I have always been of the belief that NFL players are grown men, and with that being the case, no one should have to motivate them to play a football game. They should be "up" for every game because they are getting paid to play football, and because they want to win a Super Bowl. That should be all the motivation they need to be ready to play each and every week.
That is why I thought the argument that it was Mike Munchak's fault the Titans lost to the 0-13 Colts two years ago was ridiculous. Those players were staring at a chance to make the playoffs. The only thing standing in their way was a winless Colts team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter.
While I still stand by that belief, I think that it is the responsibility of the head coach to know when his team isn't motivated. That clearly isn't the case with Munch. His team took the field on Sunday expecting to win- but not because they were confident in their own abilities but because they thought just showing up would be enough to beat the Jaguars.
That was obvious on the Jags first offensive drive, and it was obvious when it took the Titans more than a quarter to get a first down against one of the worst defenses in the league.
Munchak should have been able to see that his team wasn't motivated, and done something to get them in the game. What should he have done? Maybe mix some things up with the play calling on offense*. It was the 4th drive before the Titans threw a pass on first down- and that was a 1-yard completion to Shonn Greene.
Call a fake punt. Run a flea flicker. Try a halfback pass. Do something, anything, to get the guys on the sideline fired up- instead of just standing there with the normal gaze off into space**.
This team has been far too conventional for far too long. What has that gotten them? A lot of mediocre seasons. It is time to change something. That starts with the head coach. A good head coach would have figured that out by now.
*I know Munch doesn't call the plays, but it isn't like he can't go over to Dowell Loggains and tell him what to do.
**I am not of the belief that his sideline demeanor has anything to do with his ability to coach, but man would I love to see a different look on his face from time to time.