Munchak pushing Titans to snap skid, win final 3

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.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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