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Speed of the hire, not Mike Vrabel, is the surprise from the Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel is the new coach of the Tennessee Titans and I hope he’s great.

I hope he brings the franchise success and energy, I hope he and Jon Robinson are a long-time successful pairing. I want that because it’ll be fun to cover and because I know it’s what readers here most want.

But my initial reaction?

What was the hurry?

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Pickers mailbag: Was the Mike Mularkey hire a mistake?

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to the first offseason mailbag. It's a shame things got so quiet so quickly.

Kidding, of course.

The reaction to Mike Mularkey's firing from you lends to my theory that we are leaning toward being more interested in offseasons than seasons in sports.

TitansSwordTableOnto your questions.

PK: Many of us who questioned the watered-down “search” that produced the hiring of Mike Mularkey thought it was not a great move. I wrote that it was “spectacularly uninspired” and talked of how the push for continuity was wise, but that it was better to make a change then for the long-term then rather than to be left to do it a few years later.

Even so, I do think getting to a place where the franchise posted consecutive winning records and got to the second round of the playoff is significant.

The next coach will have to start from zero in many ways. But if he’s smart, he will find a way to plug into the cultural rebuild that

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Percentages suggest there should be a better pool of defensive candidates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are slated to talk to their third head coaching candidate Friday, and Matt LaFleur is the first from the offensive side of the ball.

TitansCombat

I’ve written about the biggest reason it’d be good for the new guy to be an offensive guy.

Still, I am fine with him coming from either side.

Albert Breer of MMQB has discussed the dwindling pipeline of quality candidates based on all the hiring done in recent years.

In 2015, six of seven hires were defensive coaches. In 2016 things went the other way and all seven hires had offensive backgrounds.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Generally, too much can be made of whether a new NFL head coach is an offensive or defensive guy.

The game dictates you are raised on one side. But if you’ve got an expertise on defense, you understand offenses because you are trying to stop them. And if you’ve got an expertise on offense, you understand defenses because you are trying to beat them.MariotaWarmRAMS 1

Two of the coaches still at work are defensive guys – Bill Belichick and Mike Zimmer. Two are offensive guys – Doug Marrone and Doug Pederson.

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Five qualities I want in the Titans' next head coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Everyone is asking me who I want to be the Titans next coach.

I understand the question, but it’s too early for me to give you an answer.TitansHelmetWall

So instead of who, here is what I want.

Be flexible: I’ve hit on this as a big theme. Both Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey were ultimately done in by stubbornness. The next guy has to make change part of his plan. He needs Plan B and C and D for all occasions.

Marcus Mariota is dinged up and can’t run so well? Hey, that’s not ideal, but we know what we will do in such situations.

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For Jon Robinson's biggest move, his biggest projection yet

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The process starts Thursday for the Titans, with Mike Vrabel expected to be the first candidate to interview for the open head coach job.

Matt LaFleur, Steve Wilks and others will follow.

Whoever the next guy is, the Titans obviously need him to be a home run.

They want to be an organization with stability and continuity. Yet they changed coach in 2011, 2014 and 2016.

Better to change when you know you don’t have the right guy, but it’s time for them to get the right guy.

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Would a younger Titans coach be more flexible, inventive?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Being young doesn’t by any means make a guy a good football coach.

But it does increase the odds a coach thinks differently, outside of old-school lanes and long-time practices.

Mike Mularkey was only 56, but he was not afraid of older assistants. Dick LeBeau is 80; Terry Robiskie 63.Titansmirror

Sean McVay, 31, stormed the NFL this season, leading a dramatic turnaround for the Rams and quarterback Jared Goff. In San Francisco, Kyle Shanahan, 38, has a major upward arrow connected to him as well.

Finding the next Sean McVay is a tough assignment, as his story is a unique one.

But the Titans already have some young candidates to replace Mularkey, who is definitely a coach set in his long-standing ways, not a flexible guy looking for new and innovative ways to do things.

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PODCAST: Sorting through the Titans at season's end

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We've been podcasting the public Periscope and Facebook Live sessions for while.

PK.comLogo badge clean smallYou can find those through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here.

My first all-out podcast is now available. Part 1 can be found in both those places.

But if you are a member of the site, all you have to do is go below to get Part 1 and Part 2 (which is member exclusive) all together.

Big thanks to Madison Blevins for hosting with me. Let us know what you think.

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