Titans knocked out two must-wins without much from WRs, need more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In one big swoop, the Titans made a dramatic move.

In 2016 the got away from raw, athletic receivers with a poor sense of time and place, and replaced Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham with lesser athletes with far better receiver skills in Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe.

In 2017, Sharpe went on the shelf with a foot injury and a precise veteran Eric Decker was added, along with fifth-overall draft pick Corey Davis and third-rounder Taywan Taylor.DavisMissKC

Mike Mularkey booted his pal Bob Bratkowski as receivers coach and brought in a Terry Robiskie disciple, Frisman Jackson.

But the move toward enhanced precision feels stalled.

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Three iconic moments from Marcus Mariota in two weeks

mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. – In two critical wins, Marcus Mariota made three iconic plays.

The helped secure two wins.

And they didn’t include a pass to a teammate.MariotaBlockKC

In the playoff-clinching win over Jacksonville on Dec. 31, Mariota’s massive moment was a stiff-arm of Barry Church on a key 13-yard run that gave the Titans a late first down that helped them kill time and preserve a 15-10 lead.

And Sunday in the wild-card win at Arrowhead Stadium, Mariota’s most memorable moments were a touchdown pass he threw to himself and a block he threw for Derrick Henry.

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Even with playoff breakthrough, management doesn't owe Mike Mularkey, he owes management

mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mike Mularkey made it clear he was unhappy Titans management had not discussed his status with him as a report from NFL Network Sunday said his job could be at risk if his team lost here.

Not knowing what's up with your job sucks. I’ve been there myself.

Mularkey should be on solid footing now, after leading the Titans to their first playoff win since Jan. 3, 2004.

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He deserves a great deal of credit for changing the culture, for guiding the Titans to back-to-back 9-7 seasons and for this playoff berth and victory.

Still, owner Amy Adams Strunk owes him nothing. He owes her.

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Facing big deficit, Titans found a way to stick with the Derrick Henry plan

mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Down 18 points and in serious trouble, the Titans came out from halftime, recommitted to their plan and executed it really well en route to their first playoff win 5,117 days.

That goes back to Jan. 3, 2004 at Baltimore.HenryArmKC

That plan was Derrick Henry, a week removed from a 1.8-yards-per-carry average against Jacksonville that he later deemed soft. He boosted that a touch in six days, by five yards to 6.8.

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Titans declare: 'We're juggernauts too'

mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Once the magical comeback was sealed, so were many of the postgame comments.

The things that brought the Titans 22-21 Wild Card playoff win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to fuition were largely the same qualities we saw from the team en route to a divisional round date in New England or Pittsburgh.

They fell behind but they stuck together and with resolve, they found a way back.

“That is the team we have," Mike Mularkey said. "That does not surprise me and I don’t think you guys believe me when I say that they come in the locker room and there is a look that we are going to come back and win the game. But there is. It is on the sideline and it has been. It always has. It is this team. I wish you guys would give them a little credit for it. They stick together and they got each other’s backs and they always have and came through today when we really needed it.”

My video report:

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Titans need Marcus Mariota to climb the pocket, find yards on broken plays

mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Before he ran out of trouble on an option play and then on the iconic stiff arm run last week, Marcus Mariota as having trouble negotiating a collapsing pocket.

I marveled that Blake Bortles looked better stepping up than Mariota did.

The Titans quarterback often moves laterally when trouble arrives, and that gives him a better out in terms of throwing the ball away without fear of a grounding call.

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But I’d like to see him climb the pocket and maintain his downfield vision better. He got sacked from behind a few times against the Jaguars. Faring better earlier and more often stepping up could give the offense a boost at Arrowhead Stadium later today.

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Pickers mailbag: Can Titans spark a dormant offense in KC?

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy Friday.

It's such a weird week when the Titans play on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. I'm off to Kansas City tonight thanks to MDI Construction and could see some of you there tonight. Then a big workday Saturday including a members-only Periscope.Facebook Live from Arrowhead at some point after the game.

Big thanks, as always, to Pickers Vodka for sponsoring this post and all the live broadcasts.ColdJags 1

Onto your questions.

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Things I want to see in KC start with Adoree' Jackson on offense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Stuff I’d like to see from the Titans in Kansas City as they need to pull out all the stops to win a wild-card game against the Chiefs.

Adoree’ Jackson on offense: The rookie corner will be a big factor in defending Tyreek Hill, who averaged 15.8 yards a catch and had seven TDs. In Week 8, coming out of their bye, the Titans used Jackson a bit on offense, and he got at least one carry in three consecutive games. He doesn’t have an NFL catch, but they targeted him on the fourth-down that effectively ended the game in Arizona. I don’t love an offense that needs a guy from the other unit to provide a jolt, but the Titans certainly need a jolt. They should get him in there some.JacksonOffensePIT

Escorted runs and option plays for Marcus Mariota: The Titans used the term early in the season when they used some smartly-designed plays that allowed him to run, but also gave him a lead blocker or two who helped minimize the danger. Where have these

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