NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mike Munchak is sticking both with his approach and his Tennessee Titans right now despite two ugly losses and a run game that remains the worst in the NFL.
The Titans (3-3) turned in the most lopsided home loss since moving into LP Field in 1999 with a 41-7 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, and they were outplayed in every category. The Titans have been outscored 79-24 in the losses, and losing to Houston cost them the lead in the AFC South.
Munchak understands people want change or something to blame, but he said Monday it's not time to panic. He doesn't see any personnel changes yet because the Titans have been productive throwing the ball and on defense with the exception of the past two games.
"You have to have confidence in what you're doing,'' Munchak said.
"If you show you're going to change things every time you have a bad day, you have to be smart about it. But it's just one of those things ... That's why we feel good about what we're doing. We don't feel good about how things transpired yesterday, but we still feel good about how we're teaching things, how we're doing things.''
The schedule offers a good chance to snap this skid. Indianapolis (0-7) visits this weekend.
But the run game has been a problem all season and remains the worst in the NFL averaging 64.3 yards per game. Against the Texans, the Titans also couldn't catch in racking a season-low 148 yards in total offense. Matt Hasselbeck turned in his worst game in Tennessee as well, throwing 14 of 30 for 104 yards and a passer rating of 38.8 due to two interceptions.
Munchak defended the quarterback, saying the veteran can't be expected to be perfect for 16 games.
The coach was asked about changing out left guard Leroy Harris and playing backup Fernando Velasco to help the running game. Munchak said this isn't the point of the season to make changes in an offensive line that is in its second season together. Munchak, the Hall of Fame offensive lineman and former offensive line assistant coach, defended the line for its strong pass protection this season.
"Two weeks ago, we're 3-1 thinking we're a pretty good football team,'' Munchak said. "I know we're struggling with the run game most of the season other than maybe one game. We're not running it the way we'd like to, but when you change the offensive line it can't be a one-week thought. ... You may mess up more things.''
Johnson had only 10 carries in the loss to Houston for 18 yards, and the running back who sat out the preseason to get a $53 million contract extension said after the game he's confident he's doing what he's supposed to do. Munchak said he hadn't heard those comments but said everyone shares the blame for the struggles.
"Chris has had a great career here in three short years. I think it's hard when you're going through a spot for the first time in his career he's not having the success he's had for three years. I think all athletes struggle with that concept ... To run the ball well, it takes 10 other guys,'' Munchak said.
Munchak wouldn't share how many missed tackles coaches counted, and he also wouldn't give up the linebacker out of position when Arian Foster caught a short pass and finished off a 78-yard touchdown. He said they know they played poorly in a lot of areas, which they must fix and play much better when hosting Indianapolis (0-7) this weekend but he doesn't think his Titans just went through the motions.
"It shows you in this league how quickly things can change if you're not doing your job,'' Munchak said.
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan agreed with Munchak that the Titans have proven they can be explosive on offense and stingy on defense. Before going to Pittsburgh, they hadn't given up more than 16 points in a game, and Finnegan said they're not proud of giving up nearly 80 points the past two games.
The cornerback said the key is each player executing his assignment. He sees teammates definitely upset.
"You've got to be self-critical,'' Finnegan said. "You've got to look at it and get better from it. If you're not, you can't get better as a team. ... We've seen in the first three games how really good this team can be, and you look back these past two weeks, it's like a shellshocker so guys have to dig deep.''
Munchak used the Titans' series with Houston a year ago as encouragement on whether the gap in the AFC South is as big as it seems now. The Titans lost 20-0 at Houston only to win three weeks later 31-17 in Nashville. Tennessee wraps up the season at Houston.
"So we'll have a chance to prove it again at the end of the season at their place,'' Munchak said.