- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans are frustrated, and Mike Munchak says that’s the right way to be feeling.
“I think that’s a common thing when you are a good football team and your expectations are better than what our record is,” he said in his Friday news conference, per a transcript from the team. “You want that, you want frustration; you want guys to realize we have to work harder to find a way to make more plays.
“The only way to do that is by preparing. We got to continue to prepare details. That’s not a magical formula to all of a sudden make more plays on a Sunday. I’m not worried about players (pointing fingers). These guys are professionals. They want to win, they want to do well, they have a lot of pride. I don’t believe in that stuff. I don’t think that stuff happens.”
Even at 4-6 having lost five of their past six, I don’t think players will point fingers -- too many of them would have to point at themselves. If it keeps going with things like special teams gaffes or second-half stalls, however, somebody might say something about Munchak and his staff.
The team’s most vocal player, safety Bernard Pollard, clearly wants to say something about someone and is fighting it.
"There are so many things that I want to say that I can't,” he said. “We put so much in weekly and we're not getting what we want on Sunday or Thursday. ... As far as being a professional, I've learned my lesson on what to say, and how to say it, and who to say it to."
One thing I’m reading from Munchak disturbs me.
“It’s not necessarily we have to work harder, it’s smarter,” he said. “It’s about the details that come up within the game. You can’t practice it all during a week. You can’t cover everything that could possibly happen, so guys just got to get a feel. When it comes to the games, we just got to find a way to make less mistakes and more plays. That’s everyone -- that’s where the focus has to be. That’s the only way you get better at anything.”
Here’s another spot where he deviates from his predecessor. Jeff Fisher was hardly the coaching gold standard. But he did pride himself on having a team that was, in fact, prepared for virtually anything. The Music City Miracle came out of such preparations, not out of counting on guys to "get a feel."
This group doesn't seem to have much of "a feel," so counting on that sure seems risky.
Fisher and his staff, which included Munchak, certainly didn’t touch on everything every week. But in the buildup during camp and a season, they touched on an awful lot, and did far better than Munchak is doing at having the team be surprised less often.
No one will disagree the Titans need to play smarter.
Everyone will agree they needed to start playing smarter sooner.