Titans coaches didn't dwell on upcoming opponent during bye

Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:43pm

Tennessee Titans coaches have had plenty of time to study the Jacksonville Jaguars. Too much time, according to head coach Mike Munchak.

“This time of year, there are so many games,” he said. “There are 10 games you can go watch, and you can go drive yourself crazy with, ‘Hey, did you see this in Week 2?’ It’s a lot of things to look at, so if you get overwhelmed watching too much and worrying about too many things … I don’t know.

“Sometimes I think it’s a disadvantage to have too much time.”

In an attempt to make the most of their time, therefore, Munchak and his staff put most of their effort into watching a team they already knew well — or so it would seem.

They studied the Titans. They looked for tendencies in order to avoid unpredictability over the final six games of the season, beginning Sunday at Jacksonville (noon, CBS). They also drew conclusions about the team’s strengths and weaknesses in order to know what things needed the most attention Monday, when players practiced for the first time in a week.

“[We] had a pretty good workout, just covered a lot of situations,” Munchak said. “[We] had a long individual period, about 30 minutes where we could work on a lot of technique stuff, a lot of stuff we wanted to work on with tackling, things like that and different drills. Then [we] came out and covered all the different scenarios, the red zone, the run game, converting on third down, getting off the field, protecting versus blitz, two-minute, a little bit of everything.

“… I thought that worked well, good tempo, a lot of reps, competing against each other, which really picks things up when you’re going ones-on-ones a lot. It was good work, and a good way to get back into it.”

He noted it was similar to the approach they took with the extra time following their Thursday night victory over Pittsburgh on Oct. 11. Their next game was a 37-34 victory over the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee’s first road victory of the season.

Last season, Munchak’s first as coach, the Titans had their bye in Week 6 and lost 41-7 at home to Houston in the next contest.

This season it took twice as long to get to the break in the schedule.

“When you’re in such a grind for 10 weeks and all of a sudden, you take some time off, it is different,” Munchak said. “It does take a little bit to get back into it. I figured this was better to get into it, break a good sweat, get some good work, get back into it mentally, and then get back on their Tuesday routine, where some guys come in for treatment, some guys start watching tape tomorrow, whatever that may be.

“Then we’ll get to work on Wednesday.”

Plus, it kept his staff from being too consumed with the Jaguars.

“Coaches tend to overthink things,” Munchak said. “You start watching too much tape.”

Briefly

• Jacksonville announced Monday that Chad Henne would be their starting quarterback Sunday.

A starter for two seasons in Miami (2009, 2010), Henne threw for 354 yards Sunday in an overtime loss to Houston after he replaced injured starter Blaine Gabbert. Coach Mike Mularkey said the decision was based on performance, not Gabbert’s health.

“[He’s] a quarterback that has been around, that obviously had a good game [Sunday], made a lot of good throws,” Munchak said. “They were in position to beat the No. 1 team in the league in Houston.”

• Munchak said last week was good for his quarterback, Jake Locker, who returned from a shoulder injury in the 37-3 victory at Miami that preceded the bye.

“He’s a young player,” Munchak said. “He just wants to get out there and keep playing. But I think in the long run, it does help him with his shoulder and the soreness. He had more parts of his body sorer than the shoulder. I think his shoulder really wasn’t that bad. It was more legs and upper body and playing in an NFL game for the first time in six weeks.”