Some news came across the wire concerning the Titans and their coaching staff on Monday night. Head coach Mike Munchak had dismissed his offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and given the reigns to quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.
At 4-7 and still holding on by a thread to their playoff hopes, Munchak addressed the offensive side of the ball and put his authority to action. After the Titans fell to the Jaguars on Sunday, 24-19, Munchak’s press conference was riddled with offensive disappointment. Settling for five field goal attempts, Kenny Britt’s touchdown catch with 4:52 left to go in the game was Tennessee’s only end zone appearance.
“We struggled all day with settling for field goals when we could have done much better than that and when you do that in this league, it ends up costing you,” Munchak said after Sunday's loss. “We just missed way to many opportunities to make plays and putting points up on the board and left it down to a last drive and get an interception.”
In a statement released yesterday night, Munchak had this to say on the dismissal of Palmer.
“I have a great deal of respect for Chris Palmer as a coach and that was the reason we brought him here. I appreciate the time and effort he put in here and I want to wish him and his family the best moving forward.
As an offense I didn’t feel like we were progressing the way that I had hoped. I believe we needed a change in direction and I hope to see that progress in our remaining games. Dowell has worked here for a number of years under some very successful coordinators and he is ready for this challenge.”
Palmer’s offense seemed to go in waves. The first three games of the season against New England, San Diego and Detroit, the Titans had 115 passing attempts compared to only 45 rushes. During that time span, running back Chris Johnson only averaged 15 yards per game and Tennessee went 1-3.
Through the next four games, Palmer was content on getting Johnson more touches as Tennessee’s running back racked up 451 yards going 2-2.
A tough OT loss to the Colts, a blowout by the Bears, a 37-3 win against the Dolphins and Sunday’s game in Jacksonville rounded out Palmer’s 2012 stint averaging 220 passing yards per game, 20th in the league, and 106.9 rushing yards, 19th in the league.
But was it the right side of the ball?
It has been Tennessee’s defense taking the brunt of the criticism all year. A few weeks ago, the Titans were on pace to yield the most points in NFL history, 34 per game. Now, Palmer gets shown the door while defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is left to continue to improve on his 27th ranked defense.
This could be the start to a domino effect concerning Music City's team.
After the 51-20 loss to the Bears, owner Bud Adams went on record to say that if things aren’t corrected, changes will be made.
Muchak decided to make a change off the field yesterday with Palmer, but the ultimate deciding factor will be made on the field. Seven new head coaches were hired in 2012 and five in 2011, including Munchak, which is nearly 40% of the league.
Change is inevitable.
These next five games for the Titans will justify Palmer’s dismissal because for Munchak, finishing strong is what the 89 year old owner will look at for next season.
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Photo Courtesy of the Tennessean