NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Aaron Donald is a problem-causer.

In a year when the Titans' interior offensive line has not played up to the standard it set a year ago, it will be spotlighted in a huge game. Donald may be the best defensive player in the NFL and the Titans are desperate to spring an upset against the Rams Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

One thing that might help a bit is the Titans familiarity with someone similar: Their own Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Terry Robiskie does his best to explain stuff, I appreciate his willingness to do so.

Thursday as he answered questions about the Titans not using much no-huddle, I felt like I wound up understanding it less.


Robiskie spoke of the Titans considering how it pairs up with a defense (if you're good at it, why not find out in live action?); That they sometimes turn to it not to get things going, but after things get moving; And that there is concern about getting stuck in a bad matchup.

My video report:

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota has some big things working against him.

No. 1 is a Rams defense run expertly by Wade Phillips, 12th overall and sixth against the pass.

Next is a coaching staff that often seems reluctant to fully trust him and let him open things up, and that was completely thrown off a game plan in Arizona when the QB twisted a knee.Mariota3IND 1

And then there are his weapons. Even the best have let him down with mistakes recently, but after Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews, who can he trust? Eric Decker will be in the right spot for sure, but he’s not getting the sort of separation that gives Mariota very big windows. Corey Davis seems to be fighting himself. Taywan Taylor is not consistently dependable.

Oh, and he’s got a left hamstring that I reported two weeks ago remained an issue and a potential offseason

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Maybe the Titans rally to win two games against two good teams and ride into the playoffs.

That’d be a giant save for Mike Mularkey, and might get a coach signed only through 2019 an extension, and with an extension the security he need to be able to offer for assistants to alter/upgrade his staff.RobinsonZoneb

Maybe the Titans lose both and things fall so beautifully around them they still make the postseason. (The wonderful New York Times NFL playoff machine said there is a 22 percent chance in that scenario.)

Overall, in 67 percent of the remaining scenarios, the Titans still make the playoffs. Do so, and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, who likes Mike Mularkey a great deal, may be perfectly content with the status quo for 2019 and maybe beyond.

The wild card is general manager Jon Robinson.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans, contrary to what the local paper would tell you, are not in control of their playoff destiny.

Until a few minutes ago, The Tennessean has a story that published at  7:00 a.m. CT Dec. 18 that led like this. (See photo.)

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That was finally just corrected.

Jason Wolf made a common mistake that inexperienced reporters make -- he shouldn't be making it at this stage of his career -- and concluded he could figure it out. But it's complicated and he failed to get it right.

The article was just changed, and from what I saw the new version includes no mention of having been incorrect for a long time, which is incredibly weak. 

But a fan whose name I am trying to secure to give credit reached out and shared the real story.

If the Titans win out and the Bills and Ravens win out and the Jaguars beat the 49ers Sunday, the Titans would miss the playoffs.

The head to head tie-breaker would not apply because Buffalo did not play the Ravens or Titans. The next tie-breaker is conference record which would be a tie. Then it would go to common opponents. Baltimore would win that at 5-0, Buffalo second at 4-1 and the Titans would be 3-2.

I've confirmed that scenario with the Titans. 

There are plenty of others in play as well. 

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are in a tailspin and not many are betting on them to come out of it.

Even if they win their two remaining games against very good teams, there is a route where they don’t make the playoffs.

Fans are understandably furious.MularkeyCIN

Which is when many of them show a lack of understanding about what it is I do here, and what the media does in general.

I’m not even sure what this means, but it sure feels like you think I should be getting out a hammer and nails for a crucifixion. Which I won’t.

To me, holding Mike Mularkey accountable means asking him to explain his decisions, which is what I, and the rest of the media, do every day.

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mdi construction barSANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Titans went up-tempo, no-huddle for only the second time I can remember outside of necessity in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.

Against both Baltimore and San Francisco, the Titans had success. Mike Mularkey spoke afterward about how IMG 5029those teams were somehow susceptible to it. 

It's so, so clear that Marcus Mariota and the offense are better in no-huddle. Guess what? Every team is more susceptible to better offense.

If the Titans don't do it Sunday against the Rams and on New Year's Eve against the Jaguars, I will honestly believe it's partly because Mularkey and Terry Robiskie won't want to look as if they were giving into outside demand.

My video report:

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