NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Count tight end Delanie Walker and safety Bernard Pollard among the Titans who think Mike Munchak should remain Tennessee’s coach.
The Houston Texans can’t wait to see who their new boss will be and are glad this miserable season is over.
Chris Johnson ran for 127 yards and a touchdown as the Titans beat the Texans 16-10 Sunday in the season finale for these AFC South rivals. The Texans clinched the No. 1 overall pick for the NFL draft in May.
Now Texans owner Bob McNair has to pick a coach to take over the two-time division champs that finished the 2013 season losing their final 14 games. Tommy Smith, the Titans’ new president and CEO, will be meeting with Munchak in the next few days to discuss what changes, if any, are needed in Tennessee.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Munchak said. “I feel good about everything that we’re doing going forward. I think I know what needs to be corrected. I know how I’d go forward.”
Walker said he couldn’t understand why Munchak’s job is in danger. Pollard, whose own future must be decided with his one-year deal up in March, said he sees a fired-up coach in Munchak who put the Titans in position to win games they just couldn’t in finishing 7-9.
“He loves this season, and he loves this team,” Pollard said. “He is going to do everything he can to see that we’re successful for next year.”
Here are five things to know about how the Titans and Texans wrapped up this season:
CHRIS JOHNSON IN ELITE COMPANY: The Titans running back notched only his second 100-yard game this season, and he came into the finale needing 50 yards to reach 1,000 for the year. But Johnson finished with 127 yards in his second-best performance of the season and became the sixth man in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. That puts him in company with Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, LaDanian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson and Corey Dillon.
Johnson also ran hard, pushing a pile 8 yards for a key pickup early in the fourth quarter. His future is in question because he’s due $8 million of the $29 million left on his contract in 2014. Johnson said he thought this could be his final game in Tennessee as he ran through the tunnel for introductions before turning his attention to the game.
PHILLIPS A KEEPER?: Wade Phillips lost his father, Bum, in October and took over as interim coach for Houston after McNair fired coach Gary Kubiak on Dec. 6. He has interviewed to take over as head coach, though reports put Penn State coach Bill O’Brien as a favorite with former Chicago coach Lovie Smith also a candidate. Houston went into Sunday’s finale ranked seventh in total defense, prompting speculation Phillips could remain as coordinator if O’Brien is hired.
Phillips said he couldn’t really answer the question about whether or not he would stay in such a situation.
SCHAUB’S FUTURE: The Houston quarterback started his second straight game with Case Keenum scratched because of his injured right thumb. Schaub wound up turning the ball over three times, with two interceptions and a fumble off a botched snap that Phillips called “inexplicable.” Schaub finished the season with 14 interceptions and two fumbles against 10 TD passes. He said he would like to be back but there hasn’t been any discussion of his future yet.
TITANS’ TIMELINE: Munchak said he doesn’t have a timetable for when he will meet with Smith and general manager Ruston Webster, but those discussions are expected this week. Smith has said he would like to move quickly once the season ends. Munchak said he thinks the Titans need a couple more players to help them better finish games.
PICKING NO. 1: The Texans now will have their third No. 1 draft selection in the franchise’s short history. They drafted quarterback David Carr at No. 1 in 2002, defensive end Mario Williams in 2006 and could be looking for another quarterback after Schaub’s struggles. “We hope to pick up a great player,” Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said.