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Tag:Mike Munchak
Posted on: January 18, 2012 8:39 pm
 

Colts looking to interview Jerry Gray, Carmichael

Jerry Gray likely will interview for the Indianapolis job (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Jerry Gray, the Titans defensive coordinator whose unit was the 18th best this season in yards allowed and eighth-best in points given up, likely will interview to replace Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis. The Tennessean reports the Colts have asked the Titans for permission to talk to Gray.

Gray was the defensive coordinator in Buffalo from 2001-05, and in two of those years (2003, 2004) the Bills were one of the top defensive teams in the league. He then was a secondary coach in Washington for four seasons before moving to Tennessee under coach Mike Munchak.

As a cornerback who played nine years in the NFL, Gray made four Pro Bowls.

“Jerry has a number of qualities that I think are assets for this role: he played the game, he coached a position group and he has coordinating experience,” Munchak said after he hired Gray before last season. “I respected him as a player and coach and he was someone that I knew right away that I wanted to talk to about the position. … He is a great teacher and a great person, and I think the players will respond well to his style.”

And if Gray gets the Indianapolis job, Munchak might be in a bind.

As ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky wrote earlier this month, “While the Titans' defense lacked the pieces to be a consistent unit, it was moving in the right direction in 2011. Players respond to Gray and respect him.

“If he leaves, there is no clear replacement on staff. Linebackers coach Frank Bush had a disastrous term as the Texans coordinator. Senior assistant Dave McGinnis lost his position job to Bush as the staff took shape and has been passed over the last two times the post opened.”

The Colts haven’t just been focusing on Gray, though. As Rapid Reporter Tom James writes, Indianapolis also has asked the Saints for permission to interview offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael. The Raiders also are set to interview Carmichael.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:18 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 11:53 am
 

Report: O'Brien set to become Penn State coach

Brady and O'BrienBy Josh Katzowitz

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be Penn State's next football coach, according to a USA Today report.

As NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora originally reported, O’Brien had emerged as a candidate to become Joe Paterno’s successor at Penn State after Titans coach Mike Munchak said he had no interest in that job. Now, USA Today's Jon Saraceno is reporting that “only contract details need to be finalized before O'Brien is the man.”

The last time we heard from O’Brien, he and Tom Brady were in a screaming match on the sideline during the Redskins game after Brady threw a bad interception in the end zone.

That shone an unfortunate spotlight on O’Brien, who’s been in charge of New England’s offense for the past year (and with the team as its quarterback coach for the past three seasons) and has helped the Patriots become the second-ranked offense in the league by yards and third-ranked by points. O’Brien -- whose contract expires at the end of this season -- has never been a head coach at the pro or college level, though he was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech. LaCanfora writes he also could have interest in the Chiefs head coaching job.

Titans first-year coach and Penn State alumnus Mike Munchak has been courted heavily by the school. Though Munchak has been more than definitive, more reports have emerged that say Munchak still is thinking about it.

Also, Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements supposedly participated in a phone interview with Penn State, but that news quickly was denied by all parties.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Munchak: 'I have no interest' in Penn State job

Munchak has 'no interest' in following Paterno at PSU. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Earlier Wednesday, we passed along the report that Penn State's top choice to replace Joe Paterno was first-year Titans coach Mike Munchak. Penn State can't talk to him, though, because he's in the middle of a playoff run.

Not that it will really matter -- Munchak told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean on Wednesday that he has "no interest" in taking over in State College.

"I love my alma mater, but I have no interest in being the head coach at Penn State,” Munchak said. "I never want to leave Tennessee. I have a great deal of respect for Penn State and I hope they find a great coach there. But I am happy where I'm at."

This shouldn't be an entirely surprising development: Munchak's a former Nittany Lion, but he's also been involved with the Titans and/or Oilers for nearly 30 years, first as a player and then as a coach.

Plus, the Penn State job isn't exactly an easy one: taking over for Paterno involves filling impossibly big shoes and simultaneously handle a nightmare situation involving former coach Jerry Sandusky that's guaranteed to remain in the national spotlight for a lengthy period of time.

Give credit to Munchak, though, for handling these rumors well -- the former Nittany Lion's being honest with the media while also managing to support his alma mater.

