The Tennessee Titans’ level of frustration may be bubbling under, but it has not boiled over in an 0-5 start.
Nor do the Titans expect it to boil over with any screaming matches, press conference diatribes or rearranging of the locker room due to frustrations on the part of players and coaches.
In fact, the only major potential distraction thus far has been the incident in which Jevon Kearse departed Sunday night’s loss to Indianapolis after finding out he would be inactive for the game.
Outside, fans and media have questions aplenty for why the Titans are winless a year after going 13-3. Inside the walls at Baptist Sports Park, the players and coaches are trying not to let those frustrations seep out. But rather focus on a turnaround instead.
“If we let it get to us and let us be frustrated by what other people are saying, it’s just gonna take away from what we’re trying to do internally. We know it’s out there. I know it’s out there,” quarterback Kerry Collins said. “Everybody knows what’s being said. You start out 0-5, they’re not exactly going to be throwing roses your way. But at the same time, I like the way we’re coming back each week and having good practices. I don’t see guys just throwing in the towel, and saying, ‘Oh, this is a done deal.’”
Linebacker Keith Bulluck, now the senior Titan in terms of continuous service with Craig Hentrich’s season over, said that showing their frazzled emotions outwardly has never really been the M.O. of Jeff Fisher and the Tennessee coaching staff.
“I’m not surprised. That hasn’t been done in the past,” he said when asked if he expected any blow-up to occur. “I probably would have been surprised if that had been done. I don’t know how that works when coaches do that. I understand why it’s done, but it’s never been done here.”
Coaching and player blow-ups are nothing new in professional and college sports. Rants from baseball managers Tommy Lasorda and Lee Elia are legendary, as are the outbursts by football coaches Jim Mora, Sr., Dennis Green and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy in recent years.
But Fisher said such things are counter-productive in his mind.
“We’re focused and working. That’s what you do. You come to work, you’re a pro,” Fisher said. “You come to work, and you do the right things. You work on the practice field and prepare to play the game. Those things just become distractions for you.”
Running back LenDale White agreed with the coach, saying, don’t expect the Titans to implode in public. Besides, he said, such things can only add more pressure to an already bad situation.
“If you come in there and you throw something around, you’d better be prepared to walk,” White said. “You’d better go out there and have a game where you score out at 100 percent and don’t do anything wrong, because it only takes that one thing for you to mess up on for somebody to come at you and say, ‘You told us to do that and look at you.’ That’s how it is.
“You can’t point one finger, because there’s a hundred pointing back at you. We’ve all got to do our job. You can’t throw a hissy-fits. You can’t say somebody needs to do this or Jeff needs to do that. We need to look at ourselves and say we need to be the guy to make a play.”
Letting the frustrations of losing boil over doesn’t solve the problems at hand, White said. That, he said, is up to the players to solve.
“Hell, no, man. I got cussed out by so many coaches, but that doesn’t change a thing, because they can’t go out there and play,” White said. “The object that’s thrown across the room is not a touchdown. That’s not it. It’s a great emotional way to show your teammate that you’re there and you’ll do whatever it takes to win, but at the same time, there’s only so much talking you can do.”