Four months ago, things looked pretty bleak for the Titans. On the heels of another disastrous season, questions surrounded the teams front office and sideline personnel. After the fanfare of drafting standout QB Marcus Mariota at number two overall in the draft, the Titans continued to struggle, garnering a paltry three wins. More frustrating still, areas if the team where time and energy had been invested continued to falter; the offensive line, the running back committee, and the secondary. But there was also frustration from the fans aimed at the coaching staff. After cutting ties with Ken Whisenhunt six games into the year, the Titans had shown little change under interim HC Mike Mularkey. All things said, the game plan focused more heavily on the running game and protecting Mariota. Despite some flash-in-the-pan showings, the Titans continued their losing ways, ending the season with some dreadful performances where it was clear much of the team had given up.
The Titans ultimately opted to part ways with embattled GM Ruston Webster. With a roster devoid of top-level talent and razor thin depth, the move was easily justifiable. Less clear was the decision surrounding Mike Mularkey. Despite outcry from the fan base, Mularkey was named permanent head coach, and the Titans proceeded to tweak the staff to his liking. New GM Jon Robinson was brought to town, and the team began to look ahead to free agency and the draft. Many, myself included, were significantly disillusioned with the decision making from the team's ownership.
Fast forward to free agency. It was clear early on that the Titans were showing signs of life. The team's decision making was different than in years' past. There was a savvy competence in the air. They proceeded to fill holes on the roster with productive players. Ben Jones was brought in to lock down the center position. Rashad Johnson was signed to replace the expensive underperformer Michael Griffin at safety. The team re-signed Al Woods, after the big space-eating defensive tackle proved his worth. Rashard Matthews was added to the mix at wide receiver to bolster a shaky group. Other talents were added as well, and all of them made sense both financially and positionally. Jon Robinson's blockbuster move was the acquisition of RB Demarco Murray from the Eagles for practically nothing, immediately adding legitimacy to the run game and providing an avenue to take the heat off of Marcus Mariota.
All of a sudden things are looking up for the Titans. Despite the questions surrounding Mularkey, the team has made moves to fix it's ills; letting go of inconsistency and unmet potential in Zach Brown and others, and bringing in proven talent in their places.
When the season opens later this year, Mariota will command an offense with improved firepower out wide, made all the more positive by the late-season blossoming of Dorial Green-Beckham, and in the backfield, where Demarco Murray will lead a rejuvenated RB corps. And he should do so behind a significantly less leaky offensive line. It's undoubtedly positive decision-making from Robinson. After years of questionable free agent decisions from Ruston Webster, his logical approach has been a breathe of fresh air.
Now the Titans have positioned themselves to enter the draft without any obvious holes. They are (relatively) free to take the best talent available, and there is little doubt that fans believe the prospect evaluation will improve as well. It may be early, and the other teams in the division have no doubt also made moves to significantly improve their squads, but you have to like what we have seen out of Nashville this off season.
Things are looking up in Tennessee.