Throughout much of his tenure as GM of the Tennessee Titans, Jon Robinson has preached the importance of improvement and consistency within the entire organization.
From the front office, to the coaches and players, to even the ticket salesmen and saleswomen for the organization, he’s desired the level of execution that so many franchises across the NFL desire. For the most part, he’s gotten back the results he’s been hoping for.
I’m sure we all remember the dark state the Tennessee Titans were in before Robinson took over.
The roster was a complete mess from top to bottom, the team was searching for their 4th head coach within the current decade, and the nucleus of the ownership was so bad, there were talks that the Titans could be up for sale.
Here we are 5 years later, and all of those problems have seemingly been erased.
The Titans now possess one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, a dizzying 360 degree turn from where the team once was. Mike Vrabel is looking like the next longtime head coach of this franchise, and has gotten all of his players to buy into his grand plan for the present and beyond.
What a win for Mike Vrabel and the #Titans.
They come back after all that time off, and beat the brakes off one of the hottest teams in the AFC. Job well done to Vrabel and his staff.
— TreJean Watkins (@TreWatkins099) October 14, 2020
You can’t forget about Amy Adams Strunk either. Adams Strunk has taken control of the owner title, and has poured millions of her own dollars into improving the state of her team, whether it’s stadium repairs, or renovating the Titans’ practice facility and designing it to echo the changes in the modern world.
These changes and improvements are notable, and it’s translated on to the field as well. The Titans made it to the AFC title game for the first time since 2002 during their unexpected 2019 playoff run. Not only that, this franchise has ended their run of being a total doormat to the top teams around the league, and have turned themselves into one of the bullies in the AFC.
All these accomplishments deserve an applause, but for the national media, they’ve treated them like simple examples of what your franchise should be doing.
And that’s not a bad thing at all.
It’s hard to get a good read on a football team if all they know is how to hover slightly above average. 9-7 isn’t the epitome, picture perfect example of a football team worth discussing.
Just think about it.
As a university admissions representative, you wouldn’t want to entertain the application of an average student over one belonging to a student on the principal’s list would you?
It’s the same idea here.
No one wants to spend hours of their precious time dissecting the ins and outs of an average football team. Unless that said average team is on some sort of a run, or they’re making headlines, then carving out time to talk about them is just a waste.
The Tennessee Titans were the average team nobody wanted to talk about during the majority of the Jon Robinson era. A 9-7 record for 4 straight seasons, offenses that never found their footing until later on in the year, it just wasn’t a team that you’d find sexy or appealing to the eye.
Well, that is until now.
When Ryan Tannehill took over as the Titans’ starter in 2019, the team was 2-4, and looked lifeless on offense.
The run game wasn’t a consistent threat, the passing game was limited by the play of Marcus Mariota, and newly appointed OC Arthur Smith was struggling to find that consistency and pizazz as a play caller.
However, once Tannehill entered the fold, the Titans turned a new leaf. Actually, turning over a new leaf isn’t even a strong enough phrase. It’s as if the offense found a brand new life.
That offense rode their success into the postseason behind the play of Tannehill and the dominant play from Derrick Henry, winning 2 playoff games before ultimately falling to the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
But despite the playoff success the franchise hadn’t achieved in over a decade, there wasn’t much change regarding the narrative surrounding the organization.
”Oh Tannehill and Henry got hot at the right time, they can’t sustain their success for long”. “What Tannehill did after he replaced Mariota was a fluke, sign Tom Brady and then we can talk”.
Different takes from different analysts and personalities flew in left and right, dismissing any potential future success this current Titans core could end up achieving.
But if we fast forward to now, when the Titans are sitting at 4-0 and are playing good football, you start to realize something.
This isn’t the same Titans team that analysts in national media kept putting down.
I think it’s safe to say this Titans team is different from the ones in the past. It’s okay to say the Titans are good now, and that they’re not a dumpster fire of an organization that have a load of problems and not a lot of solutions for them.
It’s fine to allow a new franchise to enter into the club of talking points, it’s just that time now.
It’s still early in the year, I’ll stop and say that right now. The team is only 4-0, and while they dismantled a heavily talked about AFC darling of a team in Buffalo, they still have yet to play another AFC favorite in Pittsburgh.
But as I sit here now, I think I can say the long running narrative about this franchise is due for a much needed change.
Instead of looking at this team as the living example of average, it’s time we start looking at it as a team ready to make the jump, and accept them as a team worth making time to talk about.
Featured Image via Frederick Breedon/Getty Images