Munchak starts making changes, fires two assistant coaches

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:18pm

Mike Munchak did not hesitate to make changes to the coaching staff once he replaced Jeff Fisher.

He did not wait long after the completion of his first season to do the same.

Secondary coach Marcus Robertson and assistant secondary coach Curtis Fuller were fired Wednesday.

“I want to thank Marcus and Curtis for their time here,” Munchak said in a statement announcing the moves. “After meeting with the coordinators over the last couple of days, we decided to make this move [Wednesday].”

The Titans finished 14th in the league in pass defense and their 21 interceptions was the most since they had 22 in 2007.

Robertson was one of the few coaches Munchak retained from the previous staff. He was the assistant secondary coach from 2007 through 2008 before he was promoted to secondary coach. He also spent the majority of his playing career with the Titans/Oilers, which included several seasons when current defensive coordinator Jerry Gray was the secondary coach.

Fuller joined the staff last season after one year as a special teams assistant with the Green Bay Packers.

“Letting Marcus go was not an easy thing,” Munchak said. “He spent so many great years with this organization as a player, front office employee and a coach.

“I respect both men, but I wanted to move in a different direction for both of these spots. The interview process might take some time, but we will find the right fits for the secondary room moving forward.”

4 Comments on this post:

By: billbythelake on 1/4/12 at 8:18


I'd like to see the statistic on how many "3rd and long" that the secondary allowed to complete. It sure seemed like an awful lot of them...even the last Houston game, the Titans had the Texans pinned deep and 3rd and 11 (I believe, might've been 3rd and 8). The Texans made the 3rd down conversion look easy and promptly went down to score. All season long, that occurred way too frequently.

By: fdanshep on 1/5/12 at 8:18

Maybe a good move but somewhat surprising. I think it is an issue of personel rather than coaching, especially at the safety position.I wonder if it was more of a personality or philosophical conflict with Jerry Gray. If coaching is the problem for a defensive backfield that finished just under the middle of the pack in the league statistically, then maybe Bruce Matthews should move on because the offensive line was woeful in run blocking. There has to be some changes there before next season.

By: wayneCaluger on 1/5/12 at 10:18

I agree in part it's an issue of personel rather than coaching, especially at the safety position. This is at least the third season in a row that Hope & Griffin have been inept both in breaking up passes and tackling. Not sure how much longer the team fortunes should ride on their past pro bowl reputation.

The other issue I see is living and most often than not dying playing zone defense. Very seldom did the long ball kill us, it was splitting the zone with short passes while the safeties hung back closing only after the catch was made and then some arm tackles. It looked more like the safeties were reading a book rather than reading the offense.

Not enough pressure on the QB by the DL, not enough hands in the air to obstruct the QB view or tip/deflect the short passes or chipping the receivers to slow down or disrupt the route.

So the other team just marched down the field while on our end it was generally three and out. Cannot win if the other team has the ball half the game.

As for the run game the problem is more sticking with CJ than Bruce Matthews. Cannot gain yards period running east or west passing holes trying to get outside for that big gainer. You have to go north or south coming out of the back field with some speed and make the quick cut through the hole before it closes. Running up to the line and then slowing doing the CJ shuffle gets you zip.

CJ is not an every down back. We need someone like Blount who we gave away to pick up those short yards while punishing the other team DL. Been there and trust me I rather have a day of putting licks on a CJ than getting as much as I can dish out dealing with a RB like Blount, Drew-Jones, Mendenhall and a host of other true NFL non 180 lb soaking wet backs. A back that can make a hole when there is none and move the DL that yard or two when it's on the 2 or so and its goal to go or for a first down.

It's tough to run block if your RB is running side line to side line and the DL line and line backers are shifting down the line shadowing the running back. Too much time in the NFL even if a guard pulls and CJ would consider following his lead block.

By: billbythelake on 1/5/12 at 10:25

I do agree that the O-line seemed to have difficulty in run blocking. Given the limited preseason, and that CJ seemed to have lost a step (or something...), and that this was Matthews first year (I think) I'm not quite ready to throw him (Matthews) under the bus. After all, their pass blocking was overall still fairly good, and *most* of the time they played without the stupid false start penalties that killed them last year. (Of course there were still a few inopportune holding calls but if the refs wanted too, they could call holding on any team in the league on any play).

Back to the secondary, though, you've gotta wonder about some of the times when the coverage was just waaay too loose. Was this the way the D was set up, or was it the personnel? I dunno. I suspect Hope will be gone and maybe Griffin, he certainly underachieved this year. Finnegan didn't get the stupid penalties of last year, so in that sense he played better, but he didn't seem to have the impact of earlier years.

I think Munchak realized that the D has to get off the field on 3rd downs, and for whatever reason, it wasn't getting done in the secondary. Allowing numerous 3rd and forever conversions is inexcusable.