Players said good-bye to one another and to professional football Tuesday afternoon. Collectively, though, the Tennessee Titans have used their bye week to introduce themselves to their own identity.
“We haven’t had film to study of our system,” coach Mike Munchak said. “When the players came in here, the offense and defense were totally new systems. So now we have something we can look at and the players have something they can look at.”
At this point, the Titans have five games to ponder — some good, some bad.
They have won three and lost two.
They have thrown the ball as many as 49 times and as few as 21. They have run the ball for as many as 101 yards and as few as 38.
The defense held its first three opponents to fewer than 200 yards passing but allowed more than 300 to the last two. They have not allowed a rushing touchdown since the opener but gave up five touchdown passes last Sunday.
“Two of our [offensive] coaches have looked at the running game, two have looked at the play-action game and two of our coaches have looked at the drop-back game,” offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. “They’ve come up with analysis of what they saw on their particular area and made recommendations on what we’re doing well and what we need to improve on.
“We’ll digest that and see where we go from there.”
Under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, which ended this past summer’s lockout instituted by league owners, players are not required for any activities beyond Tuesday. They are free to spend time at team facilities — if they choose — to lift weights or watch film or the like. There is an extra day of practice next week when the players return.
The Titans have adopted the approach that it’s best for them to get away — far away.
“One thing you want the guys to do is really take a good break, really get away,” defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said. “Don’t think about the Titans. … I wouldn’t even put on an NFL football game.
“Get away from your job and when you come back it’s fresh for you. You’re ready to go, you’re rejuvenated and you’re ready for the long run.”
The coaches, conversely, will remain on the job for the next couple days and better familiarize themselves with … well, themselves.
“It’s a spot where we can kind of gather what we have been doing and get a break,” Munchak said. “It really has been nine games and a lot going on with training camp and getting to do a lot of things in a short period of time to get ready for preseason and the regular season.
“…Ideally, I think everyone would like to have it right in the middle of the season, play eight games, get a break, and play eight more. If you picked a time, that’s probably what you would think before you saw what your team’s situation was.”
In this case, the Titans finally can get a feel for their own identity.