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Another Monday and another Titans loss. The Titans lost on a last-second field goal by the late-surging 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo is cementing himself as the 49ers franchise quarterback and put together another statement win. The Titans offense once again displayed stagnation. However, players noticed an aspect of the offense that worked. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews called for more use of the no-huddle. There is growing dissent surrounding the conservative schemes of Mike Mularkey. The Titans looked better when in no huddle. Why not embrace it?

That is the question posed by Matthews who is on the record with his critiques. This dissent though shouldn’t surprise anyone. Mike Mularkey’s offense plays it safer than a major studio planning an expanded universe. He’s happy to run the ball and throw when he has to. There’s no harm in wanting to limit turnovers. The problem lies in doing so in the name of not being blamed for mistakes. Marcus Mariota needs the opportunity to truly run the Titans offense. He’s also content to play within the system because he’s a team-first guy. Matthews is perhaps Mariota’s Luther in that he’s projecting Mariota’s inner monologue.

The Titans obviously can’t run a no-huddle full time but they should be willing to run it more. They’re in danger of missing the playoffs. Their next two games are against the dominant defense of the Rams and then against the Jaguars who still have a lot to play for. If Mularkey is to keep his job he needs to show he’s not afraid to let Mariota play. He seems content to let Mariota run it more than he should so why not let him air it out? If he can prove that he can make the offense more creative they can retool and come out swinging next year.

Unfortunately, Mularkey’s history suggests he won’t allow that to happen. He’s always been a risk-averse guy. If he can’t get passed that the dissent on offense will grow and he’ll find himself looking for a job. The Titans have the potential to be a good team. Sadly, they seem incapable of tapping into it.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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