NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mike Munchak will be back as Titans coach for another year. Chief operating officer Mike Reinfeldt is out after the franchise's second 6-10 season in three years.
Munchak announced owner Bud Adams' decision at his news conference Monday. The coach said Adams, who turns 90 on Wednesday, understands the challenges the Titans faced when Munchak took over in February 2011. Munchak said he knows his boss for 30 years wants a championship and realizes what the Titans faced in deciding to keep him for the third year on his four-year contract.
"He felt that move (firing the coach) right now wasn't the right move to make so hopefully I'll prove him right,'' Munchak said.
The Titans won two of their last three games to finish 6-10 after going 9-7 a year ago.
Reinfeldt, a former Houston Oilers player for Adams, was promoted to chief operating officer and senior executive vice president in January after five seasons as general manager. He released a statement Monday evening.
"Although I am extremely disappointed in the decision, I thank Mr. Adams for the opportunity over the last six years," Reinfeld said. "Having moved into this expanded role in February, I’m not only proud that we are on pace for a successful financial year, but confident that Ruston (Webster) and Mike (Munchak) have made significant strides on the football field and are a move or two away from taking the next step. I certainly understand and share in the frustration of Mr. Adams and all Titans fans, there are a great deal of good people here and patience is probably prudent at this point. I have supported this franchise as a player and executive and wish it nothing but success in the future."
Munchak pointed out the NFL lockout wiped out free agency before his first season. They signed defensive end
"So we're going to have a chance to add some players,'' Munchak said. "We have some money to do so.''
The Titans also need to heal up. They finished the season with 16 players on injured reserve and played the final five games without four of their projected five starting offensive linemen, middle linebacker
Munchak is busy reviewing his assistants, but said he's making no personnel changes right now. With so many firings around the league already, he will have plenty of options to make changes, with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray the biggest question mark.
But Munchak defended Gray, noting the Titans ranked eighth in fewest points allowed in 2011. He said the Titans must fix the defense so it doesn't happen again.
"Do I make a change just to make a change so it looks like I attacked that problem because I added a new coach? Or do we do it because the coach actually gives us a better chance to become better?'' Munchak said.
He fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer on Nov. 26, giving the job in the interim to quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. Munchak also brought in veteran coach Tom Moore in December. Moore could be an option for coordinator with Loggains moving back to quarterbacks coach if Moore can be convinced to stick around.
Munchak defended the last two drafts. Linebacker
Johnson said the Titans need a lot of leadership to get back to the playoffs.
"The leaders on this team need to step up and just work hard during the offseason and then bring the younger guys along with us,'' Johnson said after the finale. "It's a situation where we have to work harder and continue to come out here and try to get better at each position.''