NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - The man now in charge of the Tennessee Titans knows fans aren’t happy with a franchise likely missing the playoffs for a fifth straight season. The team’s new president and chief executive officer plans to wait until the season ends for a thorough review of what changes are needed to win.
“I’m disappointed because I like winning,” Tommy Smith said Sunday. “I don’t like losing. We’re not in the losing business. We’re in the winning business. It’s nice to be competitive and say you got close. But like everyone says it’s like kissing your sister. We’re not into that. I’m happy with the talent we brought in, so from a dollar standpoint I think we got value worth there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Smith was named president and CEO on Oct. 29 following the death of the franchise’s founder and his father-in-law Bud Adams on Oct. 21. Smith tried to meet with reporters Nov. 10 in a session scratched because traffic delayed his arrival at the stadium, and he finally held a news conference Sunday before the Titans played the Arizona Cardinals.
Going into Sunday, the Titans (5-8) have lost seven of nine games putting coach Mike Munchak’s future in question with the number of empty seats growing each home game. Smith said he is very aware of fans’ feelings about the franchise because Don MacLachlan, executive vice president of administration and facilities, has been working with a handful of focus groups, and the new president said he has read every report.
Adams approved spending more than $100 million this offseason trying to rebuild a team that went 6-10 in 2012 and hasn’t reached the postseason since 2008. That resulted in 20 new players on the roster at the start of the regular season.
The Titans conclude the season Dec. 29 against Houston.
Smith said he will meet the first week of January with both general manager Ruston Webster and Munchak, who has been with the franchise 30 years first as a player, assistant coach and now in his third season as head coach. Smith wants to review every coach and player in a “deliberate and thoughtful” process that moves as timely as possible.
“I think we have a really good nucleus to build on,” Smith said. “And if we can be active in the offseason as we were last year and shore up some of these holes I think we’re on the edge of being very competitive, but we’re not quite there yet. We have room for improvement, no question, I think we have a very good nucleus here.”
Smith has been involved with this franchise for 39 years through his role as executive vice president and chief operating officer of KSA Industries, the family’s holding company. Smith said he is very familiar with all aspects of the Titans‘ operations and plans to be in Nashville often in the future. He said he will be available, but isn’t the type of person to be out in front of cameras. Adams’ grandson, Kenneth, will be taking a bigger role in the community in Tennessee.
The family has met with the NFL’s finance committee and hopes the league approves their takeover in ownership at the March owners’ meetings. Smith said there is no scenario where the family would sell the franchise.
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