Who would have ever thought that we would be writing this post 18 months after retaining Mike Mularkey?
Remember all the jokes flying when Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie were hired? How were two old guys going to transform the Titans into a productive offense? It did seem against the grain at the time, but man oh man has it ever worked.
Of course none of this is possible without Jon Robinson transforming the offensive line and landing DeMarco Murray, but still — Mularkey and Robiskie have one of the most unique schemes in the league. I don’t care what it’s named, as long as it works.
I’m a big believer in this scheme and the things that it’s done for Marcus Mariota in particular. The work he’s done off play action has been outstanding. They are forcing teams to load the box and letting Mariota work over the top. It’s a thing of beauty.
Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar is also impressed. He ranked the Titans scheme fourth in the NFL. Here’s a snippet of what Farrar had to say, but you should read his full post.
When I reviewed Mularkey's offense in November for NFL1000, I was specifically impressed by the diversity of concept—the coach was using his tight ends for everything from deep seam routes to advanced blocking schemes to fakes off the formation. In addition, the running game set up the run-action aspect of Tennessee's blocking schemes—when blockers fire out as if they're run-blocking when they're actually pass-blocking, further flustering enemy defenses.
In 2016, the differences were impressive. Using as many as three tight ends in base formations, the Titans stretched the field with diverse route concepts and set defenses up with heavy pre-snap motion. Sending receivers in motion also gave Mariota a better idea of what defenses were doing before he took the ball, which helped his field reads.
This is a good reminder that it’s not just Mariota succeeding. It’s not just the offensive line. It’s not just Jon Robinson or Mike Mularkey. It’s an entire unit working as one.
The interesting thing here is the change in personnel coming this year. Anthony Fasano bolted for Miami, leaving the Titans with Phillip Supernaw and Jonnu Smith. In addition to this, Jon Robinson added Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Eric Decker. That tells me that they plan on doing a little more spread action this season. We may see less three tight end sets and see more four receiver sets.
It’s going to be fascinating to see Mularkey and Robiskie manage these new receivers and watch the scheme develop over time.