Today is Monday, December 22, 2014

Titans get a shot at redemption Thursday

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The Titans announced that new CEO/President Tommy Smith would meet with the media around 11:15 a.m., or 45 minutes before kickoff Sunday.
    
The appointed time came and went. Kickoff grew near as the 12 noon approached. No Tommy Smith.
    
We heard the Smith party was stuck in traffic and the meeting was off.
    
It must have been contagious, as the Titans team was slow getting out of the gate against an 0-8 Jaguars team, eventually losing, 29-27.
    
Titans Coach Mike Munchak was afraid the Jacksonville game was a trap game if you please.
    
They were coming off an emotional win over the Rams, coached by Jeff Fisher, who was meeting his former team for the first time since he parted ways with the Titans.
    
The Jaguars were next, but four days later, the Titans would meet the AFC South leading Colts at LP Field.
    
Munch’s hunch proved true. Not only did his team fall behind 7-0 after running back Chris Johnson fumbled away the ball on the Titans first play, but it took the Jags only three plays to take a lead they would never surrender.
    
The Titans then went three and out as Johnson dropped a pass he should have caught. A sign of sloppy play the Titans would practice much of the day.
    
Losing the game was bad enough, but there is a good chance they will lose starting quarterback Jake Locker for some time, perhaps the rest of the season, with a foot injury.
    
“We did some things you can’t do against any team, let alone a team that we knew was struggling," Munchak said. “We turned the ball over four times, gave them 17, 19 points, counting the safety. You can’t do it to anybody. It doesn’t matter what your record is. You can’t play that sloppy. You can’t give a handoff (away). Jake should have probably come out. That cost us points on the second turnover."
    
Munchak has to find a way to make up for losing a game they were heavily favored in.
    
That brings us to the Colts game Thursday night. How will the Titans react, coming off an embarrassing loss to what is arguably the worst team in the NFL? They will likely be without Locker, putting the onus on Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of the few bright spots against the Jaguars.
    
But perhaps the biggest question to ponder is whether Locker is injury prone to the point he can’t be depended on to be a starting quarterback.
    
Injuries are part of the game, but Locker has had more than his share. He already missed two starts this season with a sprained hip and knee. Now this foot injury could keep him out for the rest of the season. In his first year as a starter last season, Locker missed five games and a large part of two additional games.
    
As a former first-round pick, how long will the Titans keep hope alive that he is the man for the job? Even a franchise quarterback is no value if he is on the sidelines with injuries.
    
And when you look at how the Titans played Sunday, how much blame should the players get for showing up flat, and how much blame is aimed at Munchak, a coach with an uninspiring personality?
    
They have another opportunity to show what they are made of against the Colts.
    
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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"My Bid" by Joe Biddle
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