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Coach understands Titans' owner being unhappy

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Coach understands Titans' owner being unhappy

The Tennessee Titans now have plenty of motivation to play better. Owner Bud Adams has made sure of that.

The owner plans to evaluate everyone from the front office to the coaches to the players over the final seven games after the Titans lost 51-20 to Chicago, the most points allowed since a 59-0 loss to New England in 2009.

``In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans,'' Adams told The Tennessean. ``We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish.''

Coach Mike Munchak talked with Adams on Monday and said he understands the owner's frustration.

``I would probably have said the same thing if I were him,'' Munchak said. ``This is his team. He expects us to play well, especially at home. That's our job. That's my job to make sure we're out there playing our best and winning games at home hopefully every time we line up.

``We didn't play well, and I'd be upset too if I were him.''

The Titans (3-6) didn't just look bad in the loss to the Bears, they looked inept with five turnovers. Even Chris Johnson, who had one fumble touching the ball 150 times coming into the game, lost two himself. They struggled to tackle with safety Michael Griffin dragged about 20 yards by Matt Forte before finally bringing the running back down with a horse collar tackle.

They lined up incorrectly on back-to-back plays covering up the tight end, backing them up before getting a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown.

``The bottom line is it shouldn't happen,'' Munchak said of the formation penalties.

Tennessee once again is last in the NFL giving up an average 34.2 points per game and remain on pace to top the 533 points allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. The Titans already have given up 308 points through nine games after allowing only 317 points all last season.

Adams can share some of the blame for the defense's struggles.

The owner ordered his Titans to chase four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in March, and that kept team officials busy for the first week of free agency. Sure, they signed veteran left guard Steve Hutchinson while they tried to woo Manning into picking Tennessee, but defensive ends Mario Williams and John Abraham signed elsewhere.

That left the Titans to sign Kamerion Wimbley, who had played linebacker in Oakland before they switched him to defensive end. Wimbley has 3.5 sacks so far on a defense that has just 14 overall.

The Titans started the season with their youngest opening day roster since 2006, a team that went 8-8 after losing the first five games that season.

The defense is where the youth movement of the last two drafts shows up the most with two of the three starting linebackers in their second season along with rookie Zach Brown. Tackle Jurrell Casey is another defender in his second season, while end Derrick Morgan and cornerback Alterraun Verner are in their third.

Munchak said he is not planning any staff changes right now.

``We have to win football games right now. I'm not spending my time deciding on making coaching changes, and no, I'm not thinking of doing that.''

The Titans visit Miami (4-4) on Sunday before a break with their bye. They may get Jake Locker back as their starting quarterback depending on what doctors say about his left, non-throwing shoulder. Locker has missed five straight games since dislocating his shoulder Sept. 30 for the second time in four games.

Munchak said the key is when Locker is cleared for contact, and the quarterback worked with the scout team last week. The coach said they should know more by Wednesday. In the meantime, Munchak said he isn't the type to flip coolers or start yelling since that tactic never prompted him to play harder or better himself.

``My job is to focus them, direct them, teach them and try to get the best out of them, and that's what I'm trying to do,'' Munchak said.

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John Tortorella guarantees series will return to Washington for Game 7

John Tortorella guarantees series will return to Washington for Game 7

After losing Game 1 and Game 2 at home, Alex Ovechkin declared "It’s going to be fun when we bounce back and going to tie the series and come back here and play Game 5 at home.”

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella seems to be taking a similar tactic.

The Capitals won Game 5 in overtime on Saturday in a game that could prove to be emotionally draining for the Blue Jackets in a number of ways.

  • It was Washington's third straight win
  • Columbus was the better team for the majority of the game, but still took the loss
  • The Blue Jackets now face elimination despite holding a 2-0 series lead to start and losing only once in regulation

Tortorella has become famous for his fiery postgame press conferences in the past, including abruptly walking out after Game 4's presser when he declared "We sucked" to the media.

Saturday's was another fun one.

In a presser that lasted less than two minutes, Tortorella twice said, "We'll be back here for Game 7."

After such a draining game, Tortorella was asked how he would get them ready for what is sure to be an emotionally charged Game 6.

"I won't have to say a damn word to them," Tortorella said. "No. We'll be back here for Game 7."

The Blue Jackets will have to win Game 6 in Columbus to make that happen.

Barry Trotz was asked for his reaction after Tortorella's comments.

"What else are you going to say? That's good. He wants to get it out there, he believes in his team just as I believe in my team. It's our job for that not to happen."

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 5

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 5

The Columbus Blue Jackets were the better team for large stretches of Game 5, but they ultimately weren't good enough. The Washington Capitals defended home ice for the first time this series and escaped with a 4-3 overtime win to take a 3-2 series lead and push the Blue Jackets to the brink.

Here's how Washington won Game 5.

A fluke bounce off of Sergei Bobrovsky’s back

Much was made coming into Game 5 of the fact that the road team had won every game to this point in the series. After winning two straight, it was imperative that for the Caps to come in and take advantage of the home crowd. But Columbus was the better team to start and scored a shorthanded tally for the game’s first goal. There was not much to like about the start…until a fluke bounce tied the game at one. Nicklas Backstrom had the puck behind the goal line and tried to feed it in front. Bobrovsky stuck his stick out to block the pass, but the puck had so much spin on it, it bounced up and off the netminder’s back into the net. A bad start ended up not costing Washington as the score was tied at 1 after the first.

The penalty kill

In the first two games of the series, the Caps gave up four power play goals on eight opportunities. Since then, Washington's PK has been lights out. The Caps gave up five power plays to Columbus in a penalty-filled contest, but killed off all five of them. Washington has not allowed a power play goal since Game 2, killing off 13 straight opportunities in the process.

A critical save by Braden Holtby

The Caps looked like they were out of gas in the third period. They held a 3-2 lead at the start, but yielded the game-tying goal to Oliver Bjorkstrand just 2:30 in and had to survive just to reach overtime. They were outshot 16-1 during that period. Luckily for them, Holtby was on point. All 15 saves Holtby made that period were critical, but none was better than highway robbery he committed on Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Considering how gassed the Caps looked that period, that goal would have been tough to come back from.

Nicklas Backstrom

There was no question who the player of the game was in this one. Backstrom scored the Caps' first goal off the back of Bobrovsky, then deflected in the overtime winner for his second goal of the game. But it goes beyond what he did on the ice. After the game, Barry Trotz said some of the team leaders stepped up in the locker room in between the third period and overtime. He would not name names, but did confirm Backstrom was one of those who spoke out.

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