Online Now 27

McCormick: Munchak puts his stamp on Titans

One thing I've learned about Mike Munchak in the short time he has been head coach is that football and the Tennessee Titans are first and foremost on his agenda.

Another thing I've learned about Munchak is that he is not Jeff Fisher. And that's probably a good thing.

Until he assumed command a few weeks ago, Munchak was mostly an anonymous type, toiling in the background and usually getting solid production from his offensive line group.

That anonymity was even a little bit unusual, given that Munchak forged out a Hall of Fame career as an offensive guard for the Houston Oilers.
But even with his player credentials, Munchak comes off as one who prefers not to call attention to himself and simply get the job done. It's that offensive line mentality where notoriety usually only comes with a false start or a holding penalty.

What Munchak has done in a short period of time is completely change the culture among the coaching staff at Baptist Sports Park.

Long off-season vacations, afternoon golf outings and the country club atmosphere that prevailed in the final years of Fisher's tenure will be in short supply on Munchak's watch until the problems that have beset the team and the organization are fixed. And even when they are, don't expect the laxness to return in full force.

For all his coaching ability, the things Fisher was best at in his 17 years with the organization were maintaining his image and job security and securing more power along the way. He won an epic battle with Floyd Reese in 2006, and shortly before his departure, another one with Vince Young earlier this year.

For those who worried that Munchak would be Fisher 2.0, fear not.

Was Fisher a good coach? Yes, good, but not great as his reputation had been built up to be over his long span in Tennessee. His reputation improved because he came off as likeable and charming, he managed to wield a lot of power inside the organization and throughout the league as co-chairman of the NFL competition committee.

Plus, he was the face of the organization, as comfortable around celebrity friends like Kenny Chesney, Michael W. Smith and Martina McBride as he was in front of the cameras. In short, Fisher was as much image as he was football coach, and polished that image through a good relationship with most of the national media. In the early days when the franchise needed to be marketed to a new fan base, that was beneficial.

But that act had grown tiresome, stale and complacent in the wake of numerous 8-8s and last year's 6-10. It was time for the Titans move in the opposite direction.

And Munchak, a loyal company man for nearly three decades, is quickly remaking the team in his own image. Only a scant few coaches from Fisher's regime survived the transition.

Munchak's mantra is about hard work, a blue collar approach that he will expect not only from his players, but his coaches and the support staff as well.

With Munchak, the focus is already about improving the bottom line โ€“ winning football games. He has already said that excuses won't be tolerated. While it might take some time to completely remake everything in the Munchak mold, that process is already in the works.

In other words, expect more blitz and less glitz on Mike Munchak's watch as the Titans head coach.

Already have an account? Sign In