Can I have a hug? - Wesley Hitt
It's not just that we're losing. It's how we're losing.
Not surprisingly, MCM has been an opinionated and heated place over the past 24 hours. The Titans just suffered an embarrassing loss at home. We hadn't lost a game by more than 30 at home since, well, last year (against Houston). Since that 34 point loss to Houston last year, we hadn't lost a game by more than 30 at home since 2006. It gets worse though. Really, there's only two statistics I want to bring up from a historical perspective, and keep in mind that we're just over halfway through season. These numbers could actually get worse.
- Even with 7 games left, our 5 blowout losses are the 2nd most in franchise history. Let that marinate a little bit. It's probably the most powerful stat I've found in terms of sheer shock value. And, in case you're wondering, the team with more 20+ point losses was the 1973 team (8). 1972 tied us. A little HOU/TEN history, in 1972 Bill Peterson's team managed a one win season. In 1973, the team started off 0-5, and Bud had enough. He fired Peterson and had Sid Gillman take over.
- Through 9 games, the team has allowed 30+ points in 7 of the contests. That puts us tied with 2004 and behind 1983 (8) and 1973 (9).
Losing like this divides a fan base. It already has. And, for a while, I fell into the camp that gave this coaching staff and front office the benefit of the doubt. This has been boiling beneath the surface for some time now, though. Rebuilds are supposed to be about progress. What you see happening in places like Miami, Washington, and Indianapolis. That is what a rebuilding phase is supposed to feel like. Losses are expected. Blowouts in 4 of 9 games aren't.
So, for a while, I've battled to temper judgements. Give the benefit of a whole season. Then, the Chicago game happened. Isolated, it could get a pass. Cumulatively, it's part of a pattern that clearly tells me wholesale changes must come this offseason.
The expectation that the coaching staff/front office that can allow these kinds of blowouts is also the same group that could take us to a Super Bowl is nonsensical. I believe all of this starts at the top. An argument could be made that some of the people on this staff are doing their job well, and that may be true. They don't necessarily have to go, even though that is the most likely scenario.
As I see it, the culture of any company or organization starts at the top. In this case, that's Mike Reinfeldt. For all the things he's done well, he is one of the consistent figures from the 2010 mess and now this train wreck in 2012. A new EVP/GM needs to take and build the team in an image that reflects his own vision. Trying to constantly shuffle things around with the coaching staff, while keeping the same GM seems like a fools errand. I believe that a true rebuild starts at the top, and until we do that our goal of winning a Lombardi Trophy will not happen.
Change is coming. This kind of performance won't stand with Bud. When that change comes, Bud needs to take a top down approach. A failure to do anything else will result in more of the same.