By: Brendan Smart (@bsmart21)
The Tennessee Titans have been all over the place in 2017, but I fully expected to see this. I wrote an article before the season opener that discussed how the Titans were “hyped” up. Then, I talked about the uncertainty of this season. Hype and uncertainty have been the tale of this season, unfortunately for the Titans.
Looking back on the 2017 season, Marcus Mariota did not take a step forward in his progression as a young quarterback in the NFL. Is it all his fault? Absolutely not, especially when he is in an offense built for an average quarterback. “Smashmouth” football as head coach Mike Mularkey calls it, leaves Mariota out of rhythm. Mularkey is like that boss that means well for his workers, but when he doesn’t hit quota, he’s pointing the finger.
After several times being the blame for losses, Mariota is beyond lost. Showing signs of greatness, but he is lost. The offense as a whole has been lost, thanks to offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. An offense that is built to be explosive after the run ranks 21st in the NFL after 16 weeks. Mariota and the Titans have voiced frustration with this offensive scheme numerous time. “I do not know why the offense ran well in the no-huddle,” Mariota recalled following the loss to the San Francisco 49ers. “He makes the play calls in those no-huddle plays,” Taylor Lewan added to Mariota’s quote after the loss. Then, wide reciever Rishard Mattews finished the argument, “I want Marcus to make more offensive decisions, because when we are in no-huddle, it seems that we thrive.”
The weird thing about this is, the Titans defense has not said a word, and it is the guys that are in Robiskie’s offense that are frustrated. This is no excuse for Mariota’s play this season, but the Titans have delayed his progression as an elite quarterback. With the spotlight on him, Mariota is constantly either handing the ball off to Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry, or throwing the ball in a horrible play.
The Titans are 8-7 with talent that would have them at 10-5 at the worst. So many bad losses this year, made up with divisional win have saved this team. That is what they needed to do this season to make the playoffs, win the divisional games. A divisional game will end the regular season for the Titans when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville on Sunday. A New Year ’s Eve matchup that will determine the Titans fate. The Titans win and there, but if they lose will not play in 2018 until August.