JOE BIDDLE: Titans clearing the cobwebs during bye week

2014 Titans preseason schedule released (Image 1)

If there is an NFL team that needed a bye week more than the Titans, you would be hard-pressed to find one.

Not only were they shocked to wake up last Monday morning and discover that the franchise's founding owner, Bud Adams, had died at his home earlier that day.

They laid Adams to rest this Monday in Houston, where the Houston Oilers called home before Adams took his team and moved it to Tennessee.

Houston was where Adams strongest roots had been, dating back to when he purchased an American Football League expansion team, the Oilers, for $25,000.

Many of the current Titans don't know much about Adams. Quarterback Jake Locker spent some quality time with him after the Titans made Locker their first round pick three years ago. At that time, Adams was attending most of the home games and would visit the locker room to congratulate some of the players after a win. He didn't know many of them, except from name recognition and vice versa.

In addition to Adams' passing, the Titans entered the bye week on a three-game losing streak. After getting fans' hopes up with a 3-1 start in the first quarter of a 16-game regular season schedule, the Titans are now 3-4.

They needed a strong dose of something good for what ailed them physically and mentally. Maybe the bye week will pay dividends.

Coach Mike Munchak gave them some quality time off away from the game.

A winning season is doable. The come off the bye week next Sunday in St. Louis. The Rams are reeling at 3-4 and quarterback Sam Bradford is out for the season. It got so desperate that someone mentioned Brett Favre in a telephone call with Favre's agent Bus Cook. Just the mention of Favre went viral in TwitterWorld and beyond.

Nothing to it, both parties agreed.

Provided the Titans ruin former coach Jeff Fisher's day, their second quarter record would be 1-3 and 4-4 overall.

They would start the third quarter at home against the worst team in the league, Jacksonville. It is at LP Field and the Titans dare not lose to the only winless team (0-8) in the NFL.

The AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts then visit the Titans at LP Field and that stacks up as a huge swing game for Munchak's team. On paper the Colts are a better team at this point.

The final two games of the third quarter portion of the schedule are road trips to Oakland and Indianapolis. Both teams have given the Titans fits, especially when they are on the road. The Raiders are 3-4 after beating Pittsburgh 21-18 Sunday, but have won three of four games in The Hole.

As a team, the Titans don't stand out on the stat sheets.

They are No. 28 in total offense, averaging 311.6 yards a game. They are ranked No. 23 in the league on defense, giving up 337.0 yards a game. They allow an average of 20.9 points a game and score at an average of 20.7 points a game.

For the Titans to be a playoff team, third year quarterback Jake Locker has to do two things – stay healthy and keep improving.

Locker is completing 61.8 percent of his passes, averaging 209.4 yards a game through the air with a 97.1 passer rating. He has rushed for seven TDs, passed for eight with only one interception.  

If they could post a 3-1 record with a win over St. Louis, it would set up an interesting scenario for the final four games – the Broncos and Cardinals at home, at Jacksonville and back home against the Texans.

Realistically, they could finish 9-7. That doesn't guarantee a playoff spot, but it would show improvement. Whether it would be enough to save Munchak's job, it is all up in the air after Mr. Adams' passing.

That should warrant him getting the final year on his contract, especially due to the uncertainty of the franchise's ownership.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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