Sports, Thrill of Victory

Titans ownership facing big decisions after Whisenhunt firing

The Tennessee Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt on Tuesday. Titans fans immediately rejoiced.

Ken Whisenhunt was out of answers in trying to fix the Titans struggles. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Ken Whisenhunt was out of answers in trying to fix the Titans struggles. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Unfortunately, firing Whisenhunt won’t solve everything. It was a move that had to be made given Whisenhunt’s 3-20 record as coach of the franchise. But are the Titans suddenly playoff bound?

Not exactly.

Nothing is ever that easy. The head coach will always take the blame when a team loses. But in looking at this franchise over the past several years, it’s clear that the problems are deeper than the head coach.

Amy Adams Strunk is the controlling owner of the Titans. It was announced that she’ll be the one to hire the team’s new leader.

Here’s the problem: Amy Adams Strunk is a mystery to Titans fans. The only public knowledge we have of her making important decisions is when she decided to cut ties with Whisenhunt. Other than that, there’s been nothing.

Few owners are like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. So we shouldn’t expect every owner to be in the public spotlight from week to week and provide comments on every development with the team.

But when your franchise continues to spiral out of control, you have to do something about it.

Strunk took the obvious first step. However, while that was a franchise-altering decision, the one she makes next will be even more significant.

It shouldn’t be hard luring a coach with a history of winning to Nashville. Why? Two words: Marcus Mariota.

Everyone around the NFL has already seen Mariota’s potential. When he hasn’t had five defensive players in his face while trying to pass – an all too regular occurrence due to poor offensive line play – he’s been terrific.

With Marcus Mariota at quarterback, hiring a new coach shouldn't be difficult. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

With Marcus Mariota at quarterback, hiring a new coach shouldn’t be difficult. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Finding a franchise QB is the biggest challenge for most NFL coaches. The team’s new coach won’t have to worry about that.

The new coach will also have the luxury of having Dick LeBeau run the defense. LeBeau has completely turned around the Titans defense, and one can only hope that he will stay on the staff when the new hire is made.

But let’s not kid ourselves: there are still massive weaknesses on this roster. Addressing those weaknesses will be a chore for the new coach and general manager Ruston Webster.

While it was easy to put all the blame on Whisenhunt for the team’s poor showing the past few years, let’s not let Webster off the hook quite so easily. Some of his draft choices have been very underwhelming thus far in their careers. A new coach could come in and change all of that, but for now, there have been a lot of misses when it comes to the draft.

The bottom line is that there is plenty of blame to go around in this Titans organization. If Strunk or anyone else in the front office thinks that firing Whisenhunt will bring fans back for good, they’re sadly mistaken.

It’s all about what happens next. Was Mike Mularkey the right choice as interim head coach to at least help this team make progress throughout the remainder of the season? Does Webster have a plan in place to fix the glaring holes in the roster?

And most important of all, does Strunk have what it takes to make the most significant hire of her career?

That’s what fans want to know. Because if the answer to all of these questions is “no”, there may not be any fans left.