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Life comes fast in the NFL. One week Mike Mularkey gets an improbable win over the Kansas City Chiefs and secures his job. Now, Mularkey is coming off a blow out loss to the Patriots and he’s out of a job.

This came hours after Mularkey was “reportedly” offered an extension from the Titans.

Mularkey found early success using his “exotic smashmouth” offense but it came at the expense of Marcus Mariota‘s development. His pitch for being promoted from interim to head coach was protecting the oft-injured Mariota. Unfortunately, that “exotic smashmouth” didn’t accomplish that feat. Mariota missed time due to a hamstring injury and even when he came back it took awhile to get back into a groove.

That offensive scheme may have helped the run game but it shriveled up the passing game. It ranked 9th in DVOA in 2016 and this season plummeted to 26th. The play calling grew less imaginative than Will Smith’s “Bright” and executed just as poorly.

Rookie wide receiver Corey Davis overcame his own injuries but didn’t gel with Mariota until late in the year. Delanie Walker was the only reliable target and they gave DeMarco Murray too many carries.

Last week Mularkey was given a vote of confidence after the playoff win. This week management must have realized the team’s ceiling. The 35-14 bludgeoning by the Patriots wasn’t the first time the Titans’ ceiling was evident, however.

The Thursday night 40-17 loss to the Steelers in November should have been the canary in the coal mine. As presently constituted, this Titans team was good enough to beat bad teams and win ugly games against mid-tier teams. When they play against the elite teams they are outclassed in every way.

It is being reported by NFL’s Ian Rapoport that Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur will be the next Head Coach of the New York Giants, and New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels will be the next Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

However, as previously stated in this report, nothing is a done deal yet, per league rules, and so things could change once the Patriots and Vikings seasons actually come to a close. Tennessee will attempt to shift the winds in the sails of one of these two coaches as they would be a good fit for their vacancy. If not, however, look for Eagles QB Coach John DeFilippo, Rams OC Matt LaFleur, and Texans DC Mike Vrabel to all be candidates.

Mike Mularkey did an admirable job in Tennessee but he just wasn’t the guy to get them to the next level. Luckily, management finally understood that and are ready to see how good their young nucleus can be.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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