Typically, NFL owners don’t say anything about a coach’s employment status until it changes, either via a contract extension or a termination.
Tommy Smith, who has assumed control of the Titans after the passing of his father-in-law, Bud Adams, is publicly talking about the decision Smith soon must make about coach Mike Munchak.
“It’s awful,” Smith tells Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “I have known Mike for 30 years, and it’s hard to find someone of higher character, with greater integrity than Mike Munchak. He is a very intelligent guy and a good man. We would like things to work out for Mike in that capacity.”
Smith seems to be willing to be less impulsive when it comes to the head coach than Smith’s predecessor may have been.
“Bud in the past would fire people at the drop of a hat,” Smith said. “I think sometimes you need to keep the gun in the holster. . . . I think we need to sit here and look at these three weeks, and let’s play hard. Let’s see if we can win some games. When we sit down with Mike at the end of the season I expect Mike to come in and tell me why he thinks we’re in the position we are, what he thinks needs to be done for us to improve.
“This thing didn’t fall apart overnight, and it’s not going to be put together overnight either. But we certainly had higher expectations than what we are seeing right now, across the board, I can assure you of that. Now let’s see if we can win three in a row.”
Smith praised Munchak, who has been employed by the franchise for more than three decades, for keeping his team focused and motivated.
“If there is anything that is a bright light, I believe the players are still playing hard for Mike, and I think that is a testimony to his character,” Smith said. “A lot of these other teams are not. We just need to finish out the season the best we can and then we’ll evaluate and see where things stand.”
At a time when few employees stay in the same place 30 months, here’s hoping that the man who has been with the Titans and Oilers for more than 30 years gets some more time to turn around a team that hasn’t had a true franchise quarterback since Steve McNair.