The NFL is an industry unlike any other. Every year while some teams make plans for the postseason others make plans to begin a coaching search. Usually, those are not the same teams. Coach Mularkey was rumored to be on the hot seat for most of the second half of the season. After the playoff victory over Kansas City, owner Amy Adams Strunk didn’t just give him a vote of confidence but flat out said he’d be back next year. It’s been 15 years since the San Francisco 49ers axed Steve Mariucci after winning a playoff game. This doesn’t have the same feel as that. The Titans wanted Mularkey to stay.
“I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization,” Adams Strunk said in Monday’s statement. “He took over our team during a low moment and together with Jon built a solid foundation for our franchise. I appreciated that Mike devoted himself to this team and the community.”
Stay, But On My Terms
Mike Mularkey is a man who stands by his guys. DeMarco Murray was one of Mularkey’s guys. I do not fall into the group that thinks Derrick Henry should get every carry out of the Titans backfield. I do believe Henry should get the football more, especially late in games. Murray is 29 years old and for most running backs that is around the time that injuries and decline become noticeable. Murray had eight more carries for 85 fewer yards this year after running with the ball 293 times the previous year. Running backs are like cars, it’s not the age but the mileage that gets you.
General Manager Jon Robinson will address coach Mularkey’s departure in a press conference later today. I believe as many do, that the root cause of Titans being in a head coaching search is Mike Mularkey being Mike Mularkey. The Titans front office was willing to extend Mularkey but wanted to let one or more of his coaches go. Instead of agreeing to it, Mularkey was loyal to his guys and decided to leave. If that’s true then it’s the type of loyalty that is rarely seen in today’s society. Teams are, to a great extent reflective of their leadership. Watching how the Tennessee Titans played for each other more than for themselves the past few weeks anyone could see this type of “we” before “I” mentality.
The Path Going Forward
What kind of coach is right for the Tennessee Titans? Perhaps a dynamic offensive mind to revamp the attack. Other teams have walked down this path. Catching lightning in a bottle. Look at how the Los Angeles Rams have responded to Sean McVay. Or fellow NFC West team the San Francisco 49ers with Kyle Shanahan once they got the correct quarterback running his scheme. Titan faithful anxiously await the next step down the coaching path.