Coach sees Titans struggling with growing pains
Sep. 29, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn't believe the NFL did his team any favors by scheduling Tennessee to play three of its first four games on the road.
Not that his Titans have helped their first-year coach much either.
The Titans (1-3) have lost three straight after opening the season with a win at Kansas City and been outscored 100-34 in this skid. They have fallen behind by double digits in the first half of each game, though the Titans at least managed 10 points before halftime of their latest loss in Indianapolis for their first points in the first half since that opening win.
"We played four pretty good teams, three of them on the road, and it was difficult," Whisenhunt said Monday. "That coupled with the fact that new systems, new things, new ways of doing things, we've had some not so good games. I mean I'm stating the obvious of course, but we're going to get it going in the right direction. I have every confidence in that."
Whisenhunt blamed growing pains along with a lack of discipline for the Titans' struggles. He said Arizona went through a similar learning curve when he took over as head coach there in 2007 and also last season when he was offensive coordinator in San Diego.
"There's some things we're doing, we're just not doing enough often enough," Whisenhunt said.
Other three NFL teams have scored fewer than the Titans' 60 points this season. The Titans played without Jake Locker in Sunday's 41-17 loss in Indianapolis, and the quarterback is expected back at practice Wednesday with his sore right wrist.
Whisenhunt also said the coaches looked Monday at streamlining the offense, hoping to allow the Titans to play faster. He is seeing the Titans make mistakes across the board in details such as receivers running the right split or precise depth on routes.
They started their latest loss with a fumble on the opening drive followed by an interception off the hands of receiver Justin Hunter on the second. They followed that with a three-and-out and finished holding the ball for only 7 minutes, 33 seconds of the first half and only 17:39 for the game.
Some lineup changes might be considered. Left guard Andy Levitre has struggled early this season, ranking second among the Titans for penalties. Tackle Taylor Lewan, the 11th pick overall out of Michigan, practiced at left guard during training camp while Levitre recovered from an appendectomy.
Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson is recovering from a concussion, and he has been flagged for the most penalties on the team already this season. His injury might allow Coty Sensabaugh to move back outside from defending the slot.
Tight end Delanie Walker has been the most consistent player for Tennessee with a team-high 22 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns. He said Monday he doesn't know if there will be any changes to the lineup or scheme.
"I'm pretty sure it will happen," Walker said. "When you're 1-3, changes will be made."
The schedule does get easier for the Titans in October. They host the Cleveland Browns (1-2) on Sunday followed by a visit from Jacksonville (0-4), a trip to Washington (1-3) and then Houston (3-1) comes to Nashville before Tennessee's bye.
Whisenhunt said players and coaches hear what people say and this start is tough. He also helped hype expectations by saying this team's goal is hosting a home playoff game. But he also believes he has some coaches and players who have played through rough starts to seasons will help keep the Titans focused on improving.
"This isn't an easy thing to go through," Whisenhunt said. "Once again, I'll say this. I believe our guys are working hard, and we'll get through this."
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