"I am set where I am at," Munchak said. "I am thrilled with what I am doing. I am not interested in the Penn State job. I am interested in what happens there, and I don’t want to distance myself from Penn State. But as far as the head coaching deal, I am. I would love to be involved in my alma mater. My point is I have no interest in being the head coach there."

With Munchak (somewhat officially) turning down Penn State, the university's search committee will now reportedly take a look at Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: December 28, 2011 11:03 am
 

Report: Mike Munchak tops Penn State search list

By Will Brinson

Titans coach Mike Munchak's done good work in Tennessee during his first season -- his team still has a longshot of snagging a Wild Card -- and it hasn't gone unnoticed, as Munchak is reportedly on the top of the search committee list for Penn State.

Nearly two months ago, Joe Paterno was fired as head coach of the Nittany Lions and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Munchak is the "top pick of the search committee" to replace Joe Pa.

Tom Clements, the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach, is reportedly the backup plan in the event Munchak declines to take the job with Penn State. Clements, a Notre Dame grad, has interviewed twice already, although not yet in person.

Penn State's said they're taking a "measured approach" to the search, but has said that the school wants a new coach in place before Penn State's bowl game. Given that Munchak's final regular-season game with the Titans is January 1 and the Nittany Lions play in the TicketCity Bowl on January 2, that seems like a stretch.

Munchak, drafted in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, was an offensive lineman for Penn State from 1978-1981 and was a second-team All-American in his senior year.

"Mike would be a great fit," former Penn State running back Curt Warner said per the Post-Gazette. "He's a Penn State guy. I don't think any of his old teammates would be upset about him getting the job at all. He has my support. I'd love to see him get it."

But Munchak told Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean that he's not interested in the gig.

"Nothing is going on," Munchak said, "People like to speculate."

The question will probably come down to where Munchak's loyalty lies the most: he played with the Oilers his entire career and has coached in the organization (either with the Titans or Oilers) ever since. That's since 1983, mind you, and it's probably enough time to cancel out his four years spent in State College.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:09 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 2:25 am
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 13

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 13 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Cam Matthews Tolbert Coughlin
Judge  Tebow Harrison   Brown  Kubiak
Prisco Rodgers  Houston  Brown  Kubiak
Brinson  Cam Harrison  Brown  Kubiak
Katzowitz  Rice  Smith  Brown Munchak
Wilson  Cam Harrison  Brown  Carroll
Week 13 is a wrap and that means awards time!

Props to rookie quarterback Cam Newton for his first-ever division win, his first-ever NFL winning streak and now, his first-ever Eye on Offense Award!

On defense, we had a tie between Clay Matthews and James Harrison. Since Harrison's picture scares me more (my defacto tiebreaker these days), he got the nod for our Eye on Defense Award. Sorry, Clay.

Antonio Brown, who returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown as the Steelers whipped the Bengals, nearly swept the Eye on Special Teams Award.

And Gary Kubiak provided the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with its first start at quarterback by an alumni in the NFL ... and got the win with rookie T.J. Yates. That's worth something, right?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Cam Newton Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Newton scored his 13th rushing touchdown this season. He ran for three alone against Tampa Bay on Sunday but did you see how he jumped over the Bucs defense on one of them? It was like a Michael Jordan dunk. It was crazy.

