Munchak wants 'no excuses, no whining' from Titans

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 5:58pm

Mike Munchak boiled things down to the basics.

In one of his first acts as the Tennessee Titans head coach, he spelled out for everyone what they could expect from him in plain and simple language. He also made it clear what he expects of all those around him.

“My philosophy is simple: No matter what your job is with this organization, be a pro,” he said. “What that means is: Know what to do and do it. No excuses. No whining. Just do it. “

It was that direct, no-nonsense approach that he used in his 14 seasons as offensive line coach to help four different players earn a total of 10 Pro Bowl invitations. No doubt, it also served him well last week when he interviewed for the job with the only organization he ever has known as a professional and convinced franchise leaders that he was the choice to replace Jeff Fisher, which he officially did when he was introduced Monday afternoon at a press conference.

“He’s a leader,” General Manager Mike Reinfeldt said. “He has a vision, and he has a passion for that vision.”

Armed with Hall of Fame credentials as a player, a first-hand awareness of what he perceives as the Titans’ current strengths and weaknesses and the support of an owner who for the first time installed one of his former players as the face of the franchise, Munchak spoke with confidence about what he believes he can do as a head coach.

He opened the door for the possibility of significant changes to the coaching staff when he said “anything’s possible” and dismissed the notion that the team needs to endure any sort of rebuilding process. He remained true to the company line that Vince Young would not be the Titans’ quarterback and hinted at some basic philosophical shifts when it comes to schemes and play calling, if personnel allows.

He also spoke with clarity about what he will do in his new role, based on a philosophy rooted in his college days at Penn State under legendary coach Joe Paterno.

• Give direction: “I need to lay out the plan for everyone, so everyone knows what’s expected of them.”

• Manage: “I’m going to be involved in everything. I’m going to keep people focused on the task at hand. And if there are problems, we’re solving the problems before they become bigger issues.”

• Get out of the way: “I’m going to let people perform and do their job. I’m going to let them put their signature on their play and their performance just so they can take ownership of their job.”

For nearly 30 years, Munchak has held a job within the Oilers/Titans organization.

He was a first-round draft pick in 1982 who played guard for 12 years and earned nine Pro Bowl invitations. He retired having played 159 regular season games, more than all but three others throughout the organization’s history.

He immediately moved into coaching with the team, first as an offensive assistant and then, since 1997, as the offensive line coach.

He is one of five Oilers/Titans players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and now is the first former player ever to serve as the franchise’s head coach.

“He is an intense guy, but he is not a screamer or yeller,” tackle Michael Roos said. “He just gets the most out of his players because you want to do well for him.  That is the kind of respect that he commands, and he gets it.

“To be able to bring that to the head coaching position, I think it will trickle down to the entire team and bring focus and hard work. That is the kind of work ethic he demands.”

It is unusual, but hardly unprecedented, for a player who starred for an NFL team to later coach that team.

Green Bay tried it twice in a row with Bart Starr (1975-83) and Forrest Gregg (1984-87), two all-time greats from the Vince Lombardi era. Between them, they led the team to one playoff appearance.

Mike Ditka led the Chicago Bears to the NFL championship in 1985, nearly 20 years after he played his last game for that franchise.

Munchak called his sustained tenure with one franchise “a unique opportunity.” He also stressed that, despite never having served as a coordinator or a head coach at any level, he knows his new job and plans to do it. 

“I need to be a good leader,” Munchak said. “… In my opinion, this type of leadership plus good personnel decisions will translate to wins on the field. Ultimately, that’s how I’ll be judged as a head coach — by wins and losses.

“My vision is one day presenting the Lombardi Trophy to Mr. Adams and presenting to every person in this organization a Super Bowl ring.”

37 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 2/7/11 at 5:33

He is saying the things that Bud Adams wants him to say. The words are wonderful and Munchak is a good man just like Jeff Fisher. All the King's horses and all the King's men cannot change a 50 year history of being "mediocre."

Ol Bud thinks the PSL scheme will keep the seats sold but the bloom is off the flower.

By: TITAN1 on 2/7/11 at 5:33

The more I hear and read about Mike the more I like the hire. I think he has his own ideas and will be his own man and not try to copy anyone else. Looking forward to the next season.

By: TITAN1 on 2/7/11 at 5:59

frankbrown/richgoose, you try to speak for the REAL fans of the Titans, but you don't have a clue, just a lot of hot air as usual. So, I guess you are selling your PSLs since "The bloom is off the rose"? Go ahead, that is if you really have them, you won't have a problem. As for the four we own, we will always have them and have not heard of one person saying they are going to sell their PSLs. Do you want to know why? Because REAL Titans fans are behind our team through thick and thin. frankbrown/richgoose, you are nothing more than a blowhard joy sucker. I just keep reminding you of it hoping it will sink in one day.

