Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey is giving the team's fans something to talk about in the offseason.
“[Opponents] are going to know we are going to be very hard to defend, and it is going to be a physical football game,’’ he said Thursday. “When it is all said and done, they are going to know they have been in a fight.”
As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk described, "The gist of it is to simplify the offense to allow players to play faster." Mularkey borrowed the term from his offensive coordinator days with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03). However, last year, the 3-13 Titans were nowhere near those teams in terms of talent.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports wondered whether the concept is better in theory than in practice:
We are now obliged to use that [term] every time we write about the Titans from now until the time Mularkey is fired. Who knew that this phrase apparently has been around since the early 2000s when Mularkey was pulling the strings for a good Pittsburgh Steelers offense that balanced the run and pass and sprinkled in some nice gadgetry on a team that won a lot of games despite not having elite offensive talent.
We'd like to think that Mariota has even better upside than that of [former Pittsburgh quarterback Kordell] Stewart, even though their skills have some overlap. By its description, it involves a power run game and some open-minded concepts. So that's good news for him, but that smashmouth had better include some better offensive linemen because the kid took about a thousand hits in his injury-shortened season. (That's bad.)
With that being said, quarterback Marcus Mariota, who set the franchise's rookie record for passing yards in 2015, will be in his second year, and the team will have added the No. 1 overall selection by next season.
“It is a little bit of old school,’’ Mularkey continued. “And I think that is what we need right now. We need a little bit of old-school coaching to hold players accountable. I hired guys who like to win, and they like to win by beating the hell out of people. That’s why I hired them."
The offense, still in search of a running game after finishing 25th in the NFL last year, should be anything but boring—if it can live up to the nickname Mularkey handed down.