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Commentary by Joe Biddle: On effort and winning games

The Titans earned a sizeable “E’’ for effort in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Texans last Sunday.

They would have much rather left Houston with a “W,” but their failure to finish off their AFC South rival left a sour taste in Coach Mike Munchak’s mouth. 
He has been around the league enough years as a Hall of Fame player,  assistant coach and now head coach to realize when you get an opponent down, you have to keep your foot on their air hose.
It’s a lesson that this year’s Titans must learn if they are to be a factor in any playoff picture.
“We put ourselves in a position to win this football game, and I think that is what you have to be able to do every Sunday. I think that’s what we are showing. We’re the type of team that’s going to be in every game no matter who we play and we have to learn how to win these football games. It’s a hard loss,’’ Munchak said after the game that left them at 1-1.

More often than not, when an NFL team gets in a close game the quarterback position is going to determine the winner and loser.
Two games in, Locker has been more of a game manager, completing a lot of check down passes.
He ranks No. 31 among NFL quarterbacks in passing, next to last among starters. His 28 completions have gone for 273 yards, less than 10 yards on average.
In comparison, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has 407 yards in two games. Of course, Rodgers is one of the elite NFL quarterbacks while Locker is in his third season.
Locker is going to have to not only throw more downfield, he has to complete more of those attempts. 
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has tailored an offense that doesn’t require Locker to take chances or throw low percentage deep routes.
It’s all about winning games, but teams are going to make Locker beat them deep.
“We have to learn what the NFL is all about,’’ Munchak said. “If you put yourself in that spot, there are great players playing. We are the type of team that can crawl back and change the momentum of a game, even when things are looking bad for a while. We did that and so we have to build on that, come back and play better and clean up the stuff we had that hurt us in this game. If we do that, we’re going to win a lot of football games.’’
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub came through in the clutch, even after his top receiver Andre Johnson, went out of the game with a suspected concussion.
Schaub has learned how to fit the football in tight places. Locker has not been that accurate on those passes.
Locker was impressive on the 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. He opened the drive with a six-yard completion and then hit Nate Washington for 31 yards. That was Locker’s longest completion of the season. 
He knew they threw away a great chance to spring the road upset. 
“Definitely, we have to play better,’’ Locker said of the offense.
Munchak would agree as his team prepares for three straight games at LP Field.
“We have the type of team that is going to give us a chance to win at the end and (Houston) continued to make plays and we didn’t.’’

Posted on: 9/19/2013


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