By: courier37027 on 2/7/11 at 7:03

Let's see if TITAN1 is drinking the team's Kool-Aid if and when Munchak busts a player over discipline problems.

richgoose, I agree with your analysis. This article is typical presser, new coach template. Insert name and bio, borrow some corporate sports lingo, shove it down the mindless believers' throats.

By: serr8d on 2/7/11 at 7:12

I think we'll give Mike Munchak a chance, which is all we can do, really.

I listened to his press conference; it's clear he's highly motivated and has a great 'fire in the belly', something I can appreciate. His first task is hiring a supporting flank of coaches who will do the play-calling: which I think is THE most important task. I wish someone would've asked Mike how he plans to structure the offense: is he going to be a run-first coach, like Fisher, or are we to see more emphasis on (fan favorite!) pass plays?

Our top all-time receiver is Derrick Mason? Really? (He's currently #38 of 100 in a top NFL countdown I googled; many of those yards came at Baltimore). Randy Moss is ranked #2, second only to Jerry Rice, and we couldn't find him downfield to catch a pass ? Really ? That ticked me off.

By: TITAN1 on 2/7/11 at 7:46

courier, you have a very selective memory, that is, when you are able to remember anything at all. You never have anything good to say. It is only fitting you would agree with a joy sucking blowhard like frankbrown/richgoose.

serr8d, I agree that Mike seems very motivated and hopefully we will have a better passing game and get the ball in Britt's hands more. I think he has proven he is the real deal.

By: richgoose on 2/8/11 at 12:37

Titan1.........I suppose that since this is an opinion board that there should be people like you and I with differing opinions. I would remind you that Adolf Hitler sold his bull-hockey which led to the destruction of Europe and over 50 million people dead. He used rhetoric to fleece the German people into believing a duck could pull a truck.

Bud Adams and the Titans are a far cry from Adolf Hitler but the methodology is the same. It has been 50 years and 1 Super Bowl which ended in a loss. If this were your university or your own small town high school I could appreciate much more your lifetime support. The Oilers/Titans franchise is a "For Profit" business that has embarrassed Houston and now Nashville with it's "come into my web said the spider to the fly"

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 6:00

Yes, it is an opinion board and when it comes to the Titans, I remember when we didn't have a team and were on nobody's radar to have an NFL team. I thank Mr Adams and then Mayor Bredesen and all of us 'YES' voters for changing that. It wasn't our fault that Houston lost their team. The mayor they had at the time was trying to force the team to continue to play in the dilapidated Astrodome. Having the Titans here has been great. You have proven that you are just a very bitter individual and jump on anything that others like because misery loves company. For some reason some others who post here let you spew your nonsense without any response. When I see someone being negative I spread some positive because it is easy to be negative, it doesn't require any thinking, but that is what lazy people do. There are some here who agree with you but it is obvious why. Keep drowning in your pity pool but you never get this one to join you because unlike you, I LOVE life!

By: serr8d on 2/8/11 at 7:25

Frank Brown, is that you? I remember you. I don't recall your being so dawg-tired-depressed and out of it, though. Bringing 'Hitler' into a football thread? Hmmmph.

If you are a businessman, then you'll understand exactly what we're doing here, and should better than most. We've a product to sell; one that has to be competitive enough to attract a following year after year; one that competes with 31 other teams for a single prize. We're stuck with the product that's in our area. Bonus! We're stuck with the vagaries of an age-addled owner, who isn't really in our area, but does enjoy knifing his hometown-area Houston every chance he gets, which leads to unusual decisions from a local perspective (e.g. Vince Young). What can we do? Well, we can get on board, support a newly-hired good man and what's been a decent team, and enjoy ourselves. Or not.

You could always vote with your feets, sell your PSL's, move to a more 'winning' market.

You tolerate cold weather well? I hear Wisconsin needs more milk curdlers.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 7:42

Yes, it is the one who use to post as frankbrown until someone started posting under the name of the real frank brown and accused him of using his name, then he made the switch. I admit I'm a homer when it comes to my hometown Titans. There are fans like me then there are fans like serr8d (who had a very good blog) that give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. We are both fans of our team. Then there is frankbrown/richgoose who NEVER has anything good to say, heck, he might not even own PSLs as he once said he did. I'm looking forward to the Munchack era.

By: wataboutbob on 2/8/11 at 8:42

no whining = no Vince Young

Guess that's settled!

