Munchak pushing Titans to snap skid, win final 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Mike Munchak wants the Tennessee Titans to win their final three games and salvage an 8-8 season. The coach says keeping his job is a topic for discussion when the season ends.
That isn't stopping Munchak from arguing Tennessee is headed in the right direction even if it doesn't seem that way.
Munchak said Monday winning the final three would put the Titans at 8-8 with a better record than 6-10 last season. He says watching how the Titans compete makes clear they are different than a year ago, and they have a bunch of good young players now in their core group.
''We obviously have an issue with our quarterback being hurt the past couple years ...,'' Munchak said. ''There's a list of things that need to be done next year, but that's talk for next year.''
The Titans (5-8) remain mathematically alive for a playoff berth. Their 3-1 start is a distant memory, and they lost for the seventh time in nine games falling 51-28 to Denver.
Tennessee hosts Arizona (8-5) on Sunday and wraps up going to Jacksonville and Houston - teams that already beat the Titans this season.
Chris Johnson said the Titans are working extremely hard and believe they have a good team. The ball just isn't bouncing their way right now. Still, Johnson said it's tough to say how close they really are when they haven't won consecutive games since September. He's worried only about the next game, not a possible coaching change.
''We can't blame coach Munchak for times when we're leading in the fourth quarter and we come back and let those guys get back in the game and win,'' Johnson said. ''We can't blame coach Munchak for that. That's the players fault. That's what we did.''
Johnson's own future in Tennessee will be a hot topic in the offseason. The Titans owe him $8 million next season with three years left on his contract. He's averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has 820 yards rushing with another 277 yards receiving. He hasn't missed a game in his six seasons and said he feels great and will be playing somewhere in 2014.
''Of course, I want to be here,'' Johnson said. ''I signed a contract to be here. If it was up to me, I'd finish my career as a Titan. But at the end of the day what a lot of people don't understand, it's a business and you got to deal with the business side of things too.''
If Munchak convinces new chief executive officer Tommy Smith to keep him for a fourth season as head coach, quarterback will be a big topic of discussion in the offseason. Jake Locker will miss nine games this season with injuries to his right hip, knee and foot combined, and the eighth pick overall in 2011 will miss 14 of 32 games since being named the starter.
''Look at any team that's lost their quarterback, it's hard. It creates issues when you have to make that change,'' Munchak said.
The Titans led 21-10 at halftime and trailed only 37-28 going into the fourth quarter in Denver. The Titans lost two turnovers in the second half including an interception on a tipped pass by Ryan Fitzpatrick, giving him eight interceptions with only nine touchdowns this season.
Safety Michael Griffin said the Titans know they have no one to blame but themselves this season.
''They're saying we're not out of it, but our main objective is to get a win,'' Griffin said. ''We need to get one now.''
Notes: Munchak called Denver LB Von Miller's helmet to helmet hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick ''disturbing and unnecessary.'' The coach said he hopes the NFL looks at the play and fines the linebacker. ... TE Delanie Walker (concussion) will have his final test Tuesday and could return Sunday.
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