With Sunday's gorgeous weather, a good number of people may have opted against spending the afternoon plopped in front of their television. Instead of watching the Titans game, they may have chosen to spend some time outdoors.
Upon returning home, they may have checked the score, seen that the Two Toners lost by 14 to the AFC-best Houston Texans, and thought the home team was game.
Those people would be wrong.
For people who chose instead to watch the game, it was clear as the spring sky making an out-of-season appearance in December that the Titans are miles behind the Texans.
Nashville, which once embraced its football team with the vigor of a besotted, love-struck romantic, is growing tired of the team's listless ways. In LP Field's seats — which are increasingly empty or occupied by fans wearing the wrong colors — malaise is growing like a lichen.
The team is rarely exciting as it spurts to another season in the squishy center of the NFL's parity ladder. Fans demanding a change got a scrap thrown from Bud Adams' table when he allowed Mike Munchak to fire offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, whose run-and-shoot variant never really fired as it did in the offense's 1980s Houston glory days.
But at this point, other changes on the coaching staff seem pointless, denying Titans fans the parlor game of interpreting Jon Gruden's tie colors as indication of his career intentions.
It's unlikely Nashville will continue to get March-like weekends in the month of December. At some point, the jet stream's cold breath will force us back inside on Sundays, leaving no choice but to watch the local NFL team.
Other than consuming copius amounts of alcohol — at the very least, you might pass out before the inevitable second-half collapse — here are a few ways the Titans can stanch the boredom born of mediocrity.
Vince Young redux: For all of Vince Young's faults — too legion and well-worn to rehash here — he did have his moments, a propensity for late-game panache.
Since taking over, Jake Locker has shown flashes that he can be a dynamic quarterback. But he tends to flash them in unexciting parts of the game, like the second quarter.
Locker should just save these improvisational runs and hot-shot passes for the back half of the fourth quarter. It'll serve him well in the future — surely someday being competitive late in a game will matter — and any success he has will give forlorn fans something to cheer when the Titans fall short on the scoreboard.
Go to Jared: Tight end Jared Cook is another player who has skills that thrill. He's big, strong and fast, and he has the ability to make spectacular catches that would befuddle Isaac Newton.
The problem with Cook is that he often struggles with routine plays. So don't make them routine. Run Cook downfield. Throw him the ball despite his being double-covered; indeed, throw him the ball exclusively when he's double-covered.
There are whispers Cook is unhappy and all but gone when free agency begins. The wise move: Drive his price up by falsely creating highlight reel plays and sending the video to Washington Redskins headquarters.
Kickstarter campaign: By and large, the team's MVP this season has been punter Brett Kern — and that sentence pretty much sums up your 2012 Titans.
He and fellow special teamer, kicker Rob Bironas, have been two very bright spots in a very glum season.
The Titans are heavily outmatched pretty much everywhere else on the field, but not in the kicking game. Faced with a similar problem during the 2003 World Cup, England's rugby team eschewed the sport's normal strategy of going for tries — the metric-system version of a touchdown — and instead focused on kicking whenever possible.
When the Titans realize they've no chance at a touchdown — this usually comes on the second play of every drive — they could have Kern punt for field position. If they ever manage they get into Bironas' range, they could go ahead and kick the field goal. First down, second down, whatever. They end up kicking it most of the time anyway, so why waste everyone's time?
That's especially true in December, even if the globe stands a much better chance of warming than the 2012 Titans. They'd better generate a little heat soon — or fans will leave them out in the cold.
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