By Greg Arias
When Derrick Morgan chose to re-sign with the Titans in 2015, he had faith that the organization would turn things around.
That faith was rewarded on Sunday as the Titans concluded the 2016 season with a 9-7 record, capped by their 24-17 season ending win over the AFC South division champion Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium.
A 2010 first-round pick by the Titans, Morgan chose to re-sign with the franchise before last season, despite the struggles he and the team had endured in his first five years in the NFL. That decision was not without thought as Morgan was courted heavily by Tampa Bay, including having spent time in reported contract negotiations between his agents and the Bucs before returning to Nashville and completing his deal with the Titans.
Morgan reflected on the final record following Sunday’s win.
“It’s good man, (finishing the season with a winning record) it’s bittersweet in the end, being that we’re not going to the playoff. But the overall turnaround has been pretty dramatic, so you’ve got to take a step back and look at the results and look at how far we’ve come, “ said Morgan. “We’re happy with that but we’ve got to keep building.”
As for his decision to return to the Titans, Morgan now feels validated in that choice.
“I think so, you know, when your loyalty is rewarded and you kind of see results over time, it kind of confirms my decision,” said Morgan. “But this is just a step, one step in the right direction.”
While Morgan admitted that the division struggles were the reason this team did not make the playoffs, he was satisfied that the Titans managed to end their five-game losing streak to their division rival.
“It’s a step in the right direction within the division, but we’ve got to start winning divisional games,” concluded Morgan. “That’s the reason we’re not in the playoffs. We’re tied with the division leader at 9-7, but they took care of business within the division and we didn’t. So it’s a step in the right direction, and we’re just looking to build off that.”
Moving forward into 2017, Morgan spoke of the mindset this team must have this off-season.
“Not being satisfied with 9-7 and not going to the playoffs,” concluded Morgan. “I think everybody here understands that. You know, we were riding high for 16 weeks and then they (Jacksonville) pulled the rug from beneath us. You know, it’s one of those things were you’ve got to just trust the process.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to still get better in a lot of areas, so we’re just looking to keep this momentum going.”