Many -- if not most -- Titans’ fans believed Mike Mularkey was part of the problem, not the solution.
That's why so many people found his promotion to permanent head coach underwhelming. It was the same old Titans.
But here’s what we all may be missing while bemoaning Mularkey’s 18-39 NFL record: the change is Jon Robinson.
For the Titans to start making the climb from the cellar back to respectability under any coach, they need more talent.
The biggest problem during the team’s seven year playoff drought has been the quality of players Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster assembled between the lines, not the coaching on the sidelines.
You can’t win, as Mularkey well knows, without talent. He’s tried and failed with some of the league’s worst rosters in Buffalo, Jacksonville and as the interim coach in Tennessee last season.
That is why Robinson was the Titans’ most important hire.
And in an introductory press conference the Titans may very well have lost the moment they removed the “interim” tag from a 2-7 head coach, it was Robinson that delivered a walk-off home run with a spirited address to a dispirited fan base.
“This is my home and you guys are my family,” the Union City native said. “I’ve been a Titans fan ever since ’97 when this team moved here. We’re going to build this team the right way. All decisions will be made in the best interests of this team, your football team. Please let us earn your support.”
That is the type of passion fans have been begging to see from someone in the organization. They want to know that someone cares and Robinson does.
He faces a tough rebuild, inheriting arguably the worst roster in the NFL, but he does have a franchise Quarterback in Marcus Mariota, money to spend in free agency and the number one pick in the draft.
Now it’s time for the kid who worked as farm help in West Tennessee growing up, to give Tennessee’s football team an identity.
“We want tough players,” Robinson said. “We want coachable players. We want smart players. And most importantly, we want players with a team first attitude.”
Robinson knows what it takes to build a winner. He learned as a scout with the Patriots, earning his way into Bill Belichick’s inner-circle before becoming Jason Light’s right hand man in Tampa Bay.
He’ll bring a new way of doing things to St. Thomas Sports Park, streamlining the scouting staff while putting his keen eye as a scout and understanding of the analytics to work in identifying free agent fits and value picks in the draft.
We’ll soon find out if all that training was enough preparation for the job Robinson faces.
The Titans need more talent and Robinson is now on the clock.
If he’s as good as he’s said to be, then Mularkey has a chance to be good, too.