If Mike Mularkey is getting an extension without altering his staff, the fan disconnect returns in full force

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans franchise endured an odd disconnect with much of its fan base in 2017.

Even when they were 8-4 and looked to be in great shape through three-quarters of the season, plenty of followers were discouraged by an offensive system they heartily believed was limiting rather than enhancing Marcus Mariota.MularkeyJags 1

The team’s decision to stay in the locker room for the national anthem in Week 3 after President Trump's derogatory comments about NFL players was a factor too, along with Rishard Matthews skipping the anthem from that point forward as a protest of the president's comments and Delanie Walker’s decree that if fans didn’t want to come they could stay away.

But the Titans rallied to make the playoffs with a Week 17 win, then pulled off an upset in Kansas City.

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With chance to talk change, Mike Mularkey bombs in season wrap-up

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Mularkey spent his season wrap-up press conference doubling down on everything.

At a perfect time to say everyone on his staff will be evaluated, he said offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie “did a very good job.” After yet another season of issues with wide receivers and a major drop-off for Marcus Mariota, Mularkey said he anticipates no staff changes.

And on the heels of a regular season during which Mariota threw more interceptions than touchdowns, Mularkey said he is happy with the quarterback's development.MularkeyGrimmIND

As Titans Radio’s Dave McGinnis likes to say “What the what?”

If I scripted the exact wrong things to say following a successful season that included a lot of serious issues that he couldn’t resolve along the way, I would have struggled to do better than Mularkey did Sunday afternoon.

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Incomplete: Titans will be haunted by failure to play full games

mdi construction barFOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Over and over we heard the Titans talk about their failure to put it all together.

Even in the games we will recall as their best of the year -- Week 2 at Jacksonville, Week 3 against Seattle, the wild-card win in Kansas City -- we didn't see a start-to-finish effort with a lot clicking simultaneously.

The offense, in particular, was a real rollercoaster.

“As an offense, I’ll be the first one to say that we underachieved,” Taylor Lewan said. “To make it this far, that’s extremely promising. But we can’t do that again in the 2018 season. We’ve got to come out guns blazing. We have the firepower to do it. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”

My video report with Marcus Mariota and Delanie Walker:

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Pass rush told the story of the Titans' loss in New England

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The scoreboard read 35-14 at the end.

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There was an 8-0 game within the game that told us how The Patriots and Titans got to that end.

The Patriots tracked Marcus Mariota well all game and really honed in after 

halftime, finishing with eight sacks of the quarterback who suffered a first-quarter quad strain.

The Titans defensive front, meanwhile, was completely handled, and barely got a hand on Tom Brady, who wasn’t taken down once.

“They had a guy spying me throughout the game trying to keep me within the pocket and you’ve got to give a lot of credit to them,” Mariota said. “They covered well, and I just wasn’t able to get the ball out.”

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How the Titans feel they stack up to the standard

mdi construction barIMG 5864 1FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Titans did a lot of good things to earn their spot into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

Once they got here, however, they learned that no matter how confident they felt about their ability to match up with the defending Super Bowl champs, putting it all into practice is a struggle.

A 35-14 loss to the Patriots sent the Titans into the offseason.

My video report on how they feel they measure up to the league's standard:

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Bad calls or not, Titans were way overmatched

mdi construction barFOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Two bad calls were pivot points for sure.IMG 5751

And we’ll soon hear from the Titans about an offensive pass interference call against Eric Decker and a false start on a Patriots’ punt that turned into a neutral zone infraction against Tennessee.

But let’s not forget the checklist the Titans carried into the game against the AFC’s No. 1 seed and the defending Super Bowl champions.

Of all the things we talked about them needing to do to have a chance in this game, they ultimately did very few.

Which translated to a 35-14 loss and the end of their season.

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Better start a mandatory ingredient for the Titans in any upset scenario

mdi construction barPROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Titans are a gritty team that’s shown resolve and an ability to fight back from tough circumstances, circumstances they often create for themselves.

But the slow starts have been an issue all season long. They’ve hardly overcome it with any regularity even though last week they stormed back from an 18-point deficit in Kansas City.WalkerWarmKC 1

Starting slow against the Patriots is a formula for disaster.

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