'The coaches want a perfect play. It ain’t going to always look like that'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There are a lot of dizzying elements to the 2017 Titans.

One is the ever-circular debate about execution versus scheme.

As he does with virtually everything, Delanie Walker did very well in addressing it.

It’s been clear since Mike Mularkey took over as interim coach during the 2015 season that players love him for his message, his honesty and his approach. He's glued a team together, and that is no small thing. But he's left an awful lot of room for debate about an anemic, out-of-sync offense that needs to show a lot more life if the Titans are to spring an upset Saturday in Kansas City.WalkerOAK

A few weeks ago, Rishard Matthews spoke about the Titans' predictability.

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Terry Robiskie thinks Derrick Henry 'did pretty good' and more you'll want to review with me

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Terry Robiskie's weekly press sessions get more and more compelling as he doesn't hold back about what he thinks or why the Titans offense operates as it does.

In that, there are usually some doozies.

This week's included that Derrick Henry, who rated his performance against the Jaguars as soft, was good on Sunday, when he managed a 66-yard screen TD but ran 28 times for a 1.8-yard average.

"I thought he did pretty good Sunday, I thought he did pretty good, did some good things," Robiskie said. "Obviously the touchdown was a hell of a play for us, that was a good one for us. The 28 carries, of course he got tagged a few times. There we a couple holes that he missed, a couple cracks that I would have hit.

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Taylor Lewan on KC: 'A huge opportunity to reestablish smashmouth'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – So what’s the status of smashmouth?

The Titans’ run-game failures create the general, circular debate. Is it the line? The backs? The scheme? The play calls?

As is almost always the case, it’s a bit of everything.JonesJags 1

It all combined to produce the NFL’s 15th-rated rush offense: Absolutely average.

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Mike Mularkey on Marcus Mariota: 'Whatever it takes to make this thing go'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota suffered hamstring and knee injuries during the course of the season and may still have issues resulting from last year’s broken fibula.

It’s affected both the way the Titans call run plays for him and the scrambling he’s done.

Whether injuries are bothering him or not, he set them aside Sunday and found his way to 10 carries for 60 yards, mostly on scrambles. His two excellent third-down conversions late helped the Titans hold on to a playoff-clinching 15-10 win over Jacksonville.MariotaStiffJags

“We’re at that point right now where every man needs to do whatever he can, whatever it takes to make this thing go,” Mularkey said, responding to a question about measuring running Mariota versus protecting him as the Titans head into the postseason.

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In first high-volume game, Derrick Henry found no space to run

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The long-awaited volume-carry game for Derrick Henry arrived on Sunday against the Jaguars.

And it was a disaster.

Henry made one huge play for the Titans, taking a screen pass 66 yards for the game’s only offensive touchdown.

But against the NFL’s 21st-ranked run defense and against a team he had Week 2 success against (14 carries for 92 yards and a TD), he struggled badly.

Twenty-eight carries for 51 yards. That’s a 1.8-yard average.MariotaHenryHandoffJags 1

Rare were the instances where he had room. But that’s where a back has to take what he can get. Instead, Henry paused far too often in the backfield and got hit for losses.

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Pre-playoff verdict you may not like: 2017 Titans are a success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The reasonable ask for the 2017 Titans was a playoff berth.

For the Titans to go from 3-13 in 2015 to 9-7 but out of the playoffs in 2016 to 9-7 and in the playoffs in 2017 is undoubtedly progress.

No matter how you feel about the style and scheme of a team heading to Kansas City and the fifth seed in the AFC to take on the Chiefs on Saturday and no matter what the Titans do there, this season qualifies as a success.

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No matter how you feel about this version of the Titans, be happy for long-suffering players breaking through

IMG 5455NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The building currently known as Nissan Stadium had never before hosted a win-and-in regular-season finale.

The New Year's Eve playoff-qualifying victory was another ugly game for the Titans, 15-10 over the Jaguars.

But it got the job done.

And for several players who'be been in the league for a good while, it marks a great personal moment as well as a great team one.

My video report:

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Massive Marcus Mariota run helps propel Titans into playoffs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mistakes were mounting, including a big one he was in the middle of -- a fumbled handoff returned for a TD.

At their best this season, the Titans had shown resilience and ability to withstand and overcome.

Carrying a three-game losing streak and with monstrous stakes, it seemed a lot to ask, for this team to revert to form and find a way, again.

But with the Titans clinging to a 15-10 lead, the guy they fervently believe in, put them on his back and made the two plays they needed to survive.

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The result is the first playoff berth for the Titans since 2008, and a Saturday game in Kansas City, the first of the 2017 postseason.

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