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Time To Start Banging The Drum: Mike Mularkey Needs to Go

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The Titans must fan the flames before the entire house catches on fire.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

No, it is not too early. It is not an overreaction, either. What we are witnessing is the exact thing that Titans fans feared when Mike Mularkey was promoted in January. Marcus Mariota looks much worse, the offense is causing the team to lose games, the product that the team is putting on the field is an absolute embarrassment.

First, let's address the biggest problem--Marcus Mariota. He looks like a completely different guy this season. What has changed? His surrounding cast is better. His offensive line is better. He certainly did not just forget how to play football. It can only be one thing--coaching. When you watch games around the league and see guys like Trevor Siemian, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brisset winning games, it is absolutely infuriating to see Marcus Mariota struggle like this. As many feared back in January, this system has damaged Marcus Mariota. Keeping Mularkey for Mariota's sake has completely backfired. A franchise is lucky enough to be handed a guy as talented as Mariota once every few decades. The Titans won the lottery, and are now doing everything that they can to drop their ticket in the shredder .

The system that the Titans are operating under is completely ineffective. Mike Mularkey has designed this offense in a way that they can only play by the margins. As we have seen time after time this month, one bad play completely ruins a drive. How many times have we already seen the Titans facing 3rd and long? Have they converted a single one? This offense is not designed to pick up chunks. One play will ruin the drive.  To make things worse, the offense has looked significantly better at the end of the last two games, when the team went into no huddle, opened things up, and catered to Mariota. However, Mike Mularkey, much like Ken Whisenhunt, will not consider any kind of change, because "I'm going to do the things that I've had success with since 2001, and I will continue to do that until someone stops us." This condensed, marginal football is losing the Titans game after game. Every touchdown drive is 10+ plays, everything has to go perfectly, and the offense has to stay on schedule. It is the reason why the Titans have not been able to score even 20 points against defenses who have given up 30+ this year, and the defense that has given the most yards in history through two weeks. Mike Mularkey was given everything that he wanted, implemented his system, and this is what we are getting--an offense worse than Whisenhunt's.

The number of absolutely baffling play calls this season has been astounding as well. Should I start with the fake QB sneak on 3rd and 1? The reverses? The horrendous screen pass to Harry Douglas that set up a 2nd and 20? Targeting Harry Douglas in the endzone with the game on the line? Letting the clock run at the end of the first half only to dial up and terrible pass play that was intercepted and should have set up a Raiders' field goal? There has been so much bad in just 3 weeks that somehow, it makes it seem like Mularkey hasn't made any egregious errors.

Now, let's fast forward. The 2016 season has mercifully come to an end, and the Titans have gone 5-11. The Titans have put themselves in a heckuva position. Since the Titans signed Mike Mularkey to a 3 year deal, this means that they essentially need to either extend him or let him coach out his lame duck year. Lame duck years mean that it is very difficult to make any kind of significant change, which is why you rarely see it in the NFL. If we see more of this, how could you extend Mularkey? There is absolutely no way that this move could be defended.

There is a long way to go, but as the season continues, ask yourself: how much more can you take? The Titans seemingly only bright spot is now shaky at best. The Titans offense cannot score more than 16 points. Everything that we have feared has come to be true. Mike Mularkey has said himself that he will not change. We saw what happened in Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Nashville in 2015. What makes you think there is any kind of bright future? The Titans need to admit their mistake and pull the plug as quickly as possible before Marcus Mariota is lost, the franchise and fanbase are devastated, and they have to start at complete sqaure 1.