So you want Ruston Webster and Ken Whisenhunt fired? Welcome to the club. However, it is not that easy. Since Bud Adams passed away, the Tennessee Titans have been absolutely in flux organizationally. The team decided to move forward with Tommy Smith until he retired out of the blue. Since then, everything regarding the Titans organization has been a giant question mark. With Sunday's embarrassing performance against the hapless Dolphins, the noise is louder than ever. After taking a look back at some of the things said around the time of Tommy Smith's retirement, I recognized a few concerning points that makes the Titans outlook look even more bleak than ever. Some notable points from an article written by Paul Kuharsky in June:
"Underwood said the hiring process never really got started, though the team got unsolicited resumes from several interesting candidates, and he hopes to revisit those when he kicks off a search early in 2016."
As I said earlier today, I didn't know who in the organization would even make the call to completely blow things up. Of course the Adams family is at the top, but it seems unrealistic to see them pulling the trigger on such a move. If they did, who is conducting the search for a new General Manager and Head Coach? The new CEO, right? Well, apparently, the Titans never even started the hiring process. According to the article, they plan to *start* their search in early 2016, which means after the season is over. To expect a thorough search for a new CEO, followed by thorough searches for General Managers and Head Coaches in about a two week span is completely unrealistic. This is all based under the assumption that the new CEO will run things on the football side. More on that in a minute.
"The team has an understanding with the league that Amy Adams Strunk, one of Bud Adams' daughters, is operating as controlling owner. . .Strunk may be interested in the role permanently though "our ownership group is still undecided about what to do on a permanent basis," he said."
The Adams family is not even certain who the controlling owner will be. To expect any kind of significant changes from this group, again, is completely unrealistic. If anything, Webster and Whisenhunt should feel safe, considering that the family likely wants stability more than anything. This was already cited by the family when they made the decision to stick with Steve Underwood for the year. If the ownership group is so clueless that they do not even know who the controlling owner will be, I'm not sure what to even expect from the franchise as a whole. Everything starts at the top.
"Underwood said the person ultimately hired to replace him needs to be a strong business person, not necessarily a football man.
"I think he needs to be someone who is not maybe as focused on football as he is on the business side of the NFL," he said. "We need someone with NFL experience, someone who understands the stadium business the media business, the entertainment business. ... It wouldn't hurt if whoever we hire knew something about football, but we need complimentary skills on the business side more than we need more people that understand football. We've already got a wealth of talent here who understand football.' "
Back to the CEO search. In my previously mentioned scenario, everything was based on the assumption that the new CEO would be in charge of decisions on the front office, and so forth. Underwood's quote indicates that they are not looking for that kind of guy at all. This leaves Ruston Webster as one of the most powerful men in the building.
From where I am standing, I see a huge flaw in the Titans' organizational structure. The general manager, who should be on thin ice, is nearly untouchable. The new team president's focus will not be football ops. The ownership group is not even sure who the leader is. With all of this, it is very difficult to imagine the significant changes that need to be made in order for this team to move forward. Titans fans can only hope that the Adams family does one of two things--either sell the team, or change its views on the CEO search as far as its timing and their preferences. Until then, this is a franchise that is headed nowhere and completely flawed organizationally.