NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coaches are intensifying the study of their own players during this week’s bye.
A week after players and coaches looked in the mirror and answered a disappointing loss to Chicago with a convincing win at Miami, the coaches are spending a lot of time this week with the video projectors.
Most players, meanwhile, are resting and recovering in the area, in their hometowns or in special destinations. Bye weeks were added to the NFL schedule in 1990, and this is the latest the bye week has fallen in franchise history.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said not needing to prepare for an opponent this week will allow the Titans to “see what our tendencies are, spend a lot of time over the next couple of days on those kinds of things of what we’re doing, how other teams look at us as an offense, defense, special teams.”
Munchak said coaches will evaluate which plays, groupings, offensive concepts and defensive schemes have yielded the most success and which ones haven’t been successful. The second-year head coach opted to give players nearly a full week off after mandatory meetings Monday, and the players will return next Monday for film study and a padded practice as they prepare to visit Jacksonville on Nov. 25 and surge in their final six games.
“We’ll have a good, competitive practice with pads on Monday,” Munchak said. “We thought that was better to get a great work day when they get back in town (on. Nov. 19) and have a good offense-versus-defense-type of day and work on situations we think we need to work on, then have a Tuesday off and start a normal game week.”
The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement that went into effect last season stipulates that players must receive four consecutive days off during the bye week that overlap a weekend. Rather than trying to squeeze in a workout Wednesday, Munchak opted to have a more productive practice next Monday. He shared the plan with the team after the win at Buffalo so players could plan accordingly.
The Titans want to build off their 37-3 win at Miami against the Dolphins (4-5) and know how important each week will be down the stretch. There are six AFC teams that have more wins than Tennessee (4-6), but the Titans have four division games remaining, along with hosting the New York Jets on Monday Night Football on Dec. 17 and a trip to Green Bay on Dec. 23.
Munchak said players came back after three days off that followed the win at Pittsburgh and played “pretty well” at Buffalo.
“This is a little bigger than that,” Munchak said. “I think it’s just something we need, mentally and physically because of what we’ve been through. I’m glad we won it because we needed it. It will be a lot easier to mentally be more positive when we do come back. I think we will be fine. I think the fact that you’re 4-6 and not far from being in the pile (will help).
“We know we have to win three, four games in a row to kind of get it where we need to get it,” Munchak added. “That’s not going to be easy to do. Hopefully, we use it to a positive.”
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Cook said. “That’s what coach kind of got up and said (Monday). We’ve got to come out and just finish the season, the last six weeks with a bang, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I’m confident in my teammates,” Cook added. “I saw it displayed this past week, and I know the talent that we have on this team. I know we can do it.”