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Commentary: Dont call SantaCall Houston

The book on former Titans owner Bud Adams was thicker than War and Peace.
Son-in-law Tommy Smith is the new sheriff in town.
Nashvillians caught a glimpse of Smith when the Oilers moved to Nashville. Smith was Bud’s point man for the move and when the team had played a season in Memphis and a season at Vanderbilt Stadium, Smith returned to Houston.
Those who knew him in those days paint a picture of a man who had little or no interest in making Nashville his home, nor was he interested in running an NFL franchise.
His title now is CEO/President. Meeting the area media before Sunday’s loss to Arizona, Smith admitted to being uncomfortable in front of those wretches from the Fourth Estate. He doesn’t have any solid relationships with Nashville media. As he will remain in Houston on a full-time basis, it will take Smith some time to cultivate a comfort level with the media.
That ranks low on the list of what Smith must do to fix what ails the Titans. It’s a team with a likeable, very nice head coach. There are a lot of very likeable, nice assistants and players.
But nice hasn’t gotten it done. They need some nice All-NFL players on the roster. You can’t name one for this season. Tell me if you think they have one.
 Despite nearing the end of his career, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald still has the ability to make clutch catches. He led the Cardinals with six receptions for 49 yards, averaging 8.2 yards a catch. Where is that guy on the Titans roster?
 They have a running back in Chris Johnson who is inconsistent and whose best days are behind him. Smith and GM Ruston Webster must figure out what to do with Johnson. Now. They also have to take a hard look at quarterback Jake Locker and his future. The former first-round draft pick has a lot of intangibles, but the best quarterback in the NFL can’t help his team if he is frequently injured.
They have to select a defensive coordinator, not split the title. They have to take a hard look at Dowell Loggains. He is one of the youngest and most inexperienced coordinators in the NFL. Loggains is a nice young man, but when I keep seeing Chris Johnson running up the gut when that is not his game, I want to scream. Against the Cardinals, Johnson gained 40 yards on 13 carries. Take away his longest run of 15 yards and he gained 25 yards on 12 carries, a tick over two yards a carry.
They can’t afford many mistakes in the upcoming NFL draft. They need to fill needs. They need to identify free agents. Titans’ fans have been extremely patient, but the natives are getting restless. 
Whoever coaches this team next season has to set the tone. Munchak said they built this team to be a power running team. Sunday they ran the football 19 times. They threw 58 passes for 402 yards. That’s a power running game?
Munchak chose to go to overtime when it was 34-33. Arizona jumped offsides on the point after attempt. Munchak passed on moving the ball half the distance to the goal and trying to win with a 2-point conversion? If your rebuilt offensive line and your power running back Shonn Greene can’t get 54 inches to win a game, that’s a sad statement.  
So, good luck to you, Tommy Smith. 
Sport Columnist Joe Biddle is a four-time sports writer of the year in Tennessee and a 2013 inductee to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. He can be reached at

Posted on: 12/19/2013


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