By: Brendan Smart ( @bsmart21 )
Well Titans Nation, I once asked everyone to brace their expectations for this team, but there are more positives to take away from this season than many people think. Ken Whisenhunt, whom in my opinion handed the Titans two tough losses earlier in the season, is gone for good, and Whisenhunt’s replacement in Mike Mularkey actually looks good! I hear an abundance of fans yelling “Hue Jackson,” and a few other possible replacements, but what is wrong with Mike Mularkey?
Honestly, Titans fans are still lost for words over this question, because there is simply nothing that can be said about Mularkey’s stint as interim head coach. Has anyone seen what he was given when Whisenhunt was fired? For one he was left with a less than stellar wide receiving core. Then, we add a very disappointing offensive line to the scenario, and somehow he kept us in the game with Carolina. Not to mention he actually won the game in New Orleans. I look at the defense for this Tennessee Titans team and see our identity which, in past years both sides of the ball have been bad.
We have seen leaders emerge this season that I didn’t imagine would lead this soon into another rebuild. Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, and big Jurrell Casey have been huge for this Titans team during big game situations throughout the season. We can also look at the progression of Marcus Mariota. Many choose to criticize Mariota saying that he doesn’t take many deep shots like Jameis Winston, but his progression in my opinion is way faster. If we were to compare Winston and Mariota, of course they are both two different passers, but both have a ton of potential. If the Titans make a few offseason moves and approach a few veteran wide outs this offseason that will help Mariota grow in this league. Even with a less than stellar receiving core, Mariota has thrown 13 touchdowns entering Sunday’s matchup verses the Oakland Raiders.
The Tennessee Titans can judge their growth this season by a win or a loss on Sunday due to the threats that Oakland has on both sides of the ball. With Oakland it all starts with their new identity in a high paced offense led by David Carr, and potential rookie of the year, wide out Amari Cooper. The Raider’s also have numerous threats on the defensive end that Marcus Mariota will have his hands full with. The story heading into every game this season is the Tennessee Titans offensive line. Mike Mularkey has moved Quinton Spain into the starting lineup on the left side with Taylor Lewan. I don’t care who you are, Lewan needs to help himself before anyone else gets moved. Galik and Looney took reps all week with the starting offensive line, but no word on who will start on Sunday.