Following two 9-7 seasons and a playoff win, the Tennessee Titans have committed to head coach Mike Mularkey with an extension.
Last night, the Tennessee Titans were utterly embarrassed by the New England Patriots, getting outcoached and outplayed to the tune of a 35-14 loss. Less than 24 hours later, the Titans front office is committing to their much-maligned head coach, offering Mike Mularkey an extension.
Mularkey, along with GM Jon Robinson, have very clearly changed the culture of the locker room and organization. A perennial bottom-dweller became an over-.500 team. They went 9-7 in each of Mularkey’s first two full seasons as the director and won a playoff game this season with an epic comeback. But Mularkey’s ill-advised coaching decisions and reluctance to make scheme and personnel changes had him on thin ice. Alas, he has been given support for the near future.
This can be construed a couple of ways. Many times, when a head coach is heading into the last year of their contract, front offices will extend the coach so that they don’t go into the following season as a “lame duck” coach, mostly to settle the nerves of both the coach and the team (the players are usually in favor of keeping their coach). It’s also possible the Titans, who have always said good things about Mularkey, particularly owner Amy Adams Strunk, truly feel he’s the guy for their future.
The timing of this news seems a bit concerning, as Mularkey had a baffling press conference earlier in the day. He said that OC Terry Robiskie “did a very good job”, and that he was pleased with Marcus Mariota’s development.
Any fan with eyes or ears could see or hear that Mariota regressed severely, and much of that could be attributed to the coaching staff’s archaic scheme becoming outdated and Robiskie’s play calls severely hurting the team.
To make matters even more complicated, before the season was over, Ian Rapoport made it known that Mularkey’s job was not safe, citing Mariota’s lack of development as a frustration for the Titans front office. Even before the playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Mularkey’s job was still deemed to be in jeopardy.
Surely two-consecutive wins by a combined six points didn’t completely change the minds of Robinson and the front office? That would be very short-sighted of them.
There are several pros and cons for keeping Mularkey for the upcoming season and beyond. We have no idea what will happen in the coming months or in the following year. But we know that changes need to be made on or by the coaching staff. If none are made, the front office will have legitimate questions to answer.
Another 9-7 season with no further advancement in the postseason is not an option with a roster and quarterback as talented as the Titans’.