Mailbag: If only one could be elite, you'd rather have the coach than the GM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you are set for a great and memorable long holiday weekend.

If you missed it, Jonathan Hutton and I sat down for 75 minutes to chat with Jeff Fisher on The Midday 180.

Here's one highlight:

On to your quality questions.

IMG 5141PK: It’s got to be the coach, right? If a GM gives a coach a ton of talent but the coach doesn’t know how to use it, or mismanages games, a franchise may not get the desired results. A great coach can find ways to play effective football with the talent he has, provided he’s got at least some.

Also I think an elite coach can influence a GM’s player acquisition more than an elite GM can influence a coaches Xs and Os, player development, clock management etc.

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Jurrell Casey gives Titans clues about Aaron Donald

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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Terry Robiskie's no-huddle answers have me more confused

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.

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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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Marcus Mariota needs to find a way to carry Titans vs. Rams

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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What Jon Robinson may be thinking right now

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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