Matt LaFleur's message to Titans, Marcus Mariota: 'Indecisive equals ineffective'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Is Matt LaFleur excited to finally unveil was he was hired by the Titans to craft and install?

“I don’t know what you guys are talking about,” he said with a giant grin. “I thought we showed it all in the preseason.”LaFleurSmile

“Yeah, I think anytime you’ve got your full arsenal, you’ve got a legitimate game plan, you’re excited about what the product is going to be. I think our guys have been working hard and I think they’ve got a pretty good handle on it. There is some stuff we need to clean up between now and Sunday. I feel confident. I think our guys will feel confident going into the game.”

His offense is the absolute biggest question. Mike Mularkey was fired after a playoff season for his failure to sufficiently maximize Marcus Mariota’s skills set. Mike Vrabel was hired as a young, smart football mind who would tap into such things, and he hired LaFleur to head up that element of the operation.

We will see more motion for sure, and I also expect more variance of tempo from the offense. What else? We don’t know, which is why we are so anxious for the curtain to rise at Hard Rock Stadium.

In a wide-ranging media session Thursday, LaFleur hit on a variety of interesting topics and I felt like I should touch on several.


Decisive Mariota: I wrote that Mariota and his receivers have to have their timing locked in no matter what the Dolphins attempt to disrupt it. The two uncertain incompletions to intended for Corey Davis in the preseason games against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh could kill a regular season game.

“There is one thing I’ve always kind of talked to our guys about: Indecisive equals ineffective,” LaFleur said. “You cannot play tentative in this league. We pride ourselves on taking care of the football and making good decisions and throwing on time. But sometimes, picks are going to happen.

“We don’t want him to hesitate on anything, just go out and play decisive, trust what you see, trust your training.”

Mariota feedback: Mariota said last week the time is now for him to speak up about things he likes and things he doesn’t in the offense, to help the offense formulate stuff that is best.

But Wednesday he said they were only a day into install.

Those conversations are more likely to happen Fridays.

Mariota’s progress: “I think he has shown a lot of progress, you can see it really in his footwork, his decision-making, the timing in which he’s getting the ball out of his hands.

“But there is nothing like those live bullets of a real regular season game when you are facing everyone’s best. They’re going to have a game plan for us too, and we’ve got to handle that too. But I’m excited with what we’re going to see on Sunday.”TicketsBox

Mariota missed last season’s game in Miami with a hamstring injury. Matt Cassel bombed as his backup. That Oct. 8th 16-10 loss ultimately served to be the difference in a Wild Card berth and an AFC South title that would have produced a home playoff game.

Slot receiver: While LaFleur told The Midday 180 early in training camp that he likes the idea of a dedicated slot receiver, two of them have disappeared with Michael Campanaro on IR and Nick Williams missing the final cut.

That means the Titans will run Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor through the inside spot when they use a slot receiver in addition to or instead of lining Delanie Walker up there.

“We’re going to try to see who best can fill that role, fill that void,” he said. “I have confidence in the guys, we’re not just going to throw a bunch at them from the start. We’ll see how they handle some of the things we like specifically for that role.”

Compared to the Rams: LaFleur said he thinks the Titans are at a similar stage heading into the opener as the new-look Rams were this time a year ago, before an impressive breakout season.

apple icon 144x144 precomposed“You’re trying to find out exactly what you do well. That might be a work in progress. If you look back a year ago in LA, we did not start how we finished in terms of just the schematics. We tried to run multiple personnel groupings and then we transitioned to almost exclusively 11 with a lot of no-huddle.

“We didn’t start that way, but we figured out what was best for us, and that’s what we’re still trying to figure out right now and I think we will have a better understanding as we progress into the season of what direction we need to go with the offense.”

Game location: LaFleur and the Titans have decided he will call the game from the coaching booth. He said it's easier to focus there.

The clear trade-off is a better view of all that is unfolding in exchange for the chance at face-to-face interaction between series and during timeouts.

LaFleur will replay play calls to Pat O'Hara, who will then talk into Mariota's helmet.

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