Tim TebowTim Tebow, QB, Broncos
People said he can't throw, so he puts up a passer rating of 149.3. They said the Broncos couldn't win with him, but they're 6-1. Maybe it's time to start looking for what's right with the guy instead of what's wrong ... and what's right is that he has Denver in first in the AFC West.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Tony Romo Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
He completed 28 of 46 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns against the Giants. He also drove the Packers to the game-winning field goal in the final minute. Give him this award every week.
Cam NewtonCam Newton, QB, Panthers
Newton set an NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback on Sunday with his 13th on the season. Three of those came Sunday as Newton had arguably his best game as a pro, also throwing for another score. It was his first win in the division.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Ray RiceRay Rice, RB, Ravens
Remember how we criticized the Ravens for not giving Rice enough touches (and somehow John Harbaugh defending the strategy)? Yeah, this is what happens when Rice gets plenty of opportunities – 204 yards on 29 carries and a TD. Hopefully, Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron have learned their lessons.
Cam Newton Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Not only is Newton the rookie of the year, you could make a good case that he's a top-10 NFL quarterback. Against the Buccaneers, he was 12 of 21 for 201 yards and a touchdown, but he also scored three more times on the ground. Oh, and he hauled in a 27-yard pass, too. This ain't your Jimmy Clausen Carolina Panthers.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Clay MatthewsClay Matthews, LB, Packers
The Packers defense isn't great and it can be had but every week it seems Matthews makes some sort of huge play. He did it again against New York with a pick-six. No, the Packers defense has holes but Matthews continues to make offenses pay.
James Harrison James Harrison, LB, Steelers
He had a team-high three sacks in the Steelers' 35-7 shredding of Cincinnati, keeping Pittsburgh on track with Baltimore in the AFC North. The Steelers' defense was supposed to wear down as the season went on. Instead, it's getting better,  allowing 16 points in its last two starts.
Prisco Brinson
Justin HoustonJustin Houston, LB, Chiefs
This rookie from Georgia had three sacks and spent the day in the Bears backfield. Houston gives the Chiefs another option on the other side from Tamba Hali. Three, zero, zero and three sacks, respectively, in four games.
Clay MatthewsClay Matthews, LB, Packers
For as much as junk as the Packers defense takes for giving up a ton of points, it's important to remember they've got a pile of playmakers -- Matthews proved that with a pick six of Eli Manning that ended up being the difference in the Packers shootout win over the Giants.
Katzowitz Wilson
Aldon Smith Aldon Smith, LB, 49ers
Aside from the fact Smith recorded two sacks against the Rams, his celebration after his final sack was awesome. Instead of dancing like a maniac, he sprinted to the sideline, tried not to touch anybody and just sat on the bench. It was awesome, sort of like Smith’s performance.
James Harrison James Harrison, LB, Steelers
Harrison missed four games in the middle of the season with an eye injury but since returning to the lineup in Week 9 he has six sacks, three coming against a Bengals offensive line that had done a good job of protecting Andy Dalton all season.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Mike TolbertMike Tolbert, RB, Chargers
The play he made on kickoff coverage wasn't the kind of play you will see on highlights across the country but it was damn impressive. Tolbert completely annihilated a kick return by the Jaguars. I mean, it was a textbook, single-handed destruction. And remember: Tolbert is one of the key cogs on offense and he still sacrifices his body like that.
Antonio Brown Antonio Brown, WR/KR, Steelers
H His 60-yard punt return for a touchdown finished off Cincinnati in a game that was supposed to be closer than it was. One reason it wasn't: Antonio Brown. The guy's been a productive receiver all year, but he pushed the Steelers to their third straight win and seventh in eight games with a nifty punt return. Hey, the more you can do ...
Prisco Brinson
Antonio BrownAntonio Brown, WR/KR, Steelers
He has emerged as a big-time receiver this season, but he's still a good return man. He had a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown to make it 28-7 at the half against the Bengals.
Antonio BrownAntonio Brown, WR/KR, Steelers
Brown's one of the more underrated all-around performers  in the NFL. A big sleeper coming into his second season, the Pittsburgh wideout's begun blowing up as of late and doing it all over the field -- Sunday he took a punt 60 yards to the house to finish off the Bengals by halftime.
Katzowitz Wilson
Antonio Brown Antonio Brown, WR/KR, Steelers
Aside from his 45-yard catch that helped set up the Steelers first score, Brown also finished off Cincinnati late in the first half. After the Bengals scored to get some momentum and cut the lead to two touchdowns, Brown took a Kevin Huber punt and returned it 60 yards for the score to give Pittsburgh a 28-7 lead. And that was basically ballgame.
Antonio Brown Antonio Brown, WR/KR, Steelers
Pittsburgh hasn't been known for their coverage or return teams for some time but young players are changing that. Brown is not only an emerging talent at wideout, he's a dangerous return man, too. His 60-yard punt return against the Bengals capped a 28-point second quarter for the Steelers.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Bill BelichickTom Coughlin, HC, Giants
I know, unusual choice, but seeing the Giants against the Packers after they were debacled the previous week, was interesting to see. Coughlin had his team ready and I don't think there's going to be a Giants collapse. For once.

