversed their fortune.
“You’re always looking to put the best guys on the field, and I think we’ve done that,” Munchak said. “So I think we have the best guys on the field.
“Are we playing the best we can play? No we’re not. That doesn’t mean there’s someone that’s not playing who is better than someone we have out there. You have 53 guys you can win with and that’s not going to change much in the next 14 weeks. So we just better play better.”