Fellow MCM blogger Jordan Churchill recently wrote this post on why Ruston Webster should be fired. While I agree with him that this team has its shortcomings as far as personnel, I still don't believe that Webster has done as poor a job to deserve being fired.
The way I see it, a good general manager is a facilitator. He needs to run the organization from a personnel and managerial aspect, while working hand in hand with the head coach to provide the necessary players for said coach to succeed. I believe Webster has done just that, or at least attempted to.
Munchak and Company
When Webster first took over as GM, he had Mike Munchak as his head coach and the franchise was reeling form the aftermath of the Vince Young saga and years of Jeff Fisher's rule. The new philosophy was going to be the old philosophy. Solid defense, lunch pail offensive line, and a tough team that could pound you down. Coming out of the lockout set a new team a bit behind the 8-ball to boot.
One of Webster's largest shortcomings that directed resources for years to come was Munchak and Webster both over estimating the head coach and his long time compatriot, Bruce Matthews ability to "coach up" the offensive line from a bunch of scrubs. In order to fix that they've poured both draft picks and money into the position over the years and are left with a relative mess. They may have gotten the selections wrong, but the idea and direction were correct.
Titans fans rejoiced at stealing center Brian Schwenke in the fourth round, the team's highest rated center, while "numbskull" Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent their first round pick on Travis Frederick that many thought was a reach. Well look who's laughing now.
Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre were considered wins in almost everyone's book. The organization was moving in the right direction and Ruston was making it happen. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but holding Webster accountable for these moves doesn't seem right at this point. They were the right choice at the time.
The New Whisenhunt Era
Now Webster has a new coach with new philosophies and is trying to get that coach what he wants. The various signings on the defensive side of the ball were enacted to help transition the team to a 3-4 defense. He got who the coaches wanted and said they could work with.
Is it Ruston Webster's fault that he got Dexter McCluster and Bishop Sankey for the offense, but Ken Whisenhunt refuses to use either one of them? That he got Wesley Woodyard and Shaun Phillips so that Ray Horton could run his 3-4, but now says he doesn't have the players to run his scheme? What other options were there? Karlos Dansby would have been nice, but there weren't a plethora of options at the position.
Overall it's true the most recent free agency class is a bust, but I'll look past a good bit of it now that I've seen the coaches that are helping direct some of this movement. I will also say that the 2013 class was stellar in value and very good in production and that should off set things a bit.
If Webster is at fault for anything, it would be the endorsement of Ken Whisenhunt to Tommy Smith assuming that actually happened. While the current owner is going along with the new coach and citing that the cupboard is bare, I'm of the opinion that the coaching is more egregious than the roster.
You can look at any draft class by any team an see the players they've missed out on, or the shots that they took that didn't pan out. Webster might want to shake a few things up in the scouting department, but other than that I don't see his errors as especially damning. On the other hand, if he continues to endorse the new head coach and hitches his wagon to him...he can just go down with the ship.