First Year Lessons: Mike Munchak Takes Charge

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak smiles late in the fourth quarter of his teams win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Titans defeated the Panthers 30-3. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

After studying Chris Palmer and Jerry Gray, "First Year Lessons" wraps up the coaching staff with Head Coach Mike Munchak.

What We Learned:

He's not like his predecessor. After spending the length of his coaching career working for Jeff Fisher, Munchak and Chris Palmer installed a pass-oriented offense. I gushed in this space previously about Palmer's offense, and Munchak deserves credit for it as well. He made the call to hire Palmer, and the first year results were promising.

He can steer his way out of a tough situation. With a new QB, new coach and shortened offseason, expectations for the Titans weren't exactly through the roof last year. Fortunately Munchak revitalized and motivated his squad, and the Titans won three of their first four games to start the season.

He's got some big cojones. The new coach got his first career win against the hated Baltimore Ravens in part because of his aggressive philosophy in the game. You don't call a toss to Javon Ringer on fourth-and-one, in the third quarter AND in the Ravens end without having some major confidence.

Going Forward:

A team with two Hall of Fame offensive linemen on the coaching staff shouldn't have an issue with the offensive line. The team made only one change to the five man unit and their results will be closely associated with Mike Munchak's perception as a head coach, whether that's fair or not.

Cue the broken record sounds, because once again the terrible run game gets a mention here. Under Fisher, Munchak was heavily involved in the run game planning. It's not a pleasant thought, but Munchak's two specialties were the weakest parts of this team. As the head coach you're not going to be as hands-on as the offensive line coach or offensive coordinator, but the continual failure of these two aspects will fall on him.

With a good first year under his belt, expectations will be higher for the Titans this year. Even if this team doesn't make the playoffs, fans will want to see continued growth from the roster and coaching staff. Some decisions and mistakes last year could be seen as normal for a rookie head coach. With higher expectations there's less room for errors.

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