Gary Kubiak Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He wins without his top defensive player. He wins without his top offensive player. He wins without his starting QB. Now he wins with a rookie third-string QB, beating Atlanta behind T.J. Yates. Kubiak was supposed to be fighting for his job. Instead, he's jockeying for playoff position.
Prisco Brinson
Gary KubiakGary Kubiak, HC, Texans
Kubiak, after losing both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to injury, beat the Falcons, who are a good team with rookie T.J. Yates making his first start. That's impressive. 
Gary KubiakGary Kubiak, HC, Texans
The meltdown is supposed to happen, because this is the Texans we're talking about. But no matter who goes down for Kubiak's team, he keeps the ship righted and Houston steered towards the franchise's first playoff berth. A win over would-be contender Atlanta was especially impressive.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Mike Munchak, HC, Titans
Tennessee went to Buffalo and beat the fading Bills, and if you wanted to know why, you could point to Chris Johnson’s 23-carry, 153-yard, two-touchdown performance. But considering Johnson has had about two strong games this year and yet, the Titans are 7-5 and in the AFC wild card race, Munchak deserves plenty of credit.
Hue Jackson Pete Carroll, HC, Seahawks
Beating the Eagles in Week 13 doesn't carry quite the cachet as doing it earlier in the season but the Seahawks are one of the league's most improved teams over the last month. They steamrolled Philly last Thursday and if the 49ers hadn't run away with NFC West, Seattle might be in the running for another 7-9 division title.



Posted on: November 6, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 11:13 am
 

Could Titans part ways with Chris Johnson?

What's going on with Chris Johnson in Tennessee? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's Week 9 and Titans running back Chris Johnson, one of the NFL's best players right up till the moment he signed that huge contract in the offseason, has a grand total of 302 yards this season.

Things have gotten so bad so fast that head coach Mike Munchak had to publicly announce that he had no plans to bench his running back. And there's even talk that the organization could choose to walk away from Johnson at some point in the near future. NFL Network's Jason La Canfora broke down Johnson's contract details Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning.

"[The Titans] looked at this as a long-term deal … but there are always certain caveats. [Johnson] got $30 million guaranteed. Thirteen million of it came this year -- that was fully guaranteed. The other $17 million is not at this point fully guaranteed for injury and skill -- just injury.

"So because of diminished production, he could be let go at some point. Eight million of that $17 million will come the fifth day of the league year in 2012 -- in March -- the other $9 million comes a year after that. Then it becomes fully guaranteed for both.

"So conceivably, [the Titans] could get out after one year for $13 million. After two years, if this continues into 2012, for $22 million. And if [Johnson] doesn't get 1,000 yards rushing this year, $300,000 comes off his $8 million salary in 2012."

A league source tells PFT.com's Mike Florio that several teams think Tennessee could release Johnson before the fifth day of the 2012 league year precisely for the reasons La Canfora outlined above.

Johnson's productivity falling off a cliff is certainly surprising -- the man averaged 1,500 rushing yards per year in his first two seasons (including 5.0 yards per carry) -- but the real story here is the organization's decision to give a running back a huge pay day.

We wrote about it three months ago before Johnson got his money and we'll mention it again in the hopes that other teams learn from Tennessee's mistake: of all the positions on an NFL roster, running back is among the easiest to replace. The takeaway: don't devote a non-trivial slice of the salary cap to them because there are certain to be bigger, harder-to-fill needs on the team.


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Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:33 pm
 

Chris Johnson admits he's frustrated with play

What's going on with Chris Johnson in Tennessee? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Back in August, before the Titans gave running back Chris Johnson a four-year, $53.5 million deal, we wrote that the Tennessee shouldn't pay him. Yes, Johnson's one of the league's top backs, and yes, he would've been underpaid (he was set to make $1.05 million in 2011), but running backs are among the easiest positions on the roster to replace, and the Titans had plenty of other needs after winning just six games in 2010 and drafting a franchise quarterback in April.

Obviously, the front office disagreed and gave Johnson a new contract that included $30 million in guaranteed dough. Now, six games into the season, Johnson is among the NFL's worst-performing backs. In Sunday's 41-7 loss to the Texans, Johnson managed just 18 yards on 10 carries. It didn't help that after the game he seemed uninterested in taking responsibility.

“Basically, if you are watching the game and you really can’t tell what is going on with the run game then I would say you really don’t know football,’’ Johnson said. “I wouldn’t say I am the issue. I am very confident I have been doing the things … I do.”

