It’s clear, the Titans needed a change to happen. Something wasn’t quite working, they have some great young talent, and it just hasn’t led to much success. At times, it is unfair to blame coaches for a teams lack of success, as a coach can only do so much. However, it isn’t always what the coach is doing, sometimes it’s about the things a coach won’t do.
The Titans came into the 2017 season with high hopes, coming off of a 9-7 season in 2016, a lot of people had pegged the Titans as NFC South Favorites. Of the 15 people that NFL.com lists for AFC South predictions, 7 people picked the Titans to clinch a division title. The other 8 people chose the Houston Texans. There was one thing in common with every person who picked the Titans, Marcus Mariota. Everything believed that Mariota was ready to take the next step and becoming a star in the NFL. The Titans wound up going 9-7 for the second straight year, however this year that was good enough to make it into the postseason.
The 2017 offseason started off nicely, Mularkey had a solid draft taking Corey Davis and Adoree’ Jackson in the first round. Davis being a wide receiver and Jackson being a defensive back. The draft focused on helping Mariota overall become a better player by surrounding him with talent. Honestly, the draft was probably the best thing Mularkey did all season. Fast forwarding to the start of the regular season, Mularkey opened it with a bang. He attempted an onside kick. Unfortunately, they did not recover. According to @NFLResearch on Twitter, the last team to open a season with a successful onside kick was the 2000 Eagles against the Cowboys. They were also the first team to attempt an onside kick to open the season since the 2009 Minnesota Vikings. Obviously, this was a questionable decision, and it clearly didn’t go in his favor.
History shows that Mularkey has always been an average to below average head coach. His career high for wins in a season is 9 wins, which he has achieved in 3 of his 6 seasons. He’s only made the playoffs in one season and is 1-1 in that postseason, both games occurring this year. Mularkey’s’ team was expected to thrive this year and Mariota was expected to turn the corner. Instead, Mularkey provided the Titans with his consistently average 9-7 record. As mentioned earlier, he did manage to muster out both a postseason appearance and victory. However, it was not enough to keep his job as head coach. Mularkey’s’ grade for the 2017 season is a C.
Mularkey and the Titans “mutually agreed” to part ways after the season. It’s believed that Mularkey was let go because of his desire to not change the coaching staff. Ironically enough, his loyalty to his staff was the reason he was let go instead of a consistently average job at being a head coach of the Titans.