Progress is key for Munchak and Webster

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak sits in one of the hottest seats in the NFL going into 2013.  In fact, a 6-10 finish in 2012 almost ended Munchak’s 30-year history with the franchise.  Despite posting a 9-7 record in 2011, the Titans regressed into a losing season with two embarrassing losses to the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.  With all eyes on him, Munchak will have to do something to save his job.

The question is, what exactly will that be?  Will the Titans need another winning season?  Will they need a playoff appearance?  Or will the Titans even need a division title in an AFC South where the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans both look talented enough to win in the playoffs?

Munchak may not exactly need to do any of these, although it would sure help if he did.  If the 2013 Tennessee Titans just show improvement in execution, particularly on offense, that could be enough to save the players’ and coaches’ jobs.

This seems to be what Munchak’s and Titans general manager Ruston Webster’s plan was heading into the offseason: put pieces around quarterback Jake Locker in hopes that he improves.  By adding former Alabama guard Chance Warmack with the 10th overall selection and trading up to 34th to take former Tennessee Volunteer wide receiver Justin Hunter in the 2013 NFL Draft, Munchak and Webster are doing everything they can to give Locker what he needs to succeed.  Locker looked inconsistent in 2012, and the Titans hope that more protection and weapons will equate to improvement from Locker.

And then, there’s Chris Johnson.

Tennessee wants Johnson to return to his CJ2K days, and the additions of Warmack and Hunter show that Munchak and Webster are taking steps toward that end.  Signing guard Andy Levitre away from the Buffalo Bills and drafting center Brian Schwenke 107th overall from California this past April, along with the signings of guards Rob Turner and Chris Spencer in free agency, continue to display Tennessee’s commitment to offensive improvement.  Tennessee hopes that these additions will result in more running lanes and bring Johnson back to his 2,000-yard rushing days.

It’s no longer a secret that the NFL is a passing league, and that’s why Tennessee’s focus on improving the offensive line and giving Locker another weapon makes sense.  If 2013 is a breakout year for Locker, Munchak and Webster have nothing to worry about.