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VOL. 36 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 30, 2012

Will offensive coordinator’s exit translate into wins?

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New Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, with Rusty Smith (11), Matt Hasselbeck, (8) and Nick Stephens (5), will have five games to turn around the team’s underperforming unit.

-- Ap Photo/Wade Payne

The shortcomings of the Tennessee Titans offense weren’t all Chris Palmer’s fault.

Palmer, the Titans’ offensive coordinator until Tuesday morning, didn’t throw a single interception, miss any blocks, drop any passes or fumble one time this year.

But something was causing the Tennessee Titans offense to misfire, something it did with regularity in Sunday’s 24-19 loss to the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars and at other times throughout the season.

Firing Palmer won’t cure all of the Titans’ problems. At 4-7, there are plenty of issues that need fixing on both sides of the football.

One thing that was never really brought up, but certainly factored into the decision by Mike Munchak and the organization’s to go in a different direction, is the real or even perceived disconnect between Palmer and his players.

At age 63, Palmer has more than 40 years of coaching experience, two decades in the NFL. But there was the feeling around Baptist Sports Park that he somehow didn’t relate very well with his players. In the end, his style and methods did not seem to be the right fit for the Titans.

Maybe some of it was generational. Some of it also was players not agreeing with Palmer’s approach and system.

There were hints of unhappiness when players like Jared Cook and Chris Johnson went through stretches where they were not as productive or did not get as many opportunities as they would have liked.

And players, sources say, didn’t always buy into Palmer’s system.

It can’t all be blamed on Palmer, but it was his job to run the offense.

If a player is unhappy with his role or his coach when a team is winning, such thoughts rarely come to the surface.

But when a team is 4-7 and searching for reasons why things aren’t going as planned, any utterance of frustration is going to be magnified.

The big picture in all of this is that the Titans have to be careful not to damage the makeup or the development of Jake Locker.

Many a young quarterback has had his growth stunted by a change in coordinators or head coaches. Just when he starts to catch on to one guy and one system, everything changes and he goes back to square one with something new.

While the debate on the timing of Palmer’s departure is certainly open, give Munchak credit for trying to keep as much continuity as possible, while transitioning in a different direction with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains.

Locker dealt with worse issues during his college career at the University of Washington, enduring a winless season as a freshman and an ensuing coaching change.

“I’m thankful for the work and effort that Coach Palmer put in our on our behalf and the opportunities he gave me in my first two years,” Locker says. “I wish him the best going forward.”

So Locker, back now for two games since missing the past five with a shoulder injury, gets at least some degree of familiarity as Loggains goes from being his position coach to his coordinator.

“Coach Loggains is a student of the game and brings a lot of energy, so I’m excited to work with him and continue to learn from him,” Locker adds.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is the AFC blogger for National Football Post.

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