Jon Robinson is somewhat of a godsend here in Nashville. He took over a mess of a Titans team, and converted it into a winner, a team you could count on being in the thick of the playoff race each and every season.
He’s done a lot of good for this franchise.
But now, the team he has built for 2019, is on the verge of spiraling out of control.
The offense is an eye sore, and there’s been no sort of improvement to make you believe it’s getting any better. The only consistent game this offense has had was against a remedial Falcons defense, and that success lasted for only a half.
At the point of all this offensive incompetence is QB, Marcus Mariota. He wasn’t drafted by Robinson, but for the majority of his career, Robinson has been in the thick of the decision making for outside resources that directly affect the play of Mariota.
Here, I examine the personnel Robinson has put around Mariota, and determine if Robinson deserves a lot more of the blame than he’s seemingly receiving right now.
The Hiring of Mike Mularkey
Jon Robinson ripped off the interim tag from Mularkey and hired him to be the Titans’ full time HC right before the 2016 season.
It was a questionable hire at the time, especially considering that the Titans needed to maximize every bit of Mariota’s rookie contract and build a winner. Mularkey’s offense brought back some familiar sights, specifically how his offense was ran philosophically.
Heavy sets and 2 man routes were the norms in this offense, essentially cutting down the reads Mariota had to make and accessing Mariota’s excellence on play action due to the success of the running game.
It worked well in 2016, with Mariota having his best statistical season he’s ever had to this point.
But in 2017, the offense fizzled out, as teams began to load up the box and forced the offense to abandon what they did best. Mariota struggled, as did the offense throughout the season, leading to Mariota having a down 2017 year.
Posting only 13 touchdowns, plus 15 INTs, this was the year many in Nashville started to question if Mariota was regressing.
I think the answer, looking back, is that he was.
Mularkey was, at the time, a good hire for where the Titans were at as a franchise, but his hire started a domino effect of offensive inconsistency that’s still going on today.
Questionable Personnel History
Robinson is most known for his haul he got for trading away the #1 overall pick back in 2016. However, the job he did with the picks he received is very very shaky to say the least.
Jack Conklin has turned out to a limited RT, who isn’t a bright spot on this OL that continues to struggle in pass protection.
Taywan Taylor literally couldn’t catch, and is now a daily inactive for the Cleveland Browns
Derrick Henry has turned into workhorse for the Titans, but his ineffectiveness in the passing game makes him a regular 2 down back.
That’s just his draft history.
His free agency business has been even worse.
Dion Lewis brings absolutely nothing but a couple 2 yard carries and dropped 3rd down passes.
Roger Saffold has looked nothing like the player he was during his time with the Rams.
Adam Humphries has been used as an extra blocker way too many times, and even then, Humphries still hasn’t been able to find some sort of consistent footing here in Nashville.
His personnel choices have been immune to criticism for a while. If one of his free agent acquisitions doesn’t pan out, both parties move on, but Robinson escapes without the criticism that others would most certainly receive.
It’s about time Robinson deserves his fair shame of the blame for the offensive disaster that has plagued the Tennessee Titans.
His Failure to Adapt to Modern Concepts of Offensive Football
This is the one main reasons why Robinson deserves his fair share of blame.
Robinson has not adapted to the times of change regarding offense in the NFL. While other teams were taking concepts from college spread offenses and implementing them into gameplans faster than a big guy running for food at Thanksgiving, Robinson was doing the opposite.
Robinson has relied on the offense philosophy that has stayed with the Titans ever since their arrival in Nashville.
Run the football and play good defense.
Nothing wrong with the idea, it’s just that’s not where offense is heading these days.
You can’t load up the box and expect a simple running game to get you playoff appearances and Super Bowl titles. Defenses are just way too equipped to handle that now.
Interior defensive lineman are agile, linebackers are too fast and physical for offensive lineman to handle, it’s just not a brand of football that can be sustained over time.
Sure, if you’re lucky, you can win a playoff game. But that style of football won’t bring you consistent winning in any level of football.
College, pros, it doesn’t matter.
High school maybe, but that’s beside the point.
Hiring guys to lead your team that has that style FLOWING in their blood doesn’t help either. Mike Mularkey, Terry Rboiskie, Mike Vrabel, and Arthur Smith.
All these guys believe in the same, outdated concept of winning by being a run first football team and hope your defense can win you some games.
That tired idea is being absolutely destroyed right now with the Tennessee Titans.
Even after the firing of Mularkey, Robinson should’ve recognized the flaws with the run first attitude.
But he didn’t, and now the Titans are faced with a lost season.
A season, that in the beginning, didn’t look so lost.
It had the makings of the Titans winning their first division title since 2008, getting rid of the narrative that they’re the “same ole Titans”, going from Good to Great.
Now instead of going from good to great, Jon Robinson has let his own team go in an opposite direction.
From Good to Crap.
Who knows where this team will go from here, but I do know this for sure.
This team won’t find their selves in the playoffs, they’ll find their selves looking at draft boards in December.