"Dump Truck" Titans Keep Loading up Wins


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Mularkey drives a Nissan Pathfinder SUV, but he knows a thing or two about other vehicles on the road.

Still, he's not sure what to make of a comparison made over the weekend.

"This is not a Corvette. This is a dump truck," NBC analyst and former NFL head coach Tony Dungy said of Mularkey's Titans. "This is all they have got. Ugly, but they are winning."

The Titans are 8-4 heading into this Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Titans currently have the third-best record in the AFC, and they've won six of their last seven games.

Dungy made his comments after the team's 24-13 win over the Houston Texans. With a smile, Mularkey was asked about his team being called a "dump truck" during his Monday afternoon press conference.

Does he see it as a compliment?

"I really don't know what it means," Mularkey said. "If it means we're boring and we're a load to handle, I'm OK with that."

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Dungy responded to this story with a message, via Twitter: "Definitely meant as a compliment. Coach Mularkey and I have the same football background—old school, no frills football."

"We played that type of football for six years in Tampa and won a lot of games," Dungy added. "And not many teams looked forward to playing us."

For the record, the Merriam-Webster definition of a dump truck is as follows: an automotive truck for the transportation of bulk material that has a body which tilts to dump its contents.

Get a load of this: With Sunday's win, the Titans are now 4-1 vs AFC South teams. The team is now 9-1 at Nissan Stadium dating back to last season. The Titans have an 8-0 record in games decided by four points or less, dating back to last season. The Titans have wins over the Jaguars (8-4), Seahawks (8-4) and Ravens (7-5) this season.

Of their eight wins, five of them have come by six points or less, including wins of 3, 3, 4, 4 and 6 points. And the Titans lost early season games to the Texans (4-8) and Dolphins (5-7).

The Titans are ranked 22nd in the NFL on offense, and 11th in the NFL on defense.

A loss to the Steelers (40-17) on national television didn't leave a good impression back on November 16. Some national observers question the team's chances moving forward. One league observer had the Titans No.12 in his recent NFL Power Rankings, five spots behind the Jaguars (No.7) and even behind the 6-6 Chargers (10th).

"They benefit from an easy schedule," NBC analyst Rodney Harrison said of the Titans. While alongside Dungy, Harrison made his comments on NBC Football Night in America on Sunday night. "They are in first place so we have to show some level of respect … one and done in the playoffs?"

"Let's hope that they get to the playoffs," added Dungy.

Dungy said he likes the Titans and their "old-school" approach. Other national analysts have expressed doubts as well.

Mularkey said the national media doubting the Titans is "perfect" in his eyes.

"It's noise," Mularkey said. "That's the noise we talk about. … I think our guys know … the objective is to win every week. We're trying to do that, got to do it again – we've got to win the next one."

With four games left, the Titans are tied with the Jaguars atop the AFC South.

Mularkey and his players know they need to keep improving.

They also know winning is what matters most.

"Obviously everyone would love to have games where you blow teams out, and it doesn't come down to the fourth quarter," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "But this is the NFL, and it's not easy.

"But we keep finding ways to win, regardless of the situation. We just keep getting the job done."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 13 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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