Like averaging 1.8 yards per rush?

On Wednesday, the Tennessean's David Climer writes that Johnson "evokes memories of Vince Young." Yikes.
The whole What’s up with CJ? is this season’s unfolding mini-drama, so much so that it risks becoming a distraction in the locker room and on the field. Try as he might, Munchak can’t get away from it.

This is strangely similar to Jeff Fisher’s constant balancing act with Young in the previous five years. Back then, there was an unmistakable air of unease between coach and quarterback. Fisher denied it for the longest time. Young did, too, at least until he was released by the Titans.
To coach Mike Munchak's credit, he downplayed Johnson's comments, perhaps in an effort to move the conversation away from one of the team's most underwhelming players.

On Wednesday, Johnson clarified is remarks.

“I take a lot of accountability on myself,” he said. “Anytime I go out, no matter what the outcome is or anything like that, no matter what the stats look like or anything, I always (am) hard on myself.”

He also admitted that his poor performance left him as emotional as he's ever been.

“That was as frustrated as I’ve been throughout this whole year or my whole career,” he said. “Just (knowing) how good we are as a team and as a unit, and for us not to be out there showing it on Sunday, it’s just frustrating.”

The Titans play the Colts this week. If Johnson can't get on track against Indy, he'll be introduced to a whole new level of frustrating.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:40 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Munchak: We looked at Lloyd, will look at TO too

The Titans could kick the tires on Terrell Owens in the coming weeks. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Titans lost Kenny Britt for the season to a knee injury in Week 3. Days later, the team signed Rams former second-rounder Donnie Avery, who is still learning the offense. That should change soon, though.

“This will be his third week with the team,” head coach Mike Munchak said on his radio show Tuesday (via the Tennessean). “We feel comfortable hopefully that he’ll be able to go in and start pushing the ball down the field a little bit. He’ll start getting more reps in games. We have to start getting him involved and take advantage of some of the things he can do with his speed and his experience.”

Getting Avery more involved may have been important all along, but now it's a necessity. Munchak also revealed that the Titans took a long look at Brandon Lloyd, the big-play wideout who the Rams acquired from the Broncos earlier this week.

“We looked hard at him, no doubt,” Munchak said. “We’ve looked at every opportunity. We’re always looking to upgrade and we lost Kenny Britt … We have young guys we know can step up – Damian Williams and Marc Mariani and Lavelle Hawkins.”

Through four games, Williams, Mariani and Hawkins have combined for 24 receptions, 211 yards and two touchdowns. (Mariani also doubles as a returner where he averages 6.5 yards per punt return and 28.2 yards per kickoff return.)

Munchak cited several reasons why the organization ultimately passed on Lloyd.

“I think it was part business, part what they were looking for at one time as far as what they wanted,” Munchak said. “His contract is also up (after this year), meaning we’d only have him for 11 weeks and then there’s a good chance we could lose him to free agency next year."

In Britt's absence, Nate Washington is the Titans' No. 1 receiver (28 catches, 389 yards, 1 TD). And while the Titans may be happy with Washington's production, they were also interested in adding another downfield target. That not only helps quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, but opens things up in the running game, surely something Chris Johnson would welcome.

“We were looking at [Lloyd] because he is a talent and did have a great year last year. We just played against him a couple of weeks ago, so we know how good he can be. But unfortunately it didn’t get worked out.”

But Tennessee isn't done looking. Munchak said that they'll keep an eye on 37-year-old Terrell Owens when he's healthy.

“That’s something that at some point when (Owens’) health is better and he can pass a physical – people thought the midpoint of the season, maybe – he might be a guy that may be able to to work out to prove where he’s at,” he said. “So of course us, or whoever else, is going to take a look, just like we have with other free agents, to see what kind of shape he’s in.”

Any future Owens might have with the team will be contingent on, among other things, his health, as well as how the Titans' current crop of wideouts perform in the coming weeks.

“A lot is going to depend for us on how we are producing at that (wide receiver) postion three weeks or two weeks from now, and how we’re doing (overall),” Munchak said. “All those things will factor into it. But I’m sure whenever you’ve got a player that has his capabilities, everyone’s going to know exactly where he’s at. If he has a way of helping our team win, then for sure you’re going to take a look at him.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com