Mike Munchak is counting on the experience of his top defensive assistants, Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray, to help this week when the Tennessee Titans prepare to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (3:05 p.m., Sunday, CBS).
“At least Gregg and Jerry are used to defending him,” Munchak said Monday. “They’ve been part of going against him twice a year. That gives us some familiarity that way.”
Except that is not the case.
Munchak has emphasized the history of the franchise since he became head coach in 2011, but in this case he has his dates confused.
Williams and Gray left the Titans following the 2000 season when Williams became head coach at Buffalo and took Gray with him as his defensive coordinator. The Titans and Colts did not become division rivals – and play twice a year – until 2002 when the AFC South was created.
Gray came back to Tennessee as defensive coordinator in 2011, the year Manning did not play because of neck and arm injuries. Williams returned this year as senior assistant/defense.
Given Manning’s success against the Titans, though, a different approach can’t hurt.
MANNING vs. TITANS
Comp. percentage: 70.6
Longest win streak: 7 games
Games with 30-plus points: 7
Manning is in his second season with the Broncos and currently leads the league in passing yards (4,125) and passing touchdowns (41) and is second in passer rating (115.3).
Denver, at 10-2, has the AFC’s best record and has scored a league-leading 464 points. No other team has even 400.
“Obviously, he’s having a great year,” Munchak said. “They’re putting up huge numbers. I don’t think anyone’s really stopped him at all, even when they have lost. So obviously it’s a huge, huge challenge, especially playing at their place. It’s going to be a big opportunity for us to go in there and play well.”
He got that part correct.