By: richgoose on 2/8/11 at 8:51

I appreciate those that support things that seem ridiculous to me. It is your right.
I on the other hand support the things that give me pleasure. Those things are always connected to winning and of course the wonderful dollar.

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 8:57

The Titans hire a new head coach in Mike Munchak, who hasn't even held the title for 24 hours, yet HALF the POSTERS on here and the MAJORITY of the NASHVILLE SPORTS MEDIA are saying IT'S A GREAT HIRE while the other half of the POSTERS are saying it's a BAD HIRE. The truth is, WE DON"T KNOW WHETHER THIS IS A GOOD HIRE OR A BAD HIRE RIGHT NOW AND WE WON'T KNOW FOR A COUPLE OF SEASONS OR SO. A lot of GREAT HIRES in the past have turned out to be FLOPS whereas a lot of so called BAD HIRES have turned out to be LEGENDS. I recently saw a HBO Documentry on Vince Lombardi. When Lombardi was first hired as coach of Green Bay, the Packer fans WEREN'T EXACTLY PLEASED with the choice of Vince Lombardi as Head Coach. Yet when he left the Packers, he was a NFL LEGEND and the Super Bowl Trophy is NAMED IN HIS HONOR. I'm not saying that Mike Munchak will be a LEGENDARY HEAD COACH or even a successful one, but we won't know for a few years whether is he was a Good Hire or a Bad Hire.

I'm also hearing reports that Mike Munchak may bring Bruce Matthews on to his coaching staff, possibly to coach the offensive line. Since Bruce's son, Jason, is on the team as an OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, does that not VIOLATED BUD"S NEPOTISM POLICY?

By: richgoose on 2/8/11 at 9:25

Professional sports have not done well since the 1949 Nashville Vols won the DIXIE SERIES.

Oops, I forgot the Music City Miracle! Well, it was not a championship but it was a window of what a championship teams and cities experience.

By: courier37027 on 2/8/11 at 9:32

richgoose, add the Sounds' Southern League title in 1979 and Pacific Coast League championship in 2005.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 9:47

jw, we are only 'predicting' not guaranteeing. I look at the glass half full so therefor I am predicting success.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 9:48

Except for frankbrown/richgoose, everything is always gloom and doom with him.

By: wayneCaluger on 2/8/11 at 9:52

I think we'll give Mike Munchak a chance, which is all we can do, really by: serr8d

I agree 100%. I like what he did not say and how he answered the Media questions. While most are disappointed Mike is not a seasoned head coach, Greg Williams who has been there before turned the Titans down and no doubt Cowher and other high on the list former Super Bowl coaches would have done the same.

From what he did not say it appears Munchak will evaluate every current Titan coach. Coaches hired will have to be cool level headed--no sideline screamers or coaches who cannot get along with the other coaches will be kept or hired. He was 100% correct that players look to these attributes that set the tone for the whole team.

He intendeds and expects everyone on the coaching staff to be tough like his former college head coach Joe Piterno, scream when you do something wrong in practice and then teach you the right way to do it or the way it wants it done. Like the tough school teacher you dreaded or disliked, one you now years later understand and respect. A 100% flip from the hands off approach of Jeff Fisher.

I feel he has a good handle on the situation knowing with potential late season practice schedule or none at all, now is not the time to overhaul either side of the line rather take what we have or get in the draft making adjustments based on personal. To have gone with a new head coach and major changes inserting all new offensive and defensive schemes would have been a real disaster.

His coaches he intends to hire of keep must be open to adapting based on personal. 4-3 defensive scheme now, but based on the draft, trades and free agents change to a 3-4 if you have the personal. Ditto on the offensive side.

His statement regarding CJ leads me the Titans offense will not be geared around to believe his 2000 plus personal record goals. "he will be used as we see fit and in other ways". No whining allowed

Not a bad choice! As Steve Hamilton always said about pitching, there is the right way and the best way. In this case Mike Munchak was the best choice!

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 10:27

jw, we are only 'predicting' not guaranteeing. I look at the glass half full so therefor I am predicting success

DID I SAY YOU WERE GUARANTEEING SUCCESS, IDIOT? No, I did not. I'm a REALIST and I'm just saying it is TOO EARLY to say whether he is a GOOD HIRE or BAD HIRE. He may be a GREAT hire, but we won't know for a few season whether hi is or not. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF IDIOTS LIKE YOU, I HOPE HE IS THE WORSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL. But for the rest of the Titan fans that don't worship at the feet and @$$ of Bud Adams, I hope he does okay.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 11:34

jw, I didn't say anything in a negative way toward you. You were whining about about how we thought Munch would do and I only reminded you that we were just making a prediction. Idiot? You might want to look in the mirror. I have tried to be civil to you but your hatred for my being a die hard fan of my hometown Tennessee Titans blinds you.

By: dangerlover on 2/8/11 at 12:45

jwk6179, there appears to be something wrong with the caps lock key on your keyboard,

Also, I'm confused: you claim that "for the sake of idiots like you, I hope he is the worse [sic] in the history of the NFL. But for the rest of the Titan [sic] fans...I hope he does okay."

So you hope he is the worst in NFL history but that he does okay.

Are drunk, or just stupid?

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 1:23

There again, you and that IDIOT TITAN1, are taking what I said out of content. TITAN1 got defensive on my first post stating that he was "Predicting" and not "GUARANTEEING" and I never said anything in my first post HIM and OTHERS Guaranteeing success. I said let's take a wait and see what kind of coach he is before we declare if Munchak was a GOOD HIRE or a BAD HIRE.

And as far as my second post, what I said is for people like TITAN1 that whose ENTIRE WORLD revolve around BUD ADAMS and the TITANS and NOTHING ELSE, I said I hope he turns out to be the worst hire ever. But for the Titans that have others interest in the life beside Bud Adams and the Titans, I said I hope it turns out to be a good hire.

And the REASON I CAPITALIZE IS TO GIVE EMPHESIZE CERTAIN PARTS OF MY ARGUEMENT!!!

By the way, TITAN1, since when did you become such CLOSE FRIENDS with MIKE MUNCHAK, that you can call him "Munch"?

By: dangerlover on 2/8/11 at 1:32

So you hope he is the worst hire ever who is also a good hire.

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 1:46

Well, that makes as much sense as a lot of things I've seen posted here. Do you make it a habit to question the post of EVERYONE on here? Or just the one's that hurts TITAN1's feelings?

By: dangerlover on 2/8/11 at 1:48

Just the ones that p1ss me off.

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 1:52

And what have I said in my post that has P1SSED YOU OFF?

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 1:54

jw, I just don't get you. First of all when I talk about the Titans online it is in a Titans story or forum. I don't worship the Titans or Bud Adams. I am thankful that we have them here representing Nashville and Middle Tennessee. If you really must know, I spend much of my time enjoying my grandchildren. The Titans are my favorite sports team, but sports is not my life. As for 'Munch', I forgot that a few weeks ago you whined about me calling players by their nicknames and said that it was pathetic. I reminded you that thousands of fans call players my their nicknames but then you said but it was worst when I did it. That shows that you might have a problem and should get some help. I hope it goes well for you.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 1:57

jw, you haven't pissed me off, I feel sorry for you.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 1:59

I should have said you haven't hurt my feelings, but you haven't pissed me off either.

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/11 at 2:01

Well, you refered to Cortland Finnegan as "Finny" a few weeks ago and I've NEVER heard anyone refer to Finnegan as "Finny", not even Jeff Fisher, Mike Keith or any of the memebers of the Nashville Sports Media.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 2:18

First of all, I don't make up nicknames for players. I have heard many fans call him Finny. Not sure why that bothers you.

By: gdiafante on 2/8/11 at 2:21

Munchak said no whining. Does that apply to fans as well?

I know, rhetorical.

By: richgoose on 2/8/11 at 2:39

Titan1...... If doom and gloom are in abundance then it is easy to see. I do not advocate doom and gloom I advocate good health,money and personal self-esteem. Everything else is for those that live their lives through others. If the Titans or the Commodores or whoever is winning I will be there if I am in town. Otherwise I have better things to do with my time.

By: TITAN1 on 2/8/11 at 2:44

Don't break a leg jumping on and off that band wagon.

By: wayneCaluger on 2/8/11 at 3:49

Like I said, it was more of what Mike didn't say and they way he answered.

Titans Announce Coaching Staff Changes: The Titans announced the following coaches will not be retained for next season: Offensive Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, Defensive Assistant Rayna Stewart and Offensive Assistant Richie Wessman

I feel the days of accepting the same old same old are turning around, both for players and coaches. We might see a For Lease sign at the Shady Pines Rest Home and players who don't produce will get to learn about MapQuest and how to look for new homes on line.

By: davidw@mercytn.org on 2/9/11 at 8:50

eaglesman
I was a season ticket holder in Houston for years . . . . let's don't forget that there was a reason why the folks of Houston didn't make much effort to keep the Oilers in Houston. They determined it was better to let "Bud and the boys" move on and start over again than to try and change the culture of mediocrity.

By: TITAN1 on 2/9/11 at 8:58

That is what many in Houston say, but I know personally many who did not want them to leave. Either way, Houston's loss, our gain.